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American Indian Empires Lecture

Lecture on American Indian Empires at UCLA

Thursday, May 3rd • 4pm • California Room, UCLA Faculty Center

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Pekka HamalainenRhodes Professor-designate of American History at Oxford University, Dr. Pekka Hämäläinen, currently Professor of History at UC Santa Barbara, will give this year’s BritWeek public lecture, based on his prize-winning book, The Comanche Empire (Yale University Press, 2008), in the California Room of the UCLA Faculty Center at 4pm on Thursday, May 3rd, followed by a reception on the adjoining Faculty Center patio.

The event, which is free and open to the public, is co-sponsored by BritWeek, the Rothermere American Institute at Oxford University, and the UCLA Department of History. Scroll down for directions and RSVP info.


Comanche EmpireAbout the Lecture

From the Yale University Press description of Professor Hämäläinen’s book: "In the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, at the high tide of imperial struggles in North America, an indigenous empire rose to dominate the fiercely contested lands of the American Southwest, the southern Great Plains, and northern Mexico. This powerful empire, built by the Comanche Indians, eclipsed its various European rivals in military prowess, political prestige, economic power, commercial reach, and cultural influence. Yet, until now, the Comanche empire has gone unrecognized in historical accounts. …It is a story that challenges the idea of indigenous peoples as victims of European expansion and offers a new model for the history of colonial expansion, colonial frontiers, and Native-European relations in North America and elsewhere."

Professor Hämäläinen will describe in vivid detail how the Comanches built their unique empire and resisted European colonization, and why they fell to defeat in 1875.

There is no charge for attending the lecture and reception, but UCLA parking costs $11 (enter campus at Hilgard and Westholme, adjacent to Faculty Center). The Faculty Center is across the street from Parking Lot 2. Click here for directions.

Please RSVP by leaving a voice message at (310) 312-1012 or sending an email request to listing names of attendees. For further press information about the lecture, please contact Angus Mackay, BritWeek Interim Executive Director, at (310) 312-1012.

About the Lecturer

Pekka Hämäläinen is a professor of history at the University of California, Santa Barbara. In 2012 he will be the Rhodes Professor of American History at Oxford University. His book The Comanche Empire (2008) won several awards, including the Bancroft Prize, the OAH Merle Curti Award, the Caughey Prize, the Norris and Carol Hundley Award, and a Recognition of Excellence Award from the Cundill Prize in History jury. He is also a coeditor, with Benjamin H. Johnson, of Major Problems in North American Borderlands History (2011).