Project News

New Book

Book Launch: ‘The Making of Frank ‘Toronto’ Prewett: Poetry, Trauma and Identity‘. British Library, 15 June 2021.

Interview: ‘The Making of Frank Prewett‘. Signal House Edition.

Joy Porter, Trauma, Primitivism and the First World War: The Making of Frank Prewett (Bloomsbury, 2021). Click link to preorder. Buy at Amazon UK USA Canada |

Profile: The Fulbrighter

Blog Post: ‘How to Cope with Psychological Combat Trauma‘ – Champlain Society

Podcast interview: ‘A Curious Case of Shellshock’. Laurier Centre for Military, Strategic and Disarmament Studies

This book, discussed in an advance review in the Observer, examines the extraordinary life of Frank “Toronto” Prewett and the history of trauma, literary expression, and the power of self-representation after WWI.

Joy Porter sheds new light on how the First World War affected the Canadian poet, and how war-induced trauma or “shell-shock” caused him to pretend to be an indigenous North American. Porter investigates his influence of, and acceptance by, some of the most significant literary figures of the time, including Siegfried Sassoon, Edmund Blunden, Wilfred Owen and Robert Graves.

In doing so, Porter skillfully connects a number of historiographies that usually exist in isolation from one another and rarely meet. By bringing together a history of the WWI era, early twentieth century history, Native American history, the history of literature, and the history of class Porter expertly crafts a valuable contribution to the field.

Cara Bilson – From Internship to Career Track

Graduating in the midst of a global pandemic, it was easy to feel overwhelmed by anxiety when it came to my future career opportunities. After job offers fell through due to companies scaling back, the excitement I initially felt for finishing university quickly disappeared. Being accepted for an internship with Treatied Spaces was a true life line. It allowed me to build on skills previously learnt at university in order to gain practical experience assembling bids for funding for PhD research. This gave me the opportunity to work alongside experienced researchers in Hull University’s History department. In addition, although the internship is only 12 weeks, it provided me with a much needed income stream while I was able to focus on looking for more long term opportunities.

Now, I have officially been accepted to start a job straight after my internship finishes with Hull Food Partnership as a Food Inequality Officer- with a generous starting salary. I do not think this would have been possible without my internship for Treatied Spaces. Not only was the experience I gained working in an academic environment highly sought after, but the Treatied Spaces team supported me all the way through the process- providing me with interview practice and advice. Overall, the experience has been overwhelmingly positive and definitely something I would recommend to future graduates.

Treatied Spaces Doctoral Candidate wins 2020 AHRC International Placement Fellowship at the Smithsonian, USA.

Rebecca Slatcher, who holds an AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award on Indigenous Language Curation and is co-supervised by Professor Joy Porter  and Dr Fran Fuentes, Curator for North American Printed Collections at the British Library, has been awarded a Fellowship under the AHRC’s International Placement Scheme, which will allow her to study at the Smithsonian Institution, WashingtonThe scheme gives researchers unique, first-hand access to collections, programmes and expertise at some of the world’s most prestigious institutions.

Professor Porter said: ‘This is a wonderful opportunity for Rebecca to access international networks right at the start of her academic career and place her arts & humanities research at the heart of global debate. The chance to work with the interdisciplinary global revitalization initiative Recovering Voices and some of the world’s top curators is likely to be career-defining’.

Heather Hatton joins the Brilliant Club

We are pleased to announce that Heather Hatton has been successful in her application to become a PhD tutor for The Brilliant Club. The Brilliant Club is a charity that seeks to widen access to highly-selective universities by training and placing PhD researchers into state schools to deliver a course of tutorials based around their research. The programme enables PhD researchers to enhance their understanding of pedagogical techniques, develop their teaching skills and provides them a with a meaningful opportunity for public engagement. After attending a training session in late February Heather will be eligible for a placement in a local school. She is looking forward to creating her own course and tutorials based around intercultural diplomacy in early America.

TSRC PhD student Heather Hatton reflects on Cumberland Lodge

At the end of her first year as a Cumberland Lodge scholar, Heather Hatton reflects on the programme of activities, and offers some advice for prospective applicants.

New Essays on Settler Colonialism and Indigenous Sovereignty

New essays by Charles Prior and Heather Hatton appear along with a brief introduction by Pekka Hämäläinen in the Journal of Early American History.

Charles W. A. Prior, ‘Beyond Settler Colonialism: State Sovereignty in Early America’.

Abstract: This paper offers a critical reflection on the appropriateness of ‘settler colonialism’ as an analytic category for understanding the political dynamics of early America. It argues that the paradigm’s focus on the elimination of the native obscures the resil-ience of Indian power, and the mechanisms by which that power was exercised and defended. The paper positions settler colonialism in recent treatments of the history of colonial political thought, and then presents diplomacy as a site of both sovereign formation and negotiation that enhanced the power of colonies as much as it pre-served the power of Indian confederations. The final section of the paper suggests that the ‘interior’ sovereignty of Native Americans continued to shape the powers of the new republican order of states.

Heather K. Hatton, ‘Narrating Sovereignty: The Covenant Chain in Intercultural Diplomacy’.

Abstract: This article considers Haudenosaunee recitals of the history of the Covenant Chain as a powerful communicative mechanism to define and assert sovereign identity and rights in the context of intercultural diplomacy. It reflects initially on the metaphorical language used to structure these historical narratives and how it enabled the Haudenosaunee to articulate self-understandings of their sovereignty. Contending that the narrative’s main power stemmed from its application in specific diplomatic contexts, the article then examines three instances when the Haudenosaunee recounted the entire history of the Chain during mid-eighteenth century treaty councils with the British. It explores the reasons underpinning the narrative’s use on these occasions and its overall implications. Finally, the article discusses the adoption of the narrative by one British diplomat, Sir William Johnson, considering his motivations for using the Covenant Chain and its intended effects.

British Academy Global Professorship


We are pleased to announce that we will be joined by Professor Gregory Smithers as British Academy Global Professor starting in early 2020. His work with us will explore how threats to our well-being posed by climate change can be addressed by drawing upon indigenous knowledges rooted in the deep past.

Joy Porter comments on Wes Studi’s Academy Award

Joy Porter spoke with the BBC about Wes Studi’s honorary Academy Award. Read the piece here, and her new essay in The Conversation.

New Colleague: Dr Kristofer Ray

We are pleased to welcome Dr Kristofer Ray who has been appointed to a three-year lectureship in North American Indigenous History. He joins us from the University of Mississippi, and brings a wide experience of high-quality teaching in a number of institutions, including the Program in Native American Studies at Dartmouth College.

Cumberland Lodge Scholarship


Congratulations to Heather Hatton, who is one of ten recipients of a Cumberland Lodge Scholarship for 2019-21. This programme offers doctoral students based at UK universities the opportunity to set themselves apart, by honing their public engagement, communications and event facilitation skills. They have the chance to network with senior figures in public life and to participate in, or help to lead discussions with, people of all ages, backgrounds and perspectives that ultimately inform recommendations for practical action and policy change.

Aylmer Lecture: The American Environment

Joy Porter delivered this year’s Aylmer Lecture at the University of York on the 13th of June 2019. The topic was The American Environment: Histories of Conflict over Water, Energy, and Treatied Space.

Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship


Joy Porter has been awarded a Major Research Fellowship from the Leverhulme Trust for a project entitled: ‘What Would Nixon Do? The Forgotten Republican Roots of American Environmentalism’.

At a critical juncture in environmental history, when conventional warnings are dismissed by conservative voters as ‘fake news’, the project will engage with conservative and Republican traditions by asking: ‘What Would Nixon Do?’ It will examine the Nixon presidency and its remarkable environmental advances using Native American Indian Federal history as a lens. The project will bring together archives new to scholarship in order to foreground a conservative revolution in environmental protection and Native rights that today is downplayed by the Trump administration. The resulting interdisciplinary book will appear with The University of Nebraska Press with the intention of influencing a spectrum of interests that are currently conducting separate conversations.

This fellowship will run for three years from September 2019.

British Academy Visiting Fellow: Dale Turner (NAS, Dartmouth)

dale-turnerWe are pleased to welcome Professor Dale Turner of the Program in Native American Studies at Dartmouth College as a British Academy Visiting Fellow from August 2018. Recently, he visited the campus to speak on ‘What is Indigenous Spirituality?: Anishinaabe American Indian Political Thought in the 21st Century’. Responding to the limits of liberal theory to accommodate First Nations claims to sovereignty, he called for the development of a ‘third language’ of law as a solution to the limits of inherent and delegated forms of indigenous rights claims, which are ultimately adjudicated within the courts of the sovereign Canadian state.  While at Hull, he also met with graduate students for an informal discussion of the links between historic and modern notions of treaty rights.

New research resource

American Indian Histories and Cultures Adam Matthew Digital

Thanks to the continuing support of the University of Hull and the Brynmor Jones Library, we now have full access to the American Indian Histories and Cultures database. We are the first HEI in the UK to purchase this important resource for research into American Indian history, published by Adam Matthew Digital: “The wide range of material included in American Indian Histories and Cultures presents a unique insight into interactions between American Indians and Europeans from their earliest contact, continuing through the turbulence of the American Civil War, the on-going repercussions of government legislation, right up to the civil rights movement of the mid- to late-twentieth century. This resource contains material from the Newberry Library’s extensive Edward E. Ayer Collection; one of the strongest archival collections on American Indian history in the world”.