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Conquest: Sexual Violence and American Indian Genocide

23 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0896087439
ISBN-10: 0896087433
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Editorial Reviews


"A must-read for everyone concerned about Native people and our Native world."
(Haunani-Kay Trask, author of From a Native Daughter: Colonialism and Sovereignty in Hawai'i)

"Conquest is the book Aboriginal women have been waiting for. Andrea Smith has not only meticulously researched the place of rape and violence against Indigenous women in the colonial process, but she is the first to fully articulate the connections between violence against the earth, violence against women, and North America's terrible inclination toward war."
(Lee Maracle, author of I Am Woman: A Native Perspective on Sociology and Feminism)

"Andrea Smith has no fear. She challenges conventional activist thinking about global and local, sexism and racism, genocide and imperialism. But what's more, in every chapter she tries to answer the key question: What is to be done? Conquest is unsettling, ambitious, brilliant, disturbing: read it, debate it, use it."
(Ruth Wilson Gilmore, The Graduate Center, City University of New York)

"Andrea Smith brilliantly weaves together feminist explanations of violence against Native women, the historical data regarding colonialism and genocide, and a strong critique of the current responses to the gender violence against women of color . . . Conquest is one of the most significant contributions to the literature in Native Studies, feminist theory, and social movement theory in recent years."
(Beth E. Richie, author of Compelled to Crime: The Gender Entrapment of Battered Black Women)

"Whether it is our reliance on the criminal justice system to protect women from violence or the legitimacy of the U.S. as a colonial nation-state, Andrea Smith's incisive and courageous analysis cuts through many of our accepted truths and reveals a new way of knowing rooted in Native women's histories of struggle. More than a call for action, this book provides sophisticated strategies and practical examples of organizing that simultaneously take on state and interpersonal violence. Conquest is a must-read not only for those concerned with violence against women and Native sovereignty, but also for antiracist, reproductive rights, environmental justice, antiprison, immigrant rights, and antiwar activists."
(Julia Sudbury, editor of Global Lockdown: Race, Gender, and the Prison-Industrial Complex)

"Give thanks for the very great honor of listening to Andrea Smith. This book will burn a hole right through your mind with its accurate analysis and the concise compilation of information that makes it the first of its kind. Conquest is not only instructive, it is healing. I want every Indian I know to read it."
(Chrystos, artist, poet, and activist)

"Conquest radically rethinks the historical scope and dimensionality of 'sexual violence,' a historical vector of bodily domination that is too often reduced to universalizing—hence racist—narratives of gendered oppression and resistance. Offering a breathtaking genealogy of white supremacist genocide and colonization in North America, this book provides a theoretical model that speaks urgently to a broad continuum of political and intellectual traditions. In this incisive and stunningly comprehensive work, we learn how the proliferation of sexual violence as a normalized feature of modern Euro-American patriarchies is inseparable from violence against Indigenous women, and women of color. In Conquest, Andrea Smith has presented us with an epochal challenge, one that should productively disrupt and perhaps transform our visions of liberation and radical freedom."
(Dylan Rodríguez, University of California, Riverside)

"Conquest is not for those who flinch from an honest examination of white supremacist history, or who shy away from today's controversies in the reproductive health and anti-violence movements. This book is a tough, thoughtful, and passionate analysis of the colonization of America and the resistance of Indigenous women. Andrea Smith is one of this country's premiere intellectuals and a good old-fashioned organizer—a rare combination that illuminates her praxis and gift to social justice movement building in the 21st century."

(Loretta Ross, coauthor of Undivided Rights: Women of Color Organize for Reproductive Justice and cofounder of Sister Song Women of Color Reproductive Health Collective) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Andrea Smith is Associate Professor of Ethnic Studies and Media and Cultural Studies at the University of California, Riverside. She is the author of Native Americans and the Christian Right: The Gendered Politics of Unlikely Alliances and coeditor of Theorizing Native Studies, both also published by Duke University Press.
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 250 pages
  • Publisher: South End Press (May 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0896087433
  • ISBN-13: 978-0896087439
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.6 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #129,183 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

49 of 56 people found the following review helpful By Third World on August 10, 2005
Format: Paperback
This book is outstanding! Ms. Smith presents a clear and cogent treatise of the problems Native Americans have which were created by the Colonizers. Within a few pages you come to the realization that your knowledge of Native Americans is below average at best. I am African and not only was I able to relate to her because of the obvious similarities of our predicaments but I was also extremely impressed by Ms. Smith's knowledge of Black History and the subsequent connections she was able to make pertaining to our struggles. After reading this book you'll see that the best way to assist not only Native Americans but all Ethnic Groups is to first listen...I mean really listen.
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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer J. Timmons on September 21, 2008
Format: Paperback
In this examination of sexual violence used as tool of patriarchy and colonialism in Native American Indian communities, both historically and presently, Andrea Smith leaves no stone unturned.

She spares neither governments for their racist and harmful policies regarding indigenous peoples and the lands they live on, nor feminists and activists for their sometimes racist views and short-sightedness in their zeal to promote and protect their own respective interests. This is a rare treat to have such a carefully researched analysis made accessible in this book, from an academic and activist who is herself a Native American Indian.

Her thorough analysis of Native American Indian women being adversely affected by government policies still tainted by colonialist mentality--such as through nuclear testing on or near Native American Indian reservations by our government, or being used as guinea pigs by pharmaceutical companies testing new drugs, sends one, very clear message: Native American Indians are considered expendable by our government. Reproductive health problems, babies born with health problems, and poor access to health care (often substandard) are only a few issues these women pay dearly for as a result of unfair governmental policies. The police brutality occuring on reservations, or against Native American Indians in general living outside their communities that she researched,is unspeakable. And heartbreaking. It is a shame to have to realize these abuses are happening in the 21st century.

Smith also brings to light the attitudes of other governments, such as Canada and Peru (as well as NATO) toward their own indigenous people: the prevailing consensus is that they are all expendable.
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26 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Selo Eco on February 16, 2007
Format: Paperback
Smith's groundbreaking book should be required reading for all rape crisis advocates in North America. Not only does she provide a scholarly examination of the link between colonial genocide and sexual violence, Smith also provides context for contemporary activism and solutions. Forget everything you thought you knew about rape and sexual abuse and be prepared to re-think what it means to be a feminist and advocate. Smith's eloquence and thoughtfulness make reading this text an ideal starting point for dialogue in both academia and grassroots organizations. You will learn about how historical events continue to have an impact today and how the mainstream (white) rape crisis movement has fallen short of providing comprehensive analysis of sexual violence.
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17 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Christina Sichley on September 27, 2005
Format: Paperback
The first few chapters present the tragedies that America(as well as Canada, etc..) has committed on Native Americans, and while devastating it is real interesting to read about the boarding schools, sterilization, drug experiments, land taken thru treaties, etc...and abuse that Native Americans recieved from the government. I didn't even know about all the issues that Andrea Smith discusses -but I do know. I loved the first few chapters better then the rest!
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By THE-DEADLY-DOG on June 15, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Conquest truly is an eye-opener as it takes us through the journey of the lesser known American Indian Genocide really giving a new perspective on a rather unknown topic. Overall the book reads well and flows consistently but there are parts which are drawn out or hung on for too long which will seem like a drag. I must warn that it is indeed a powerful read that there will be scenes throughout the book that will tug on heart strings and test your emotional capacity.
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By aleighc on October 13, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Had to read this book for school, glad I did . It was a great eye opening book for everyone to read.
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6 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Rebecca Hall on October 14, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This slim volume provides insightful analysis into the causes of the epidemic of violence against Native women, as well as solutions for action we can all take. Further, it demonstrates the connections between native woman and other women of color in the United States, negotiating some of the treacherous terrain of conflict between the indigenous and the diasporic, legacies of slavery and continuing colonialism with grace and respect. Her chapter on the devastating impact of forced boarding schools and the current movement for reparations was particularly eye opening, especially for those of us who work in the field of violence against women. Which brings up another brilliant aspect of this book. Professor Smith's book is crucial to both scholars and activists and accessible to both. This is a must read for advocates in the fields of domestic violence and sexual assault, and a must read for anyone interested in the intersections between race, gender, violence and oppression.
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