Re-envisioning history through place

Christine DeLucia’s course topics include Native American history, violence in early North America and North American cartography and exploration.

This story was updated on 3/21/18 to reflect the correct date and time of this talk, Wednesday, March 28, at 7 p.m. at the Odyssey Bookshop in South Hadley.

By Sasha Nyary

The conflict between New England colonists and native Americans known as King Philip’s War lasted three years and reshaped the Northeast in ways that have persisted through the centuries through struggles over land, water, sovereignty, resistance and cultural memory.

“Memory Lands: King Philip’s War and the Place of Violence in the Northeast” by Christine M. DeLucia is an alternative look at the 1675-78 events. One of the formative moments in early American history, the war destroyed English settlements and decimated the Algonquian, who had already been under attack for decades from violence and disease.

DeLucia is an assistant professor in the history department of Mount Holyoke College. She will give a reading of her book on Wednesday, March 28, at 7 p.m. at the Odyssey Bookshop in South Hadley.

“The insistent refrain of this project is that localization is crucial to understanding historical and memorial developments,” DeLucia wrote in “Memory Lands.” In order to understand King Philip’s War from a non-Pilgrim perspective, she explored five locations important to Native Americans directly affected by the crisis, including the Connecticut River Valley.

“By getting back into place, into specific terrain, rivers, swamps, islands, and cities of the Northeast,” she wrote, “we can begin to comprehend these secret, semi-hidden, or willfully forgotten contours of early America that still weigh so heavily on the present.”

The book is “a brilliant exploration of the interweaving of past, present, and future,” wrote Karl Jacoby, a history professor at Columbia University. “The landscape of New England will never look the same after reading this important and haunting book.”

DeLucia draws on oral traditions, archives, material culture, archaeology, environmental studies and more in her research. She has published articles in The Journal of American History, Studies in American Indian Literatures, and Re-thinking History: The Journal of Theory and Practice. “Memory Lands” is her first book.

The event is co-sponsored by the Mount Holyoke history department.