Daniel H. Usner, Jr.
Holland N. McTyeire Professor of History
Daniel Usner is the author of Indians, Settlers, and Slaves in a Frontier Exchange Economy: The Lower Mississippi Valley before 1783 (University of North Carolina Press, 1992), which won the Jamestown Prize from the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture and the John H. Dunning Prize from the American Historical Association. His other books are American Indians in the Lower Mississippi Valley: Social and Economic Histories (University of Nebraska Press, 1998), Indian Work: Language and Livelihood in Native American History (Harvard University Press, 2009), Weaving Alliances with Other Women: Chitimacha Indian Work in the New South (University of Georgia Press, 2015); American Indians in Early New Orleans: From Calumet to Raquette (Louisiana State University Press, 2018), and Native American Women and the Burdens of Southern History (Louisiana State University Press, in press).
Usner has devoted much of his scholarship to imperial borderlands and Native homelands in early American history, focusing on intercultural exchange in colonial Louisiana and the Lower Mississippi Valley. His most recent work attends to the complicated relationship between the consumption of Indigenous culture and the production of Indigenous identity, attempting to rescue the intricacy of economic adaptations from ideological mis-representations of Native American livelihood. With a focus on the American South from the Civil War to the New Deal, he explores how Native American women have mobilized arts and crafts on behalf of their people’s sovereignty and territory. This work spans a wide range of fields—particularly Native American history, women’s history, art history, material culture, and history of social science.
Daniel Usner has received fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies, the Cornell University Society for the Humanities, the Bard Graduate Center for Decorative Arts, Design History, and Material Culture, the Council for International Exchange of Scholars, the Huntington Library, the Newberry Library, the School for Advanced Research in Santa Fe, Vanderbilt University’s Robert Penn Warren Center, and Vanderbilt University’s Office of the Vice Provost for Research.
Usner has served on the councils/executive boards of the American Society for Ethnohistory, the Louisiana Historical Association, the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture, and the Southern Historical Association. In 2022 he delivered the Walter Lynwood Fleming Lectures in Southern History at Louisiana State University and was elected to serve as president of the Louisiana Historical Association for 2023-24.
Daniel Usner teaches graduate and undergraduate courses on American Indians since 1500, comparative imperial borderlands, the U.S. early republic, American Indian environmental history, and the history and culture of New Orleans.