Professor Joy Porter

Professor Joy Porter

Professor of Indigenous and Environmental History

Faculty and Department

  • Faculty of Arts Cultures and Education
  • Department of History


  • MA (University of Nottingham)
  • PhD (University of Nottingham)


Professor Porter is an interdisciplinary researcher and teacher of indigenous history in relation to the environment, war, modernity, literature and cultures. From September 2019-September 2022 she is a Leverhulme Major Research Fellow working on a new book on the environmental record of President Nixon and the Republican Party. From 2021 she is PI of the 3-year AHRC Standard Research Grant, "Brightening the Covenant Chain: Revealing Cultures of Diplomacy between the Crown and the Iroquois Confederacy" (931.032k)".

She is Co-Principal Investigator of the University Cluster Treatied Spaces: Environment & Peoples in America, 1607-1890 and PI Host for British Academy Global Professor Gregory Smithers, 2020-2024, working on "Native Ecologies: Traditional Ecological Knowledge and Climate Change".

She is a UK REF 2021 Panel Member (History) and REF sub-panel Interdisciplinary Advisor. She also serves on the AHRC Strategic Review College, 2016-2020, reviews and interviews for the Fulbright Commission, and reviews for the Leverhulme Trust, NERC, Finnish Research Council and Higher Education Academy. She is External Examiner for BA History, University of Bristol.

Her book Trauma, Primitivism and the First World War: The Making of Frank Prewett appears 7 May, 2021 (Bloomsbury Press), to be followed by Canada's Green Challenge (McGill University Press, 2021). Previous books include Native American Environmentalism (University of Nebraska Press, 2014, pbk 2018), Native American Indian Freemasonry: Associationalism & Performance in America, (University of Nebraska Press, 2011, pbk 2019) and To Be Indian: The Life of Seneca-Iroquois Arthur Caswell Parker, University of Oklahoma Press, 2001).

Alongside Dina Gilio-Whitaker (Colville Confederated Tribes) of California State University and Dr Clint Carroll (Cherokee) of the University of Colorado, from 2021 Professor Porter is Lead Editor of the Cambridge University Press book series, Elements in Indigenous Environmental Research.

Her work has benefited from awards from the Fulbright Commission, British Academy, AHRC, Canadian Government and Leverhulme Trust. Recent keynotes include the 2020, Mayflower Lecture “A Place of “Wild and Savage Hue”: The Political Ecological Legacies of the Mayflower Sailing", University of Plymouth; 2019 Swiss Association for North American Studies Keynote, "Decolonising Water"; 2019 Eccles British Association of Canadian Studies BACS Keynote "Who Fights for Canada as the Climate Changes?"; and 2019 Alymer Lecture, University of York.

She is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and in 2018 was awarded an AdvanceHE National Teaching Fellowship. She supervises a range of doctoral candidates working on: Indigenous Environmental History, Culture & Literature; Modernity & war; US & Canadian Environmental Studies; Digital Humanities, Indigenous Data Curation.

Professor Porter is a regular contributor to a range of media that includes BBC News, BBC Radio, the TLS, History Today and The Conversation. For more, please see


Professor Porter's Teaching Awards include:

2018 National Teaching Fellow

2018 'Best Module' Student-Led Teaching Nomination

2017 'Best Module' Student-Led Teaching Award for 'Into the Wild: American Environmentalism in Context

2014 Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Professor Porter has an established record as a mentor for ECRs as an Ambassador (Interviewer and Reviewer) for the Fulbright US/UK Commission, and within the British Association for American Studies.

She is on research leave from Sept. 2019-Sept. 2022.

Recent outputs

View more outputs


Trauma, Primitivism and the First World War: The Making of Frank Prewett

Porter, J. (in press). Trauma, Primitivism and the First World War: The Making of Frank Prewett. London: Bloomsbury Press

Who Fights for Canada as the Climate Changes?

Porter, J. (2020). Who Fights for Canada as the Climate Changes?. London: British Library

Book Chapter

Native American Indian freemasonry

Porter, J. (2020). Native American Indian freemasonry. In F. Jacob, & H. Reinalter (Eds.), Masonic lodges and their impact in North and South America (71-89). Wu¨rzburg: Ko¨nigshausen & Neumann

Treatied spaces: North American indigenous treaties in global context

Porter, J. (in press). Treatied spaces: North American indigenous treaties in global context. In Companion to Indigenous Global History. Taylor & Francis (Routledge)


Native America: A New Narrative

Porter, J. (2019). Native America: A New Narrative

Research interests

Indigenous Environmental History, Culture & Literature; the American Presidency & the Environment; Modernity & War; US & Canadian Environmental Studies; Digital Humanities, Indigenous Data Curation.







What Would Nixon Do?:The Forgotten Republican Roots of American Environmentalism’


The Leverhulme Trust




1 September 2019




British Academy Visiting Fellowships - Professor Dale Turner


British Academy




1 August 2018



Postgraduate supervision

Joy Porter welcomes enquiries on all aspects of Indigenous Environmental History, Culture & Literature; the American Presidency & the Environment; Modernity & War; US & Canadian Environmental Studies; Digital Humanities, Indigenous Data Curation.

Recently completed PhD supervisions:

22.1.2021, Heather Hatton, 'The Languages and Spaces of Diplomacy in Early America, 1701 - 1774'. Examiner: Prof. Tim Shannon, Gettsburg College,

2019, Edward Mair, Native American Slaveholding and Biracial Alliance Amongst Native American Indian and African Americans 1500-Present. Supervisors: Professor Joy Porter, Professor John Oldfield.

2017, Susannah Hopson, The Process of Memory: A Comparative Study of Native American Massacre Sites, 1863-1864. Examiner, Dr Laura Peers, Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford University.

Juli Schlag, Trees in Indigenous America in Historical and Biological Context. Supervisors: Professor Joy Porter, Professor Roland Ennos.

Current Supervisions:

Rebecca Slatcher, AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award, ‘North American Indigenous Languages in the British Library’s Post-1850 Collections'. Supervisors: Professor Joy Porter & Dr Fran Fuentes, North American Collections; Dr Nora McGregor, Digital Curation, British Library.

Awards and prizes

PI-AHRC Research Grant, Brightening the Covenant Chain: Revealing Cultures of Diplomacy Between the Crown and the Iroquois Confederacy (£931K)

2021 - 2024

Treatied Spaces has been awarded a Standard Research Grant valued at £931,042 by the Arts and Humanities Research Council of the United Kingdom for the project ‘Brightening the Covenant Chain: Revealing Cultures of Diplomacy Between the Crown and the Iroquois Confederacy’. This interdisciplinary project investigates the deep but unexplored connections embodied in these names, between the British Crown and the indigenous peoples of Canada and Northeastern America – one of the oldest diplomatic relationships in the world. It shaped the North America we know today and continues to be ‘brightened’ and renewed by the Royal family because of its vital role in addressing global challenges linked to the legal, environmental and territorial resurgence of indigenous rights.

PI Host British Academy Global Professor

2019 - 2024

Exploring the inter-relationship between digital media and democracy, examining the literature of addiction, and investigating how threats to our well-being posed by climate change can be addressed through indigenous knowledge; are some of the research projects led by the second cohort of award-holders under the British Academy’s Global Professorships programme. Supported by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the UK Government’s National Productivity Investment Fund, the Global Professorships programme began in 2018, with a first cohort of award-holders appointed in early 2019. It provides mid-career to senior scholars, active in any discipline within the social sciences and the humanities and based in any country overseas, the opportunity to relocate to the UK for four years and pursue their individual research goals while contributing to UK higher education. The programme seeks to demonstrate and enhance the UK’s commitment to international research partnerships and collaboration as well as strengthen the UK’s research capacity and capability in the humanities and the social sciences. The ten scholars awarded Global Professorships under the second round of the programme come from South Asia, North America and the EU. Half of the successful applicants are active in disciplines within the humanities, with the other half pursuing research projects in the social sciences. The full list of award-holders: Law, Virtue and Political Community – Dr Maria Amalia Amaya Navarro, University of Edinburgh Romantic Melodrama: Feeling in Search of Form – Professor Michael Gamer, Queen Mary University of London Distributional Macroeconomics: Better Understanding the Two-Way Interaction of Inequality and the Macroeconomy – Professor Benjamin Moll, London School of Economics and Political Science The Literature of Addiction – Professor Robert Morrison, Bath Spa University Human Stress, Resilience and Adaptation in Ancient Northern Ireland and Scotland – Professor Marc Oxenham, University of Aberdeen Digital Media, Participation and Political Culture – Dr Aswin Punathambekar, Loughborough University Radical Activism and British Publishing for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Children – Professor Karen Sands O’Connor, Newcastle University Sexual Relations as International Relations – Dr Laura Sjoberg, Royal Holloway, University of London Indigenous Environmental History and Applied Traditional Ecological Knowledge – Professor Gregory Smithers, University of Hull Imagined Futures: Technology, Urban Planning and Their Subjects at the Margins of an Indian Megapolis – Professor Sanjay Srivastava, University College London. Professor Ash Amin, British Academy Foreign Secretary, said: ‘We are delighted to welcome this new cohort of British Academy Global Professors, who will be joining a wide range of higher education institutions across the UK and working on a fascinating set of projects. Our ambition is to support outstanding internationally-recognised scholars from around the world, enabling them to develop lasting networks and collaborations in the UK while drawing on their knowledge and expertise to drive excellence in UK research and higher education

AHRC/British Library CDP, “Indigenous Languages, Metadata & Decolonisation of the British Museum”, co-supervisor with Dr F. Fuentes, BL North American Curator (75k)

2019 - 2024

The British Library and the University of Hull are pleased to invite applications for a Collaborative Doctoral Partnership PhD Studentship, starting from 1 October 2019. This doctoral award is funded through the Arts and Humanities Research Council under its Collaborative Doctoral Programme. The research will be jointly supervised by Professor Joy Porter at the University of Hull, and Dr Fran Fuentes, Curator for North American Printed Collections at the British Library. The student will receive further support at the British Library from Nora McGregor, Digital Curator of the Digital Scholarship department, and from a secondary team at the forefront of indigenous language studies that includes, Professor Dale Turner (Anishinaabe), Department of Native Studies, Dartmouth College; Mishiikenh; Vernon Altiman, (Anishinaabe) Lecturer, Department of Languages, Literatures & Cultures, Queen’s University, Ontario; Professor Marianne Mithun, President of the Association of American Linguistics, University of California, Santa Barbara.

Leverhulme Major Research Fellow

2019 - 2022

Professor Joy Porter Awarded Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship (GBP 155,473; MRF-2018-041) Joy Porter, a Professor of Indigenous History, has been awarded a Major Research Fellowship by the Leverhulme Trust. She will explore the Nixon presidency and its remarkable environmental advances using Native American Indian Federal history as a lens. The Leverhulme Trust makes these awards to ‘enable well-established and distinguished researchers in the disciplines of the Humanities and Social Sciences to devote themselves to a single research project of outstanding originality and significance’. The Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship is widely considered the most prestigious personal research award given in the UK. The Fellowship will be for 36 months, commencing in September 2019. This ambitious project, entitled ‘ What Would Nixon Do?: The Forgotten Republican Roots of American Environmentalism’ will engage with conservative and Republican traditions at a critical moment in environmental history when conventional warnings are routinely dismissed by conservative voters as ‘fake news’. Commenting on this award, Professor Porter said: ‘Leverhulme Major Research Fellowships are an vitally important springboard for researchers in the humanities and social sciences that allow them to complete a substantial original piece of research with the potential to change how major issues are understood internationally. I am incredibly grateful to Leverhulme for this opportunity to produce an interdisciplinary book that it is hoped will influence a spectrum of interests currently conducting separate conversations.’ During the three years of the Fellowship, Professor Porter work with indigenous groups and travel to Alaska, California, New Mexico and Oklahoma. Professor Porter joins a notable cohort of scholars in the Department of History receiving Leverhulme awards in the last few years (Dr Amanda Capern (F, 2018), Dr C. Prior (F, 2017), Professor D. Crouch, MRF, 2015). The Leverhulme Trust was established by the Will of William Hesketh Lever, the founder of Lever Brothers. For more information, please visit and follow the Trust on Twitter @LeverhulmeTrust For more about Professor Porter’s research and the work of the Treatied Spaces Research Cluster here:

PI Host, British Academy Visiting Fellowship, Professor Dale Turner, Department of Native Studies, Dartmouth, (25,554k)

2018 - 2019

We are pleased to welcome Professor Dale Turner of the Program in Native American Studies at Dartmouth College as a British Academy Visiting Fellow from August 2018. Recently, he visited the campus to speak on ‘What is Indigenous Spirituality?: Anishinaabe American Indian Political Thought in the 21st Century’. Responding to the limits of liberal theory to accommodate First Nations claims to sovereignty, he called for the development of a ‘third language’ of law as a solution to the limits of inherent and delegated forms of indigenous rights claims, which are ultimately adjudicated within the courts of the sovereign Canadian state. While at Hull, he also met with graduate students for an informal discussion of the links between historic and modern notions of treaty rights.

Committee/Steering group role

AHRC Strategic Panel Member

2017 - 2020

External examiner role

External Examiner

2021 - 2024

Joy Porter is External Examiner for BA History, University of Bristol.

National/International learned society/body role

NERC Reviewer


Finnish Research Academy Reviewer


RCUK Newton Fund Reviewer


Fulbright Ambassador & Reviewer (History)


Ambassador for the Fulbright US/UK Commission

Research assessment service

REF 2021 Panel member (UOA28) & Interdisciplinary Advisor

2018 - 2021

U.K. Research Excellence Framework History Sub-Panel Member & Interdisciplinary Sub-Panel Member.