Department of History

Alaina E. Roberts

  • Assistant Professor


African American
Native American
African Diaspora
Nineteenth Century
United States


Native American and African Diasporic Cultural Connections
Afro-American History 1
History of the American Frontier
The Civil War
North American Indians
The Black West

Education & Training

  • PhD, Indiana University, 2017
  • BA, University of California, Santa Barbara

Representative Publications

(Forthcoming, 2020) “A Different Forty Acres: Land, Kin, and Migration in the Late Nineteenth Century West,” Journal of the Civil War Era

(January 2018) “Field Notes: A Hammer and a Mirror: Tribal Disenrollment and Scholarly Responsibility,” Western Historical Quarterly vol. 49, no. 1

(In Preparation) “Democratic Imperialism” in Democracies in America, eds. D. Berton Emerson and Gregory Laski (New York University Press)


To see a complete and up-to-date list of publications, please visit:


Research Interests

I am currently working on my first book manuscript, titled, A Transnational Reconstruction: The Evolution of Citizenship, Land, and Community in the West. In this manuscript, I argue 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.