Department of History

Alaina E. Roberts

Alaina Roberts joins us in Fall 2018 as Dietrich Diversity Postdoctoral Fellow. Dr. Roberts is an ethnohistorian whose research explores the intersection of nineteenth century African American and Native American history and culture.

Her current manuscript project, A Transnational Reconstruction: The Evolution of Citizenship, Land, and Community in the West, argues that the colonization of Indian land was an important component of the post-war reconstruction of the United States, and that as white Americans increasingly encroached on western Indian land, American legislators, and indigenous peoples themselves, debated the virtues of Indian citizenship. Further, the same conversations that occurred in the United States about Black humanity, intelligence, and ability to vote, hold office, and partake in citizenship, took place within slaveholding Indian nations.

Putting these in conversation with one another reveals how these dialogues both fed off disagreements over increasing settlement in the west and the manner and degree of federal intervention in local definitions of societal membership. Through this perspective, the Reconstruction Era was a multinational reconceptualization of Black and Indian citizenship and the politics of land ownership.

Dr. Roberts is interested in uniting disparate disciplines and historical fields in discussions about migration, diaspora, and space. At Pitt, Dr. Roberts will offer courses on African American and Native American history, and the Civil War.