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Unit information: Red Power and Beyond: American Indian activism since 1944 in 2021/22

Unit name Red Power and Beyond: American Indian activism since 1944
Unit code HIST30128
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Sam Hitchmough
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of History (Historical Studies)
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

Red Power emerged in the 1960s, informing a powerful protest movement that is often associated with the occupation of Alcatraz Island (1969) and the siege at Wounded Knee (1973). It was underpinned by important ideological issues concerning the status and identity of American Indians in the United States. This unit explores the development of the Red Power movement in, firstly, the immediate post-war landscape of Termination and Relocation policies, the Cold War, de-colonisation and self-determination. It will then focus on the ‘classic’ Red Power movement through the 1970s (rhetoric, symbolism, strategies) setting it within a variety of historical contexts (civil rights, Black Power, Vietnam, decolonisation). Finally, the unit moves to engage with the multi-layered legacies of Red Power.

Themes and case-studies will be used to discuss a number of key issues since 1960 and include: the position of American Indians in the American cultural imagination and representation of American Indians in popular culture (film, television, sporting mascots, museums), repatriation, American Indian cultural resistance, the rise of ‘white shamanism’, the rise of gaming and casinos, land rights, and violence against indigenous communities.

Intended Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:

  1. demonstrate a sound knowledge and understanding of the forms and ideologies underpinning American Indian protest since 1944, particularly the Red Power movement and the diversity of issue-based activism;
  2. demonstrate a critical interpretation of key historical events, issues and ideologies, and their effects on both American Indian and American popular culture more broadly.
  3. reflect critically and sensitively upon a variety of theoretical and ideological perspectives related to an understanding of changing Native-settler race relations in the US
  4. Critically assess and interpret primary sources and select pertinent evidence in order to illustrate specific and more general historical points
  5. Present their research and judgements in written forms and styles appropriate to the discipline and to level H/6

Teaching Information

Classes will involve a combination of class discussion, investigative activities, and practical activities. Students will be expected to engage with readings and participate on a weekly basis. This will be further supported with drop-in sessions and self-directed exercises with tutor and peer feedback.

Assessment Information

1 x 3500-word Essay (50%) [ILOs 1-5]; 1 x Timed Assessment (50%) [ILOs 1-5]


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. HIST30128).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.