The story of Catawba women who experienced sweeping changes to their world but held onto traditional customs that helped them create and preserve a Catawba identity and build a nation
Winner of the 2020 Anne B. & James B. McMillan Prize in Southern History
Brooke M. Bauer’s Becoming Catawba: Catawba Indian Women and Nation-Building, 1540–1840 is the first book-length study of the role Catawba women played in creating and preserving a cohesive tribal identity over three centuries of colonization and cultural turmoil. Bauer, a citizen of the Catawba Indian Nation of South Carolina, weaves ethnohistorical methodologies, family history, cultural context, and the Catawba language together to generate an internal perspective on the Catawbas’ history and heritage in the area now known as the Carolina Piedmont.
This unique and important study examines the lives and legacies of women who executed complex decision-making and diplomacy to navigate shifting frameworks of kinship, land ownership, and cultural production in dealings with colonial encroachments, white settlers, and Euro-American legal systems and governments from the mid-sixteenth century to the early nineteenth century. Personified in the figure of Sally New River, a Catawba cultural leader to whom 500 remaining acres of occupied tribal lands were deeded on behalf of the community in 1796 and which she managed until her death in 1821, Bauer reveals how women worked to ensure the survival of the Catawba people and their Catawba identity, an effort that resulted in a unified nation.
Bauer’s approach is primarily ethnohistorical, although it draws on a number of interdisciplinary strategies. In particular, Bauer uses “upstreaming,” a critical strategy that moves toward the period under study by using present-day community members’ connections to historical knowledge—for example, family histories and oral traditions—to interpret primary-source data. Additionally, Bauer employs archaeological data and material culture as a means of performing feminist recuperation, filling the gaps and silences left by the records, newspapers, and historical accounts as primarily written by and for white men. Ultimately, Becoming Catawba effects a welcome intervention at the intersections of Native, women’s, and Southern history, expanding the diversity and modes of experience in the fraught, multifaceted cultural environment of the early American South.
The term 'nation-building' has experienced a remarkable renaissance since the early 1990s. It has been used to describe and to justify the military interventions in Somalia, Afghanistan and Iraq. Linked to the idea of 'failed' or 'failing' states, the concept is used to hide and legitimise a whole range of diverse policies, allowing foreign powers to control and reshape countries in areas of conflict.
Currently the international debate on nation-building is heavily dominated by US actors and authors, especially by writers connected to the Bush administration or its policies. This book presents academic and political alternatives, presenting a critical view from 'Old Europe'.
The book combines academic research and analysis with policy orientation, with contributors from both fields. It clarifies the terminology distinguishing developmental, peace-related, imperial and analytical approaches to nation-building. Highlighting its connections to globalisation, democracy, ethnic and religious minorities, the contributors consider case studies such as Somalia, the Balkans, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Nigeria.
Dr. Jochen Hippler, Political Scientist at the University of Duisburg-Essen and its Institute for Development and Peace (INEF), specialises in regional conflicts and interventionism in the Third World, political identities, and the Middle East. He is the former Director of the Transnational Institute in Amsterdam and the author of numerous books and articles including Pax Americana (Pluto Press 1994), The Democratisation of Disempowerment (Pluto Press 1995) and The Next Threat (Pluto Press 1995).
Policies intended to bring stability to fragile states tend to focus almost exclusively on building institutions and systems to get governance right. Simply building the state is often seen as sufficient for making it stable and legitimate. But policies like these, René Grotenhuis shows in this book, ignore the question of what makes people belong to a nation-state, arguing that issues of identity, culture, and religion are crucial to creating the sense of belonging and social cohesion that a stable nation-state requires.