Piker, Joshua 1967(?)- (Joshua Aaron Piker)

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Piker, Joshua 1967(?)- (Joshua Aaron Piker)

PERSONAL:

Born c. 1967. Education: Oberlin College, B.A. (summa cum laude), 1989; Cornell University, M.A., 1995, Ph.D., 1998.

ADDRESSES:

Office—Department of History, University of Oklahoma, 660 Parrington Oval, Norman, OK 73019-0390. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

University of Oklahoma, Norman, associate professor of history.

WRITINGS:

Okfuskee: A Creek Indian Town in Colonial America, Harvard University Press (Cambridge, MA), 2004.

Contributor to academic journals, including Journal of Southern History and Ethnohistory.

SIDELIGHTS:

Joshua Piker studied history and anthropology at Oberlin College in Ohio, graduating in 1989 with high honors. He continued his education at Cornell University, where he earned both a master's degree and a doctorate in history in 1998. He then joined the faculty of the University of Oklahoma in Norman to teach history. Piker's primary areas of research and academic interest include colonial and Native American history. In 2004 he published his first book, Okfuskee: A Creek Indian Town in Colonial America. Okfuskee was a Creek town during colonial times that is situated in the middle of what is modern-day Alabama. Originally, it was on a major trading path that linked some of the Creek communities to the British colonies along the southeastern coast. Piker explains how this particular positioning resulted in unique interactions and influences between the colonists and the residents of Okfuskee. He begins with a thorough history of the town, indicating when there was any overlap between the Creek and the colonial communities, and uses these points as a means of comparing the different aspects of the two cultures. The vast separation of the colonies from the parent nations in Europe led to an autonomy of society that in many ways resembled that of the Native American social structure. They were also both at the mercy of the land, forced to move on to new territory when hunting became sparse. In other ways, these societies differed, particularly with respect to political agendas and cultural differences. Trade with the colonists, and the limiting of which Native American community was allowed access to which colony settlement, led to infighting and competition between the Creek tribes. Daniel S. Murphree related in the Historian that in some respects Piker's work is too localized in its approach, but he ultimately found the book to be "a well-crafted assessment of Creek society that enlightens more than it obscures. Consequently, in many ways it stands above much of the recent literature similar in content while opening the door for further research." In a review for the Journal of Southern History, Carrie McLachlan remarked that "Piker deserves the praises he has received for having illuminated the important diplomatic role certain towns like Okfuskee had in initiating and maintaining relationships with the British and their allies."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

American Historical Review, April, 2006, Robbie Ethridge, review of Okfuskee: A Creek Indian Town in Colonial America, pp. 472-473.

Historian, fall, 2007, Daniel S. Murphree, review of Okfuskee, p. 555.

H-Net: Humanities and Social Sciences Online, September, 2006, Michelle LeMaster, review of Okfuskee.

Journal of Social History, winter, 2005, Wendy St. Jean, review of Okfuskee, p. 549.

Journal of Southern History, February, 2007, Carrie McLachlan, review of Okfuskee, p. 148.

Western Historical Quarterly, winter, 2005, Marvin T. Smith, review of Okfuskee, p. 510.

ONLINE

University of Oklahoma Department of History Web site,http://www.ou.edu/ (February 24, 2008), faculty profile of Joshua Piker.