Patrick Gary Bottiger, a native of Minnesota, joined the history faculty in 2013. He holds a doctorate in American history from the University of Oklahoma where he specialized in Indigenous history. Prior to arriving at Kenyon, Bottiger taught at Florida Gulf Coast University and Mount Allison University in New Brunswick, Canada. His teaching interests include the American history survey, American Indian history, colonial and Revolutionary America, and the history of agriculture. In addition, he has taught classes on historical methods and offers a very popular course on the history of corn from its domestication in North America to its global dominance today. In the spring of 2020, Kenyon College awarded Professor Bottiger the Trustee Teaching Award.

Bottiger's work has appeared in the Journal of the Early Republic and other scholarly periodicals. He has held fellowships at the Newberry Library, the Massachusetts Historical Society, the William L. Clements Library, the Filson Society, and participated in the Boston Summer Seminar and an NEH Summer Seminar on the problems of governance in the early republic. His first book, "Borderland of Fear: Prophetstown, Vincennes, and the Invasion of the Miami Homeland," examines how ethnic factionalism and lies precipitated violence in the Ohio River Valley at the turn of the nineteenth century.

When not in his office in Gambier, Bottiger can be found road biking or traversing the backcountry of Glacier National Park or many of the other fantastic national parks throughout the United States. If asked, he will tell students about the time when two wolves pursued him on the rocky wilds of Isle Royale National Park in Lake Superior. He was lucky enough to video some of this encounter, which was eventually purchased and included in a show on Animal Planet.

Patrick also spends a great deal of time outside in the fields at Kenyon Farm and in his garden plots in Mount Vernon facilitating project plantings about Indigenous agriculture and Traditional Ecological Knowledge. As director of the Three Sisters Project, Professor Bottiger hopes to introduce students and the wider community to the environmental humanities by using historical evidence and scholarship to inform the cultural contexts shaping agricultural systems and knowledge.

Awards

2019-2020 Kenyon Trustee Teaching Award 

2021-2022 National Endowment for Humanities (NEH) Fellow-August 2021 until May 2022 

2021-2022 Massachusetts Historical Society National Endowment for Humanities (NEH) Fellow-June 2022 until December 2022 

Areas of Expertise

History of North American Indigenous Peoples; early America and the American Revolution, agricultural history and Corn

Education

2009 — Doctor of Philosophy from University of Oklahoma

2003 — Master of Arts from University of Wisconsin-Eau Cl

2001 — Bachelor of Arts from St. John's University

Courses Recently Taught

The purpose of this course is to introduce students to United States history from the 12th century to the mid-19th century. Students will gain a more developed understanding of American history by examining the interactions among diverse cultures and people; the formation and use of power structures and institutions throughout the Colonial, Revolutionary and Antebellum eras; and the processes behind the "Americanization" of the North American continent. Central to this course is a comparison between two interpretations of American history: a Whiggish, or great American history, and the more conflict-centered Progressive interpretation. Not only will students gain a general knowledge of this time period, they also will understand the ways in which the past can be contextualized. Students are expected to understand both the factual basis of American history as well as the general interpretive frameworks underlying historical arguments. This counts toward the history requirement for the major. This course is the same as HIST 101D. This course must be taken as HIST 101D to count for the social science requirement. No prerequisite.

This team-taught seminar explores the 20th century in global comparative perspective, through the reading, contextualization, and analysis of mainly primary source texts and documents. In any given year the seminar will focus on one of two themes: the post-war world (ca.1945-1989), or the inter-war world (1919-1939). It takes up themes of broad political, economic and social transformations; scientific and technological innovations; and the cultural shifts that occurred throughout these decades preceding and following the Second World War. The seminar sections will meet jointly once a week for lectures or films, and separately once a week for discussion of primary-source readings. In addition to the rich historical material that the course addresses, students will begin to learn the basic skills of the historian: asking questions, finding and analyzing relevant documents or primary sources, and identifying different kinds of interpretations of those sources. This counts toward the modern requirement for the major. Open only to first-year students.

The purpose of this course is to introduce students to United States history from the 12th century to the mid-19th century. Students will gain a more developed understanding of American history by examining the interactions among diverse cultures and people; the formation and use of power structures and institutions throughout the colonial, Revolutionary and antebellum eras; and the processes behind the "Americanization" of the North American continent. Central to this course is a comparison between two interpretations of American history; a Whiggish, or great American history, and the more conflict-centered Progressive interpretation. Not only will students gain a general knowledge of this time period, but they also will understand the ways in which the past can be contextualized. Students are expected to understand both the factual basis of American history as well as the general interpretive frameworks underlying historical arguments. This counts toward the premodern requirement for the major and minor. This course is the same as AMST 101D. This course must be taken as HIST 101D to count towards the social science requirement. No prerequisite.

This course is a thematic survey of the United States from the end of the Civil War to the present. Students will examine the transformation of the United States from a rural, largely Protestant society into a powerful and culturally diverse urban/industrial nation. Topics will include constitutional developments, the formation of a national economy, urbanization and immigration. The course also will discuss political changes, the secularization of public culture, the formation of the welfare state, World War I, World War II, the Cold War, and the Vietnam War as well as suburbanization, the civil rights movement, women's and gay rights, and the late 20th-century conservative politics movement and religious revival. This course is the same as AMST 102D. This must be taken as HIST 102D to count towards the social science requirement. This counts toward the modern requirement for the major and minor. No prerequisite.

This course surveys American Indian experience in North America from pre-Columbian America to the contemporary moment by "facing east from Indian country" in order to situate Indians’ experience within their own worlds, perspectives and values. American Indians were agents of change far more than simply victims of circumstance and oppression. By looking at American Indians as actors, settlers and thinkers, students will gain a more nuanced understanding of colonialism, expansion, ethnic diversity, hegemony and violence throughout North America. Topics include cultural diversity in pre-Columbian North America; pre- and postcolonial change; cosmology and creation; language; New World identities; slavery and violence; empires; political and spiritual dimensions of accommodation and resistance; borderlands and frontiers; race and removal; the Plains wars; assimilation; Red Power; self-determination; hunting and fishing rights and gaming. This course will highlight the fact that American Indians are intimately intertwined with the histories of various European colonial empires, African peoples and the United States, but also that American Indian peoples have distinct histories of their own that remain vibrant and whole to this day. This counts toward the modern requirement for the major and minor.

This course evaluates the ways in which North American peoples (Indigenous and not) have evolved through corn from ancient America to the rise of neoliberal food regimes and agribusinesses such as Cargill and Monsanto. At the core of this class is the study of the varying and evolving knowledge systems and ontological frameworks in play as North Americans interacted with each other and established their societies through the cultivation of corn and plants. As Native peoples domesticated corn, they often abandoned more nomadic traditions for sedentary ones in order to cultivate their crops and to feed their growing communities. Such changes ushered in profound transformations among Native communities as social hierarchies developed, new religious practices and cosmologies evolved, and large urban centers such as Tenochtitlan and Cahokia appeared. Corn’s centrality in the lives of North Americans continued even after Europeans, Africans, and Asians arrived during the colonial period. Non-Native newcomers became dependent on the crop for it became a central foodstuff for commercial trade, the enslavement of and trade of African peoples and Black Americans, the production of whiskey culture on the frontier, and eventually the rise of urban centers such as Cincinnati and Chicago. By the turn of the twentieth century, Americans were not only dependent on corn as a foodstuff, but as a key component of their capitalist, agrarian, and racial identities. Even today, corn remains (in terms of acreage farmed and grain produced) the most predominant crop on earth. Although scholars traditionally speak of Indigenous peoples as tying their genesis to corn, they often neglect to engage the ways in which non-Natives did the same. This counts toward the modern requirement for the major. No prerequisite.

This course is a study of American Indian activism from the late 19th century to the present in order to understand the broader historical context of Red Power. It is designed to look beyond the myth that American Indian activism rode in on the coattails of the 1960s Civil Rights Movement and show that Native and non-Native activists had been fighting and campaigning on behalf of the Indian peoples throughout the entire century. The course will highlight the varying methods, intentions, successes and failures of the many American Indian activists and organizations that fought for Indian sovereignty. This counts toward the modern requirement for the major.

This course focuses on the conceptual frameworks used by historians and on debates within the profession about the nature of the past and the best way to write about it. The seminar prepares students of history to be productive researchers, insightful readers and effective writers. The seminar is required for history majors and should be completed before the senior year. Open only to sophomores and juniors. This counts toward the practice and theory requirement for the major. Prerequisite: history or international studies major or permission of instructor.

This seminar will look at the formation of the American republic. It will look at the prerevolutionary causes of the conflict, the revolution itself, the establishment of a new nation and the writing and ratification of the federal Constitution. The course will focus on political and constitutional issues but also will address social change, Native Americans, women and slavery. This counts toward the premodern requirement for the major and minor. Prerequisite: sophomore standing.

This course will examine the contest among various cultural groups for control of the Great Lakes region of North America from the days of Jacques Cartier’s first voyage in 1534 to the War of 1812 between Great Britain and the United States of America. Native peoples, French and British settlers, and even African slaves played important roles in creating commercial, Native, imperial and national borderlands within the geographic boundaries of the Great Lakes. From the storied voyageurs who explored vast stretches of the Iroquoian and Algonquian worlds to the British and American warships vying for supremacy on Lake Erie, the cultural and political boundaries of the Great Lakes were in continual flux and under constant negotiation. In order to understand this Great Lakes borderland, we will look at the power differentials among the various groups, the patterns of cooperation or noncooperation they adopted, the sources of various cultural misunderstandings, and the strategies for coping that they adopted. This counts toward the premodern requirement for the major and minor.