Empire’s Tracks

By writing the history of the transcontinental railroad through the distinct histories of Cheyennes, Lakotas, Pawnees, and Chinese workers, I hope to demonstrate that imperialism, not nationalism, can help us understand the history of this continent, and the task at hand for liberation struggles.

Lecture Description

The history of North America can be understood as a history of imperialism, in relation to the histories of Africa, Asia, and Latin America. The transcontinental railroad is a useful site to consider these historical links. This lecture draws out the concepts of continental imperialism, counter-sovereignty, and modes of relationship, from my book, Empire’s Tracks: Indigenous Nations, Chinese Workers, and the Transcontinental Railroad (University of California Press, 2019), to draw out the significance of imperialism in the history of North America.


American Indian Capitalism

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