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Department of History
Tufts University
East Hall, room 108
Medford, MA 02155

Email Prof. Rice

James Rice
Chair, Walter S. Dickson Professor of English and American History
Early America, Native American, and Environmental History


A sixth-generation Californian, I traveled "back East" for a B.A. in History at the Colorado College, then went on to earn a Ph.D in early American History at the University of Maryland. Before coming to Tufts I taught at a variety of institutions, including SUNY Plattsburgh, Washington College, and Tübingen University.

One of the great things about being a professor at Tufts is the potential for integrating scholarship and teaching. In both endeavors I aim to break down the barriers between what are often treated as separate subjects: between American history and Native American history, between colonial American and "prehistory," between the national histories of what are today the United States, Mexico, and Canada, and above all between History and neighboring disciplines. I'm currently developing a new course on global environmental history while writing a big-picture book about Native American environmental history from Oaxaca to the Arctic and from the first human habitation of North America to the present, while also penning a reappraisal of England's first permanent American colony (entitled Founding Massacres: Violence, Ambition, and the Birth of Virginia) that pairs well with my courses on early American, Atlantic World, and Native American topics.


  • Ph.D University of Maryland, 1994
  • M.A. University of Maryland, 1989
  • B.A. Colorado College, 1985

Recent Publications

  • "Rethinking 'The American Paradox': Bacon's Rebellion, Indians, and the U.S. History Survey." In Susan Sleeper Smith, Nancy Shoemaker, Jean O'Brien, Juliana Barr, and Scott Stevens, eds., Why You Can't Teach United States History Without American Indians (University of North Carolina Press, 2015).
  • "Bacon's Rebellion in Indian Country." Journal of American History (2014).
    • Winner of the Binkley-Stephenson Award for the year's best article in the JAH.
  • "Beyond the 'Ecological Indian' and the 'Columbian Exchange': Contemporary Writing on Native Americans and the Environment." History Compass (2014)
  • Tales from a Revolution: Bacon's Rebellion and the Transformation of Early America (Oxford University Press, 2012; Audio and College Paperback editions, 2013).
  • "Into the Gap: Ethnohistorians, Environmental History, and the Native South." Native South (2011).
  • Nature and History in the Potomac Country: From Hunter-Gatherers to the Age of Jefferson (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2009; new paperback edition in 2016).

Recent Grants and Awards

  • IQS/ETRC Scholar-in-Residence, Bishop's University, Sherbrooke, Québec, 2016
  • OAH Binkley-Stephenson Award for the year's best article in the Journal of American History, 2015
  • Patrick Henry Writer-in-Residence, C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience, Washington College, 2014-2015
  • Carson Fellow, Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Munich, 2012