Alaina E. Roberts, Ph.D.


3522 Posvar Hall   Department of History   University of Pittsburgh   Pittsburgh, PA 15260

Academic Appointments

Assistant Professor of History, University of Pittsburgh, 2019-present


Ph.D., History

Indiana University

June 2017

Fields of Study: African Diaspora, Native American and Indigenous Studies

Dissertation: “Chickasaw Freedpeople at the Crossroads of Reconstruction”

Dissertation Committee: Christina Snyder (chair), Tiya Miles, Jason Jackson, Wendy Gamber, John Bodnar

M.A., History

Indiana University

December 2013

B.A., History

University of California, Santa Barbara

December 2011

Minor: American Indian and Indigenous Studies




I’ve Been Here All the While: Settler Colonialism and Black Reconstruction

(under contract with the University of Pennsylvania Press, anticipated publication date: Fall 2021)

Articles & Book Chapters

(Submitted) “Female Empowerment through Exploitation”

(Under Peer Review) “Settlement” in Democracies in America, eds. D. Berton Emerson and Gregory Laski (Oxford University Press)

(Forthcoming, June 2020) “A Different Forty Acres: Land, Kin, and Migration in the Late Nineteenth Century

West,” Journal of the Civil War Era

(January 2018) “Field Notes: A Hammer and a Mirror: Tribal Disenrollment and Scholarly

Responsibility,” Western Historical Quarterly vol. 49, no. 1

Fellowships, Awards, Scholarships & Grants

(2018) Dietrich School Diversity Postdoctoral Fellowship, University of Pittsburgh

(2017) George and Ann Richards Civil War Era Center Postdoctoral Fellowship, The Pennsylvania State University

(2016) Trennert-Iverson Scholarship, Western History Association

(2016) Indian Student Conference Scholarship, Western History Association

(2016) Frederick W. & Mildred C. Stoler Research Fellowship, History Department, Indiana University

(2016) Woodburn Dissertation Fellowship, History Department, Indiana University

(2015) Graduate Conference Travel Award, College of Arts & Humanities Institute, Indiana University

(2015) Phillips Fund for Native American Research Grant, American Philosophical Society

(2015) Graduate Student Research Grant, Center for Research on Race and Ethnicity in Society, Indiana University              

(2012-2017) Frederick W. & Mildred C. Stoler New Student Fellowship, History Department, Indiana University

(2012-2017) Arlene Lilly New Student Fellowship, History Department, Indiana University

(2011) Summer Research Fellowship, Moore Undergraduate Research Apprentice Program, UNC, Chapel Hill

(2010) Summer Research Fellowship, Ronald E. McNair Scholars Program, UC Santa Barbara

Op-Eds & Other Publications

(August 2019) “Democratic candidates are finally talking about domestic terrorism. Here’s why that matters,”

The Washington Post,

(February 2019) “Who is Native American?: The Elizabeth Warren Saga,” Al Jazeera English,

(December 2018) “How Native Americans adopted slavery from white settlers,” Al Jazeera English,


(September 2018) “Dawn of Detroit: An Interview with Tiya Miles,” Black Perspectives: The Blog of the

African American Intellectual History Society (AAIHS),


(September 2017) A federal court has ruled blood cannot determine tribal citizenship. Here’s why that matters,” 

The Washington Post,

Book Reviews

(June 2019) Paul D. Quigley, ed., “The Civil War and the Transformation of American Citizenship,” Journal of

the Civil War Era, vol. 9, no. 2

(January 2018) Mikaëla M. Adams, “Who Belongs? Race, Resources, and Tribal Citizenship in the

Native South,” Western Historical Quarterly vol. 49, no. 1 (Spring 2018)

(December 2013) Barbara Krauthamer, “Black Slaves, Indian Masters: Slavery, Emancipation, and

Citizenship in the Native American South,” Ohio Valley History 13, no. 3 (Fall 2013)

Commentary in Regional, National, and International Media

(June 2019) Historical Consultant, Who Do You Think You Are? television show

(December 2018) “Interview with Kimberly Egonmwan,” WVON 1690am: The Talk of Chicago (radio show)

(November 2018) “The black Americans suing to reclaim their Native American identity,” The Guardian,

Invited Presentations

(Forthcoming, February 2020) “The Native and Black Body as Political Archive,” Keynote Address, American Indian and Indigenous Collective 7th Annual Symposium, University of California, Santa Barbara

(Forthcoming, February 2020) “What do the Freedmen Fight For?: Looking Toward Afro-Native Self-Determination,” Dividing Lines: An African American & Native American Symposium, Kennesaw State University


(September 2019) “Coming to Terms with an Intertwined African American and Native American History and Present,” Crossroads: Reconsidering Native Americans and African Americans in Tennessee and the South Symposium, Historic Franklin Masonic Hall Foundation, Franklin, Tennessee


(September 2019) “The Wages of Settler Colonialism within Indian Country: A Discussion about Tribal Disenrollment,” Settler Colonialism and the United States Symposium and Teach-In, Carnegie Mellon University

(August 2019) “Facing the Black Experience in a Native Space,” Africana Studies Norris Lecture, Oklahoma State University

(March 2019) “Indigeneity?: Land, Colonialism, and Placemaking,” Spring Lunch Series on Global Indigeneity, World History Center, University of Pittsburgh

(April 2018) “Land and Migration in Rethinking Reconstruction,” guest lecture in “The American South”

(graduate course), Dr. Christina Snyder, The Pennsylvania State University

(April 2017) Keynote Address, Indiana University History Department Awards Luncheon, Indiana University

(January 2017) “Defining Freedom: Emancipation in the Chickasaw Nation,” Emerging Scholar Speaker Series,

The Pennsylvania State University

(April 2016) “An Inconvenient Truth: African Americans and the Chickasaw Nation,” Indiana University History Department’s Diversity Committee Presents: Black-Native Histories of Freedom & Bondage, Indiana University

(March 2015) “The Civil War and Reconstruction in Indian Territory,” guest lecture in

“Introduction to Native American History,” Dr. Christina Snyder, Indiana University

(May 2011) “The Chickasaw Nation: Factors of Division,” McNair Scholar Brown Bag Lecture Series, Center for

Black Studies Research, University of California, Santa Barbara

(May 2011) “African-Native Self Determination,” guest lecture in “Indigenous Movements in Asia,” Dr. Ann-Elise

Lewallen, University of California, Santa Barbara

Conference Participation

(Forthcoming, June 2020) Panelist, Roundtable: “Keywords for New Directions in Civil War and Reconstruction Studies,” Society of Civil War Historians Conference, Raleigh, NC

(Forthcoming, January 2020) Organizer and Chair, Parallels and Comparisons: Black and Native Involvement in Systems of Captivity and Enslavement, American Historical Association Conference, New York, NY

(October 2019) Panelist, “Democracy through Domestic Imperialism: Land, Citizenship, and Reconstruction in Indian Territory,” Western History Association Conference, Las Vegas, NV

(September 2019) Commentator, Creating and Contesting Southern Narratives, American Society for Ethnohistory Conference, State College, PA

(June 2019) Chair, Visions of Empire: Policy and Protest in the British Atlantic World, Omohundro Institute Annual Conference, Pittsburgh, PA

(April 2019) Panelist, “Can People of African Descent be Settlers?: Envisioning Freedom in the West as Imperialism by Proxy,” Organization of American Historians Conference, Philadelphia, PA

(March 2018) Panelist, “Who is Chickasaw in Nineteenth Century Indian Territory?,” Critical Mixed Race Studies Conference, College Park, MD

(January 2018) Panelist, Defining Freedom through Transnational Movement: Emancipation and Reconstruction in the Chickasaw Nation,” American Historical Association Conference, Washington, D.C.

(November 2017) Panelist, “Agents as Activists: The Case of John Sanborn and the Chickasaw Freedpeople,” Southern Historical Association Conference, Dallas, TX

(August 2017) Panelist, “Contested Narratives: Venues of Identity and Memorialization,” Pacific Coast Branch-American Historical Association Conference, Los Angeles, CA

(October 2016) Panelist, Roundtable: “Family History as a Method in Reconstructing Indigenous and Black West(s),” Western History Association Conference, St. Paul, MN                    

(November 2015) Panelist, “‘A Permanent Dissolution of the American Union’: Chickasaw Nationhood and the Rhetoric of Chickasaw Freedpeople in the Era of Reconstruction,” American Society for Ethnohistory Conference, Las Vegas, NV

Courses Taught


Introduction to African American History

History of the American Frontier

Natives and Newcomers: A Multicultural History of North America

Lifelong Learning (OLLI-OSHER)

From Africa to the American Civil War: An Introduction to African American History

Service to the Department and University

(Forthcoming, 2020) Facilitator, “Ten Evenings” book & author discussion with Tommy Orange, Global Studies Center, University of Pittsburgh

(Forthcoming, 2019) Guest speaker, “The Native American genocide Americans ignore,” The Holocaust in Context: Genocide and Ethnic Cleansing in Central Europe undergraduate seminar, Dr. Gregor Thum, University of Pittsburgh

(2019) Co-Originator, “Spring Lunch Series on Global Indigeneity,” World History Center, University of Pittsburgh

(2018) Co-Organizer, “The Diversity Statement: What it Is and How it Can Change the Way You Teach,” Graduate Studies, University of Pittsburgh

Service to the Profession

(2019) Article Reviewer, Radical History Review

(2019-2022) Editorial Board, The Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era

(2018) Member, Julia Cherry Spruill Book Prize Committee, Southern Association of Women Historians

Service to the Community & Work on Diversity

(2019) Presenter, “Black Slave Revolts & Methods of Resistance,” Black History Program for High School Students across Allegheny County, Stop the Violence-Pittsburgh

(2018) Co-Dancer Liaison, Penn State Pow Wow, The Pennsylvania State University

(2017) Judge, Undergraduate Research Exhibition, Africana Research Center, The Pennsylvania State University

(2016) Graduate Mentor, Black Graduate Student Association, Indiana University

(2016) Organizer, “Red and Black: Multifaceted American Indian and African American Identities,”

By Blood: A Documentary Film screening and talk by Dr. Barbara Krauthamer, Organization of American Historians (OAH) Distinguished Lecture, Indiana University

(2015-2016) Student Affiliate, Center for Research on Race and Ethnicity in Society (CRRES), Indiana University

(2012) Assistant Coordinator, “Behind the Lens: Girls of Color in the Media,” Museum of the African Diaspora

(2012) Student Leadership Award for Co-Curricular Activity (American Indian Student Association), Office of Student Affairs, University of California, Santa Barbara

(2010-2011) Originator and Editor, “‘The People’: Native Resource and Community Guide,” University of California, Santa Barbara

(2010-2011) Organizer, “American Red and Black: Stories of Afro-Native Identity,” American Red and Black film screening and discussion with film director Alicia Woods, University of California, Santa Barbara


(2010-2011) Student Ambassador, Newly Admitted American Indian Student Reception, University of California system

(2009-2011) Chair, American Indian Student Association (AISA), University of California, Santa Barbara

Professional Organizations

Native American and Indigenous Studies Association

Organization of American Historians

American Society for Ethnohistory

American Historical Association

Southern Historical Association

Western History Association

The Society of Civil War Historians

Southern Association for Women Historians

Society for Historians of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era


Dr. Christina Snyder

McCabe Greer Professor of History

The Pennsylvania State University

812 360 0302

Dr. Tiya Miles

Professor of History, Radcliffe Alumnae Professor

Harvard University

734 417 4637 

Dr. Greg Downs

Professor of History

University of California, Davis

530 754 1633