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Dan Cobb

Contact Information

Greenlaw Hall 215, CB #3520
University of North Carolina
Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599-3520


Ph.D. History, University of Oklahoma, 2003.
M.A. History, University of Wyoming, 1998.
B.A. History, Sociology minor, Messiah College, cum laude, 1996.

Research Interests and Honors

I joined the Department of American Studies in the fall of 2010, after serving as a faculty member in the History Department at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio and as Assistant Director of the D’Arcy McNickle Center for American Indian and Indigenous Studies at the Newberry Library in Chicago. From 2017 to 2018, I served as the Fulbright Bicentennial Chair in American Studies at the University of Helsinki in Helsinki, Finland. My research and teaching focus on American Indian history since 1887, political activism, ethnohistorical methods, ethno-biography, memory, and global indigenous rights.

My first book, Native Activism in Cold War America: The Struggle for Sovereignty (2008), won the inaugural Labriola Center American Indian National Book Award in 2009. I am the co-editor, with anthropologist Loretta Fowler, of Beyond Red Power: American Indian Politics and Activism since 1900 (2007) and, with Helen Sheumaker, Memory Matters (2011). In 2013, the University of Chicago Press published my revised and expanded fourth edition of William T. Hagan’s classic work American Indians  and in November of 2015, the University of North Carolina Press released Say We Are Nations: Documents of Politics and Protest in Indigenous America since 1887. My essays have appeared in American Indian Culture and Research Journal, American Indian Quarterly, Chronicle of Higher Education, Comparative American Studies, Ethnohistory, and Western Historical Quarterly.

I have been fortunate in receiving research support via fellowships and grants from the American Philosophical Society, Organization of American Historians, Friends of the Princeton University Library, Morris K. Udall Archives, the Newberry Library, the Carl Albert Center for Congressional Research and Studies, the Humanities Center at Miami University, and the Institute for the Arts and Humanities, University Research Council, and William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust at the University of North Carolina.

My current research and writing projects continue to explore American Indian political activism broadly conceived and have begun to move into the realm of ethnobiography. I am in the process now of completing a monograph that focuses on the life of Ponca activist Clyde Warrior, a central figure in the American Indian youth movement of the 1960s, and an innovative biography of Flathead writer and intellectual D’Arcy McNickle.

In addition to publishing, I enjoy working on projects that engage the public. In 2005, I served as program director for a series of public events at Miami University devoted to Indian politics and culture. In 2007, I was honored to have Della Warrior (Otoe-Missouria) invite me to create and install an exhibit on the life and legacy of her late husband for the Ponca Tribe of Oklahoma’s Clyde Warrior Memorial Building.  In 2010, I co-organized a public symposium entitled “Memory Matters” as one of the two inaugural John W. Altman Fellows at Miami University’s Humanities Center. And in 2016, I completed a 24-lecture Great Courses on American Indian history in partnership with The Teaching Company and the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian. You can access text versions of two lectures here:

Native American History: Changing the Narrative

Modern Day Native Americans: A Story of Survival and Sovereignty

Over the past few years, I have also been involved in Teaching American History and other professional development programs for public school teachers sponsored by the National Council for History Education, National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, Ohio Historical Society, and Ohio Humanities Council.

Teaching Interests and Honors

I am passionate about teaching and always on the lookout for new ways to integrate the ideals of engaged scholarship, the student as scholar, and the fusion of teaching and research.

At my former university, I developed undergraduate courses on the United States since 1877; Native America before 1840; Native America since 1840; the United States since 1933; History, Memory, and Tradition; American Indian History through Film; a Junior Honors Colloquium; and senior seminars on Flathead author/activist D’Arcy McNickle and twentieth-century American Indian political activism. At the graduate level, I taught courses on historical methods, contemporary Native America, and ethnohistory.

Since joining the faculty at UNC, the list has grown to include an introduction to American Indian history; Approaches to American Indian Studies; Native America: The West; Twentieth-Century Native America; The Long 1960s in Native America; and Beyond Red Power: American Indian Activism since 1900.

I have served as the coordinator of the American Indian and Indigenous Studies major concentration and minor from 2010-2013, 2014-2015, spring 2016 to the present.

At Miami University, undergraduates nominated me for the Associated Student Government’s Outstanding Professor of the Year Award in four consecutive years (2007-2010), and I was a nominee for the E. Phillips Knox Teaching Award from the Center for the Enhancement of Learning and Teaching in 2008 and 2009. In 2012, I was honored to receive the Tanner Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching at the University of North Carolina.

Courses Taught

AMST 060: American Indian History, Law, and Literature
AMST/HIST 110: Introduction to the Cultures and Histories of Native North America
AMST 203: Approaches to American Indian Studies
AMST/HIST 233: Native America: The West
AMST/HIST 235: Twentieth-Century American Indian History
AMST 337: Beyond Red Power: American Indian Activism since 1900
AMST 339: The Long 1960s in Native America
AMST 341: Digital Native America
AMST 701: Interdisciplinary Research Method
AMST/HIST 878: Readings in Native American History