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Regarding Daniel Feller's Plenary (Twitter thread)

As promised, my thread regarding Daniel Feller's plenary at yesterday's #SHEAR2020 virtual conference. I preface this by saying I am not a member of SHEAR and though several friends have urged me to go, I've never been. 1/

Most of my work in the last three years has been in the sixteenth century, for which SHEAR is not really an appropriate venue! Nevertheless: I trained as an early Americanist, teach the US to 1865, and I teach about Andrew Jackson. 2/

Additionally, over the last several years I have been building some expertise in Native American and Indigenous histories. So on these counts I'll be commenting. 3/

Feller opened with comments on Trump and Jackson, with the implication that attaching AJ to Trump was distorting AJ and his context. I was willing to go along with the premise until Feller insisted that AJ's record on Native people was not as bad as we think. 4/

Feller characterized current historical understanding of AJ's approach to Native peoples as "untethered from reality" and critiqued a NYT report that said AJ "annihilated" Native people, which he claimed was an exaggeration. 5/

Apparently Feller prefers to think of Indian Removal as an "eviction" (I believe that is the term he used). This to me is nothing less than a minimization, and even outright denial, of genocidal US policies towards Native people. 6/

Editor's note: Daniel Feller's virtual plenary for SHEAR has provoked discussion and debate among many historians both for its content and the response to it. As usual, HNN's Roundup is a compendium of op ed essays (in this case, a compiled Twitter thread) by historians. Reposting does not indicate endorsement. HNN expects to post more responses to SHEAR in the near future.

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