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Kathleen DuVal is a Professor of History at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her field of expertise is early American history, particularly interactions among Native Americans, Europeans, and Africans on the borderlands of North America. Her books include Independence Lost: Lives on the Edge of the American Revolution and the forthcoming Native Nations: A Millennium in North America.


Her forthcoming Native Nations: A Millennium in North America (April 2024) has a starred review in Publishers Weekly:

This prodigiously researched and enlightening study from University of North Carolina historian DuVal (Independence Lost) recenters the past 1,000 years of Native North American history around the political power exercised by Indigenous governments. Beginning with the civilizations that established large cities a millennium ago in the Mississippi Valley—with pyramids, castles, and major road and river systems—she explains that agricultural instability during the Little Ice Age (c. 1250) prompted a turn away from urbanization. Native governments morphed into smaller-scale, more egalitarian organizations that encouraged “shared prosperity and shared decision making.” These smaller states developed complex and advanced systems of diplomacy, economics, and governance that, DuVal argues, perplexed, intrigued, and often outmatched the first several centuries of European settlers. One fascinating example is the Mohawk government’s regulation of trade with the Dutch in the 17th century. “Hardly the passive consumers the colonial planners hoped for,” the Mohawks artificially inflated the price of furs so the Dutch could only turn a profit by paying with guns, the Mohawks’ most sought after European good. Tracing numerous Native governments across the ensuing centuries—including the 18th century’s Cherokee republic and alliance of Great Plains nations—DuVal provides a profoundly empowered history of Native America. This keen reframing will appeal to fans of David Graeber and David Wengrow’s The Dawn of Everything. (Apr.)

DuVal’s awards include the Guggenheim Fellowship in the Humanities, a National Humanities Center Fellowship, a postdoctoral fellowship from the Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship, the 2008 best article in the William and Mary Quarterly, the best article in southern women’s history from the Southern Association for Women Historians, and book prizes from the Journal of the American Revolution and the Frances S. Summersell Center for the Study of the South. She is an Elected Fellow of the American Antiquarian Society and the Society of American Historians.

Visit Kathleen DuVal’s official website at the History Department at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill here.