Paul T. Kelton

Associate Professor and Chair, History
Primary office:
864-9450
Wescoe Hall
Room 3636


Professor Kelton (Ph.D. University of Oklahoma, 1998) examines the choices and actions of Indigenous Peoples and how they have shaped the fates of empires during the era of colonization. His reexamination of British relations with their Native allies has led to an important article, “The British and Indian War,” and has spurred research on a book project titled, “Empires of Blood: Indigenous Peoples and the Fight for North America, 1754-1783.” This will assess how Natives influenced the origins, courses, and outcomes of the Seven Years War and the American Revolution. He continues his in-depth research on Indigenous experiences with European-introduced diseases and has made important revisions to scholarship on the biological processes involved in the European takeover of the Americas. He is the author of “Avoiding the Smallpox Spirits: Colonial Epidemics and Southeastern Indian Survival,” Ethnohistory 51 (Winter 2004): 45-71; Epidemics and EnslavementCherokee Medicine, Colonial Germs; and Beyond Germs: the Impact of Colonialism on Indigenous Health, edited with Catherine Cameron and Alan Swedlund (University of Arizona Press, forthcoming). These books and articles demonstrate how epidemics occurred within a larger context involving the Native slave trade, imperial warfare, Indigenous medical culture, and forced relocations.       

Recent Publications:

  • Cherokee Medicine, Colonial Germs: An Indigenous Nation’s Fight against Smallpox, 1518-1824 (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2015)
  • “The British and Indian War: Cherokee Power and the Fate of Empire in North America” William and Mary Quarterly 69 (October 2012): 763-792
  • Epidemics and Enslavement: Biological Catastrophe in the Native Southeast (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2007)

Teaching Profile:

Professor Kelton believes that teaching and research are necessarily connected activities. The former hones one's skills to make research accessible to the public while the latter allows one to bring the newest and most important interpretations into the classroom. He enjoys teaching students at all levels and offers courses across a spectrum that ranges from freshmen-level surveys to graduate seminars. He has mentored six students to successful completion of their PhDs and welcomes prospective students to apply to work with him. He teaches and advises students in the Indigenous Studies Program and holds a position on that unit’s Executive Board.

Recent Courses:

  • HIST 128: History of the United States Through the Civil War
  • HIST 353: Indigenous Peoples of North America
  • HIST 696: Senior Research Seminar
  • HIST 801: Graduate Colloquium in North American Indigenous History
  •  

Education

Ph.D. University of Oklahoma, 1998


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Dine (Navajo) Ethnobotany Presented by Visiting Native Scholar Arnold Clifford, Ethnobotanist
Thursday, April 27 | 2:30 p.m.
Wescoe 1007, KU campus
Sponsored by Haskell Indian Nations University K-INBRE Visiting Scholar Program, KU Indigenous Studies and Environmental Studies programs, and Climate Change and Indigenous Communities EPSCoR Project

Understanding Free Speech on a University Campus
Tuesday, April 25 | 7 p.m.
The Commons, Spooner Hall
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Indigeneity and Contemporary Art Featuring HOCK E AYE VI Edgar Heap of Birds and Shanna Ketchum-Heap of Birds
Wednesday, April 26 | 3:30 p.m.-5 p.m.
Brosseau Center for Learning, Spencer Museum of Art
Visiting artist Edgar Heap of Birds and scholar Shanna Ketchum-Heap of Birds deliver two lectures on contemporary Native art. Edgar, named a Distinguished KU Alumnus in 2014, discusses native public art and studio practices, and Shanna, instructor at the University of Oklahoma, focuses on the landscapes of Kent Monkman.
Sponsored by the Hall Distinguished Professor in American Culture endowment, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Department of American Studies, Indigenous Studies Program, and Spencer Museum of Art

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Johnson County Community College Gymnasium
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http://aihrea.org/#/aihrea-one.html

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May 19-20 | Times TBD

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