Rob Harper

Rob Harper

Title: Associate Professor
Office: CCC 469
Phone: (715) 346-4157
Fax: (715) 346-4489


Ph.D., University of Wisconsin - Madison
University of Wisconsin - Madison
B.A., Oberlin College


Early American History; American Indian History


Rob Harper joined the History Department in 2008. His research and teaching interests include early America, American Indian history, North American borderlands, the early modern Atlantic world, and the comparative study of settler colonialism, violence, and state formation. He co-teaches Native American Forestry with Professor Mike Demchik of the College of Natural Resources.


HIST 176 - United States to 1877
HIST 177 - United States since 1877
HIST 292 - Native American History
HIST 386 - Colonial America
HIST 387 -
Revolutionary America
HIST 392 - Native American Forestry
HIST 393 - Wisconsin Indian History
HIST 395 - Topics in U.S. History: Early American Indian History
HIST 398 - Topics in History: Wisconsin Indians: History, Treaties, Sovereignty

Works in Progress

  • Unsettling the Land: Colonialism and State Building in the Revolutionary Ohio Valley. Book manuscript in progress.
  • “The Politics of Coalition Building in the Ohio Valley, 1765–1774” to appear in Borderland Narratives: Exploring North America's Contested Spaces, 1500-1850, ed. Glenn Crothers and Andrew Frank, under contract and forthcoming with the University Press of Florida, 2016.
  • "Hair and Peace: The Strange Tale of McQuinney's Scalp," to appear in The Specter of Peace in Histories of Violence, ed. Michael Goode and John Smolenski, in progress.

Recent Publications

  • "State Intervention and Extreme Violence in the Eighteenth-Century Ohio Valley," in "Settlers, Imperialism, Genocide," a thematic issue of the Journal for Genocide Research (July 2008)
  • "Looking the Other Way: The Gnadenhutten Massacre and the Contextual Interpretation of Violence," in the William and Mary Quarterly (July 2007). Reprinted in abridged form in Theatres of Violence: Massacre, Mass Killing and Atrocity Throughout History, ed. Philip Dwyer and Lyndall Ryan (Berghahn Books, 2012)

Recent Presentations and Invited Talks

  • “Hair and Peace: The Strange Tale of McQuinney’s Scalp.” Paper presented at “The Specter of Peace in Histories of Violence,” a scholarly conference at the University of Utah, Salt Lake City, 2015,
  • "Teaching Critical Reading in the General Education Program: Historical Perspectives.” Paper presented at the UWSP Teaching Conference, “Education as Transformation,” Stevens Point, WI, 2013
  • “Government Sponsored Escalation and the Revolutionary War in the West.” Paper presented at the Filson Institute Conference, “The Long Struggle for the Ohio Valley, 1750-1815,” Louisville, KY, 2012
  • “The Usefulness of Boundaries in the Post-Revolutionary West.” Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Western History Association, Oakland, CA, 2011
  • “Settlers, States, and Violence in the Revolutionary Ohio Valley.” Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic, Philadelphia, 2011
  • “Deconstructing ‘Mingo’: The Revolutionary Histories of Ohio Valley Iroquois Communities.” Paper to be presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Society for Ethnohistory, Ottawa, 2010.
  • “State Formation from the Ground Up: Political Brokers and Coalition Building in the Revolutionary Ohio Valley.” Precirculated paper for the Center Seminar at the McNeil Center for Early American Studies, University of Pennsylvania, 2010.
  • “Strategies for Sovereignty.” Public lecture at the Spring Public Conference of the Filson Historical Society, Louisville, KY, 2010.

Recent Honors

  • National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship at the Huntington Library, San Marino, CA, 2013-14.
  • National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowshp at the Newberry Library, Chicago, IL, 2013-14 (declined).
  • Andrew W. Mellon Foundation/ACLS Recent Doctoral Recipients Fellowship at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Institute for Research in the Humanities, 2009-2010.
  • Andrew W. Mellon Foundation/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowship, 2007-2008.
  • Jacob K. Javits Fellowship, U.S. Department of Education, 2001-2004, 2005-2006.

Professional Affiliations

  • American Historical Association (AHA)
  • American Society for Ethnohistory (ASE)
  • History SoTL: An International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in History (ISSOTL)
  • Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture (OIEAHC)
  • Organization of American Historians (OAH)
  • Society for Historians of the Early American Republic (SHEAR)
  • Western History Association (WHA)

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