School of Histories, Languages and Cultures

Professor Joy Porter


Prof Joy Porter

Professor of Indigenous History

Specialist Subjects: Indigenous History, Culture & Literature; Modernity; U.S. Freemasonry & Associationalism; Ethnicity and the Environment; Ethnicity & the World Wars; aspects of Canadian Studies.

Fulbright Scholar 2015-16

Native American Studies, Dartmouth

Phone: +44 (0)1482 465465
Email: joy.porter@hull.ac.uk


JOY PORTER is a specialist in Native American Indian Studies and joined the Department in October 2012 as Professor of Indigenous History. Her research is interdisciplinary and explores how Native concerns expand and develop the study of war, modernity, literature and the environment. She is author of the following monographs: Native American Environmentalism (Nebraska, 2014), Native American Freemasonry: Performance and Associationalism in America (Nebraska, 2012), and To Be Indian: The Life of Arthur Caswell Parker, 1881-1963 (Oklahoma, 2001). A further 20 publications include a co-authored volume and two edited collections. She has held Visiting Professorships at Dartmouth College (2015); the University of Paris, Diderot (2012) and at The Clinton Institute, Dublin (2011).

Professor Porter's work has benefitted from a series of research awards including a Fulbright All-Disciplines Scholar Award, AHRC Fellowship, British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship, Leverhulme Fellowship, British Association of Canadian Studies Award, Association of Canadian Studies in the U.S. Award, Canadian Government Research Award. Professor Porter has been appointed to the AHRC Strategic Review College, 2016-2020 and also reviews applications on behalf of the Leverhulme Trust and the Fulbright U.S.-U.K. Educational Exchange Commission (Discipline: History). She speaks frequently internationally (in 2015 at West Point, Yale, Dartmouth) and delivered the 2015 Native American Heritage Month lecture at Virginia Commonwealth University for the Office of Multi-Cultural Student Affairs, the 2013 Sankey Lecture (Brock University, Canada) and one of four keynotes for the 2014 Conference on Freemasonry, Department of History, UCLA.

Professor Porter is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. She leads the Department of History's Employability agenda. For more on her CDTE Innovations in Student Learning grant, please see the History Employability website. Professor Porter gained her PhD in 1993 from the University of Nottingham, U.K. She was Associate Dean and Senior Lecturer, College of Arts & Humanities, Swansea University, 2004-2012 and Senior Lecturer in American History, Anglia Ruskin, Cambridge, U.K., 1992-2004.

Selected Publications

Recent Media

Joy Porter publications

Research Monographs

Co-authored Books

Edited Collections

Journal articles

diasporasChapters in Edited Collections

In Translation

  • “Indiens et franc-maçonnerie: une vision performative de l’historire américaine” /“Native American Indian Freemasonry and the Performative Turn within U.S. History”, Race & the Body in Anglophone Context/ Race et corps dans L’aire Anglophone, Michel Prum, ed. Paris: L’Harmattan, 2008,p.113-135. View on Amazon France

Web Publications

Museum Work

Reviews for Native American Environmentalism

"In an era when environmental problems are growing in number and severity, this interdisciplinary book is timely for examining humanity's place in nature by scrutinizing in historical and comparative perspective the spiritual ecology of Native Americans... Porter lays some of the crucial foundation for a fundamental rethinking of the vital interrelationships between religion and nature for the sake of creating a far more sustainable, just, peaceful, and spiritual society. Summing Up: Recommended." - Choice

"This volume offers a unique study of environmentalism and the author shows great respect for Native Americans and their beliefs and proclaims that they have much to teach wider society." - Library Journal 

Early reviews for Native American Freemasonry

Native American Freemasonry book cover“Joy Porter’s book on freemasonry among American Indians deepens our understanding of how an institution once seen solely as elitist and secret could be used to give meaning of native American spiritual beliefs and social activism. It joins a growing scholarly literature that is changing the way we view freemasonry as well as our understanding of Indian Americans. A triumph of scholarship!”

Margaret C. Jacob, Distinguished Professor of History. UCLA

Native American Freemasonry - review

2013 JAH Review

University of California Press Review

Academia.edu Review

Richard Thomas Interview

Early reviews for Land and Spirit in Native America

Land and Spirit in Native America"Land-culture-community is the foundation we live upon and within, the grandmothers and grandfathers say—even when it is a complex matter. I’m glad Joy Porter has written extensively and masterfully about this matter of continuity in her book". -Acoma poet Simon J. Ortiz, author of Woven Stone, from Sand Creek, Out There Somewhere.

"Joy Porter's Land and Spirit in Native America effectively challenges the empty rhetoric and wishful thinking about pan-Indian holism, spirituality and place. In its place Porter offers a nuanced, grounded, and insightful investigation of the role of spirit and land in a range of tribal localities and uses an equally wide range of modalities to remind us the ways in which American Indian tribes have experienced and expressed the relationship of place and person in the last two hundred years. Excellent, insightful, and considered—a valuable addition to the field."

David Treuer, Professor of English, University of Minnesota, Leech Lake Reservation, author of Rez Life, 2012.

Further Links


 Black Eagle Obama

Barack Black Eagle, getting adopted as an honorary member of Crow nation in Montana.

Make Indian country great again

Joy Porter is currently PI of the Research Cluster “Treatied Spaces: Environment & Peoples in America, 1607-1890”.  The cluster is currently offering 2 fully funded PhD bursaries on “Treatied Narrativity” and “Overlapping Sovereignties and Treatied Space”.

Joy Porter is also developing a research project on “Nixon & Native America”. Hailed as “the Abraham Lincoln of the Indian people” by prominent Natives, Nixon began the process of returning Indian land and enshrined Indian sovereign determination in federal law. Professor Porter is exploring ways to quarry new presidential and Indian archives to map the vital role played by Indians themselves in the achievement of this exceptional shift in policy.

Joy Porter is also developing research on “Native American Ways of War”: relating Native American Indian relationships to war to the wider historiography of American warfare and strategic thinking. The work explores Indian cultures of war through three lenses: norms of warfare, strategic thinking and leadership, spirituality and gender. The project was recently awarded a 2015 Fulbright All-Disciplines Scholar Award which allowed Professor Porter to develop the project as part of the Faculty of the Department of Native American Studies at Dartmouth College, New Hampshire.

Joy Porter is currently working on a new, large-scale interdisciplinary project “Native American Ways of War”. For the first time, it will relate Native American Indian relationships to war to the wider historiography of American warfare and strategic thinking. It will do so by exploring Indian cultures of war through three lenses: norms of warfare, strategic thinking and leadership, spirituality and gender. The focus will be on the English-speaking Atlantic world from the first permanent English settlement at Jamestown to the last major conflict of the nineteenth century at Wounded Knee, South Dakota. This project was recently awarded a a 2015 Fulbright All-Disciplines Scholar Award which will allow Professor Porter to map the project’s foundations whilst part of the Faculty of the Department of Native American Studies at Dartmouth College, New Hampshire during the Fall term of 2015.

Professor Porter’s  most recent completed project was "The American Presidency and Tribal Diplomacy in the Twentieth Century" (2012 British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship). This addressed the most important question in twentieth-century Native American politics- how decisive were personal tribal relationships with individual American presidents? The answer fundamentally alters not only our existing understandings of the presidency but also how we conceptualise relationships between "small nations" and dominant powers more generally. The work is intended to be of profound interest both to many Native peoples and to anyone curious about how individual presidents functioned. Research involved work in presidential libraries and archives in California and New Mexico as well as liaison with a number of key twentieth century Native political figures.

 Frank Prewett

Frank James Prewett 1893-1962

Prior to this  Joy Porter was PI on a 2010 research project funded by an AHRC Research Fellowship entitled “The American Indian Poet of the First World War: Modernism and the Indian Identity of Frank ‘Toronto’ Prewett 1893-1962”. The project allowed her to write the first book to make serious, conceptual arguments about Native American identity on both sides of the Atlantic during and after the First World War. The American Indian Poet of the First World War: Modernism and the Indian Identity of Frank “Toronto” Prewett, 1893-1962 draws upon material from untouched archives in Texas, Toronto and the UK to explain why this "Indian soldier" was so attractive to British intellectuals of the time. These included Prewett’s publisher Virginia Woolf as well as Robert Graves, Thomas Hardy, Wilfred Owen and T.E. Lawrence. The research has been showcased across a series of US museums. It brings a new dimension to the study of the first world war and reveals how primitivism was part of the modernist agenda on both sides of the Atlantic.

National Post: Taking Poetic License with Native Ancestry.

 Johnny Depp

Johnny Depp with LaDonna Harris, President of Americans for Indian Opportunity (October 2013)

Joyporter and ladonna

Learning from a political genius, La Donna Harris of the Comanche Nation, New Mexico, summer, 2012

Mrs LaDonna Harris, President of Americans for Indian Opportunity recently facilitated Mr Johnny Depp's adoption into the Comanche Nation. She is also a key Native political figure whose testimony is key to a number of arguments in The American Presidency and Tribal Diplomacy in the Twentieth Century.

Institute of Historical Research: The Woman Who Changed Nixon: LaDonna Harris's Lessons on How Small Nations Can Successfully Relate to Entrenched Power.

Selected Research Awards, fellowships, & prizes

  • 2015 Fulbright All-Disciplines Scholar Award $20,000. 
  • 2012 British Academy Mid-Career Fellow, £113,915.
  • 2010 AHRC Research Fellowship, £51,417.00
  • 2008 'Writer of the Year” Award from the Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers for The Cambridge Companion to Native American Literature, Eds. Joy Porter & Kenneth Roemer (University of Texas), Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • 2001  "Outstanding Academic Title” Award from American Library Association’s Choice Magazine for To Be Indian: Indian Identity and the Life of Arthur Caswell Parker, 1882-1955.


  • 20459: An Introduction to the United States of America
  • 20474: Into the Wild - The Environment and American Cultural History in the Nineteenth Century and Beyond
  • Animal Histories
  • MA Memory, Meaning & History

PhD Supervisions

Joy Porter welcomes enquiries on all aspects of Indigenous Studies; on U.S. Environmentalism and on U.S. Freemasonry & Associationalism.

Current PhDs

  • Susannah Hopson. Susannah won the 2014 Marcus Cuncliffe Award from the British Association of American Studies.
  • Edward Mair. "Native American Slaveholding and Biracial Alliance Amongst Native American Indian and African Americans 1500-Present” Supervisors: Professor Joy Porter, Professor John Oldfield
  • Juli Schlag "Trees in Indigenous America in Historical and Biological Context” Supervisors: Professor Joy Porter, Professor Roland Ennos

Recent Events

Joy Porter Virginia Event

Joy Porter delivered the 2015 lecture in celebration of Native American heritage Month .

Joy Porter delivered the 2015 lecture in celebration of Native American heritage Month at Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia on Tuesday November 3, 2015. The event was sponsored the Office of Multicultural Affairs and Virginia Commonwealth University's Department of History.

Joy Porter delivered a lecture on "Native American Indian Ways of War" at 12.45 -1.45pm on Tuesday 22, September, 2015 for the Department of History at West Point Military Academy.

Joy Porter delivered a talk on "Native Indian Ways of War" at 12pm-1pm on Tuesday, October 20, 2015 at the Native American Cultural Center, Yale University, Connecticut for the Yale Group for the Study of Native America.

Joy Porter spoke on “Approaches to Native American Ways of War” on October 29, 2015 at 12-1.30pm at Dartmouth College, Department of Native American Studies.

Joy Porter delivers a keynote address at the Freemasonry, Civil Society & Aesthetics Conference in March 2014.

Joy Porter delivers a keynote address at the Freemasonry, Civil Society & Aesthetics Conference in March 2014.

Joy Porter’s Inaugural lecture was delivered on March 16, 2015 and can be seen on YouTube.

Joy Porter delivered one of four keynote addresses at a Conference on Freemasonry, Civil Society & Aesthetics on Saturday 22nd March, 2014 hosted by the Department of History,University of California at Los Angeles.

Joy Porter spoke on “The Woman Who Changed Nixon: LaDonna Harris’s Lessons on How Small Nations Can Successfully Relate to Entrenched Power” as part of the “Gender and History in the Americas” seminar series at the Institute of Historical Research, University of London, School of Advanced Study, Monday, 2 December, 2013.

Inaugural Lecture

Professor Joy Porter presents her inaugural lecture 'Beginnings of the Modern World - The First World War, Primitivism and Bloomsbury' at the University of Hull.

Back to top