Historian / Reader
Philip J. Deloria is Professor of History at Harvard University, where his research and teaching focus on the social, cultural and political histories of the relations among American Indian peoples and the United States, as well as the comparative and connective histories of indigenous peoples in a global context.
His first book, Playing Indian (1998), traced the tradition of white “Indian play” from the Boston Tea Party to the New Age movement, while his 2004 book Indians in Unexpected Places examined the ideologies surrounding Indian people in the early twentieth century and the ways Native Americans challenged them through sports, travel, automobility, and film and musical performance. He is the co-editor of The Blackwell Companion to American Indian History (with Neal Salisbury) and C.G. Jung and the Sioux Traditions by Vine Deloria (with Jerome Bernstein). His most recent book, co-authored with Alexander Olson is American Studies: A User’s Guide (2017), which offers a comprehensive treatment of the historiography and methodology of the field of American Studies. Due in February 2019 is Becoming Mary Sully: Toward an American Indian Abstract, which traces the work of an undiscovered American Indian modernist artist of the mid-twentieth century.
Deloria received the Ph.D. in American Studies from Yale University in 1994, taught for six years at the University of Colorado, and then at the University of Michigan from 2001 to 2017, before joining the faculty at Harvard in January 2018. At Michigan, he served as the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education, Director of the Program in American Culture, and of the Native American Studies Program, and held the Carroll Smith-Rosenberg Collegiate Chair. His courses have included American Indian history, Environmental history, the American West, and American Studies methods, as well as Food Studies, Songwriting, and Big History.
Deloria is a trustee of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian, where he chairs the Repatriation Committee. He is former president of the American Studies Association, an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the recipient of numerous prizes and recognitions. Along with Erika Doss, he is the series editor of CultureAmerica, a University Press of Kansas series focused on American cultural history. He maintains ongoing academic engagements with scholars in Taiwan and Australia.