The Transformation of the Southeastern Indians, 1540-1760

By Robbie Ethridge; Charles Hudson | Go to book overview

Preface

This volume contains the proceedings of the 1998 Porter L. Fortune, Jr., History Symposium at the University of Mississippi. These symposia began in 1975 at the University of Mississippi as a conference on southern history. In 1983, its name was changed to honor Chancellor Emeritus Porter L. Fortune, who, along with his wife, Elizabeth Fortune, contributed much to the success of the symposium both during his tenure as chancellor and after his retirement. After Chancellor Fortune's death in 1989, Mrs. Fortune continued her support and enthusiasm for the symposium and has been an honored guest at almost all of the events. From its inception, the symposium has attracted an impressive roster of scholars. Past symposia have examined topics in southern history such as emancipation, the southern political tradition, childhood, the civil rights movement, religion, and the role of gender in shaping public power.

The 1998 Fortune symposium reaches further back in time—to the beginnings of Spanish, French, and English colonization—and places Native Americans at the center of the historical action. In the past twenty years, historians, anthropologists, and archaeologists have made considerable progress in interpreting the lifeways of the native peoples of the late prehistoric and early historic Southeast. From these works, we now understand that the first two hundred years of the historical era was a time when fundamental—even catastrophic—changes occurred in native societies of the South. The task of the 1998 symposium was to examine the various forces at play and to assess their role in the transformation of the native peoples of the Southeast between the era of Spanish exploration during the sixteenth century and the southern Indian uprising of 1715, known as the Yamasee War.

The seed for this particular topic was planted in 1996. After Dan Hickerson and I had completed our doctorates at the University of Georgia under the direction of Charles Hudson, Dan approached me about possibly co-organizing a symposium examining the social and political reorganization of the seventeenth- and eighteenth-century native Southeast—a topic that Hudson proposed as the next big question to be addressed in southeastern Indian studies. The following year was a busy one for both Dan and me—I took a position as McMullan Assistant Professor of Southern

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