Rob Harper

Rob Harper

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

On leave at Huntington Library 2013-14 academic year.


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 386 - Colonial America
HIST 387 -
Revolutionary America
HIST 392 - Native American Forestry
HIST 395 - Topics in U.S. History: Early American Indian History
HIST 398 - Topics in History: Wisconsin Indians: History, Treaties, Sovereignty

Works in Progress

  • Politics Ungoverned: Coalition Building and Colonialism on a Revolutionary Frontier. Book manuscript in progress.

  • “The Politics of Coalition Building in the Ohio Valley, 1765–1774.” In Comparative Perspectives on North American Borderlands, 1500-1850, ed. Glenn Crothers and Andrew Frank, under review with Ohio University Press.

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). An abridged version of "Looking the Other Way" will appear in Theatres of Violence: The Massacre, Mass Killing and Atrocity in History, ed. Philip Dwyer and Lyndall Ryan, forthcoming from Berghahn Books.

Recent Presentations and Invited Talks

  • “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.

  • “The Powerful Weakness of the Frontier State: Manipulative Mobilization and the 1786 Clark-Logan Expeditions.” Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic, Rochester, NY, 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.
  • “From Statelessness to State Sovereignty: People and Politics on an Early American Frontier.” Institute for Research in the Humanities Fellows’ Seminar, University of Wisconsin–Madison, 2009.
  • “Questions of Historical Analysis.” Paper presented at the Symposium Honoring the Work of Jeanne Boydston, University of Wisconsin–Madison, 2009.
  • "The Politics of Raiding in Revolutionary Ohio." Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Society for Ethnohistory, Tulsa, OK, 2007.
  • "'You know the Boundary lately established': Pragmatic Militancy and Spatial Separation in Revolutionary Ohio." Paper presented at the Annual meeting of the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic, Worcester, MA, 2007.

Recent Honors

  • 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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