Maeve Kane

Maeve Kane is an Associate Professor in the Department of History at the University at Albany, State University of New York where she teaches courses on Native history, early America, race and consumer culture, public history, and digital humanities.  Her first book, Shirts Powdered Red: Haudenosaunee Gender, Trade and Exchange Across Three Centuries (2023), uses digital social network analysis, material culture, and Indigenous studies methods to argue that Haudenosaunee women used clothing to protect their nations’ sovereignty and reject colonialist constructions of civility and savagery.  Her work has been supported by the Huntington Library, the Newberry Library, the American Philosophical Society, the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, the New-York Historical Society, and the New York State Archives.  Kane's articles have appeared in the journals Ethnohistory, the Journal of Early American History, and a special forum for the Roy Rosenzwieg Center for History and New Media.  Her current work examines how racial and gendered anxiety about national identity is expressed through popular representations of the American Revolution, in addition to a separate digital humanities project examining social networks in early America. 

NEW IN 2023: Shirts Powdered Red: Haudenosaunee Gender, Trade, and Exchange across Three Centuries   (Cornell University Press)

American Women's History: A New Narrative History (Wiley)

OAH Lectures by Maeve Kane

When George Washington ordered the "total destruction and devastation" of Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) territories in 1779, the offensive was to that date the largest and most expensive campaign of the American Revolution. What became known as the Sullivan-Clinton campaign aimed squarely at the agricultural heart of Haudenosaunee women's diplomatic power, cultural status, and national identity by burning cornfields and felling orchards. Continental soldiers constructed an American identity for themselves by destroying what they called Haudenosaunee women's "homes of contentment," and despite this Haudenosaunee women preserved their nations over the course of the war.

Across the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries, government officials and missionaries attempted to use education as a tool of colonialism to assimilate Native American nations and people. These attempts took many forms before the advent of the residential boarding school system in the nineteenth century, but they were all united in one thing: their failure. This lecture tells the many stories of how Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) families used colonial education to protect their nations.

On the eve of the American Revolution, consumers in Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) territories bought a wide variety of imported silks, china, calicos, silver, tea, and chocolate, which they took home to traditional longhouses and reworked to suit their own needs. The long history of mutually beneficial Haudenosaunee trade with settlers reveals the way in which clothing and objects create categories of gender, race, and nation.

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