Author Archives: Justin Carroll

Helen Hornbeck Tanner Graduate Student Paper Prizer Winners, 2017

Congratulations to the 2017 Helen Hornbeck Tanner Graduate Student Paper Prizes Winner!

First Prize: “Dividing Land and Defining Territory in Colonial K’iche’an Narratives” by Mallory Matsumoto, Brown University.

Second Prize: “Mythologizing the White Man’s Friend: Misrepresentation of Indian Leaders in the Writing of Chicago’s Origin Story,” by Aaron Luedke, Michigan State University.

Third Prize: “Going Beyond ‘The Beach’: In between Spaces of First Encounter in the Caribbean and Mesoamerica, 1492 – 1530,” by Claudia Rogers, University of Leeds, England.

Lifetime Achievement Awards

Congratulations to the 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award winners.  

The American Society of Ethnohistory plans to annually recognize the outstanding scholarship and contributions of our emeriti faculty, whose hard work and dedication to ASE, their outstanding scholarship, and their mentoring of young faculty have been crucial in establishing and maintaining our organization. Although we can never thank them sufficiently for their contributions we hope that recognizing them at our annual meeting will be a partial thank you for their hard work.

The 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award winners are:
Jennifer Brown

Robert Carmack

Theda Perdue

Neal Salisbury

Susan Schroeder

Erminie Wheeler-Voeglin Book Prize, 2017

Congratulations to James Brooks, the author of Mesa of Sorrows: A History of the Awat’ovi Massacre, published by W. W. Norton and Company, for winning the 2017 Erminie Wheeler Voeglin Book Prize.

The prize committee consisting of Laura Matthew, Jon Parmenter, and Justin Carroll, is please to award this year’s Erminie Wheeler-Voeglin prize for the best book of ethnohistory published in 2016 to Brooks’s painstaking, multidisciplinary inquiry into a difficult event in the Hopi past transports the reader across broad swaths of time, from the eleventh century to contemporary times. Seeking to explain a story whose ghosts trouble (and are troubled by) the present, Brooks analyzes written sources, indigenous oral tradition, ceramics, and human remains. His microhistory of a single, unoccupied site becomes a regional history in which the Hopi confront enduring questions of inclusion, exclusion, and how to define the limits of community in relation to outsiders. Mesa of Sorrows also brings the academy’s tradition of linear, past-to-present narrative into conversation with Hopi traditions of historical thinking. As he puts it, “What if our present were already active in our past? What if our present is nothing more than a past foretold?” (116). At the point where these two traditions meet, the site of Awat’ovi stands as a silent reminder and a warning of future cycles of destruction and rebirth, of difficult moments when the “twin forces of absorbing new neighbors and excluding aliens” (220) might once again come to a head. Finally, Mesa of Sorrows highlights the power and potential of the ethnohistorical method through its deft interplay of sources – textual and non-textual, archaeological and physical, remembered and obliquely glimpsed – and the critical eye it turns on the practice of ethnohistory itself. We congratulate Dr. Brooks on this fine achievement.

Welcome to Ethnohistory 2018!

The 2018 annual meeting will take place in Oaxaca, Mexico on October 11-13. The Centro Cultural de San Pablo and the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México are hosting the meeting, and the UCLA Latin American Institute and the UCLA American Indian Studies Center are organizing the program.

Call for Panel and Paper Proposals

The meeting will take place at the Hotel Victoria in Oaxaca City. The hotel is comfortable and inexpensive; there is an excellent hotel package for conference attendees.

Oaxaca is a beautiful city in southern Mexico surrounded by ancient monumental sites, including Monte Albán and Mitla, and many Indigenous communities. Oaxaca has one of the largest Indigenous populations of any state in Mexico. The city is safe and October is a pleasant time of year, after the rainy season. The conference will feature oragnized tours to nearby sites of interest, and cultural events in the evenings. There are many excellent restaurants, cafés, museums, bookstores, markets and shops in the city.

Flights from North America to Oaxaca are direct or involve a change of plane in Mexico City. Rolling submissions of proposals and acceptances will allow participants to plan in advance. Please note that it is important that participants take advantage of the hotel conference package and stay at the Hotel Victoria. Although there are many attractive hotels and B&Bs in Oaxaca, the special offer that the local organizers have secured for the conference hotel is contingent on occupying a certain number of rooms. Besides, it is a very convenient place to stay, as all the conference sessions will take place at the hotel. The Hotel Victoria has several meeting rooms, a large auditorium, a pool, a restaurant, and a bar.

This year, ASE membership requirements to participate in the conference will be waived for residents of Latin American nations, including Mexico.

More details about the conference in Oaxaca and special events will be posted in the coming weeks. Questions about the program can be directed to the program committee at



Michigan State University Press recently published a monograph by John M. Carroll, an Associate Professor at Indiana University East.  The book is about: “John Askin, a Scots-Irish migrant to North America, built his fur trade between the years 1758 and 1781 in the Great Lakes region of North America. His experience serves as a   vista from which to view important aspects of the British Empire in North America. The close interrelationship between trade and empire enabled Askin’s economic triumphs but also made him vulnerable to the consequences of imperial conflicts and mismanagement. The ephemeral, contested nature of British authority during the 1760s and 1770s created openings for men like Askin to develop a trade of smuggling liquor or to challenge the Hudson’s Bay Company’s monopoly over the fur trade, and allowed them to boast in front of British officers of having the “Key of Canada” in their pockets. How British officials responded to and even sanctioned such activities demonstrates the vital importance of trade and empire working in concert. Askin’s life’s work speaks to the collusive nature of the British Empire—its vital need for the North American merchants, officials, and Indigenous communities to establish effective accommodating relationships, transgress boundaries (real or imagined), and reject certain regulations in order to achieve the empire’s goals.”

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Please contact Dr. Susan Sleeper-Smith, if you’d like see your work highlighted here.

PUBLICATIONS OF INTEREST TO ETHNOHISTORIANS: Jennifer S. H. Brown, An Ethnohistorian in Rupert’s Land


Athabasca University Press’s forthcoming publication, An Ethnohistorian in Rupert’s Land, is a collection of investigations by Jennifer S. H. Brown into the surprising range of interactions among Indigenous people and newcomers in the ancient homeland of the Cree and Ojibwe people that came to be called Rupert’s Land. For four decades, Brown has examined the complex relationships that developed among the Algonquian communities and the missionaries, anthropologists, and others who found their way into Indigenous lives and territories.

More than an anthology, An Ethnohistorian in Rupert’s Land illustrates Brown’s exceptional skill in the close study of texts—including oral documents, images, artifacts, and other cultural expressions—and elucidates the scholarly evolution of one of the leading ethnohistorians in Canada and the United States.

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