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Uncommon Sense

By Editor · April 26, 2024

Noel Edward Smyth

fellowships 3 min read

Welcome Noel Edward Smyth, 2023–2024 OI-NEH Postdoctoral Fellow

Noel E. Smyth is an assistant professor of History at Vassar College and is a historian of the Native American South, Afro-Indigenous Caribbean, and the Atlantic World, specializing in Indigeneity, slavery, and settler colonialism. He received his PhD in History from the University of California, Santa Cruz (2016). He has previously taught history and writing courses at UCSC, Cabrillo College, and Gavilan College. His research has been supported by the Omohundro Institute, the American Philosophical Society, the Institute for Humanities Research at UC Santa Cruz, the New Orleans Center for the Gulf South at Tulane University, the International Seminar on the History of the Atlantic World at Harvard University, the University of California Center for New Racial Studies at UC Santa Barbara, the Clements Library, and the Huntington Library.

As an OI-NEH fellow, Dr. Smyth will complete his first monograph, Surviving the Cataclysm: Reconstructing Diasporic Natchez History in the Atlantic World. The book examines the history of Natchez survivance after the violent dispersal from their ancestral homelands in 1731, when colonists in French Louisiana attacked and enslaved hundreds of Natchez families. By analyzing the traces of Natchez presence in the French Caribbean, the book theorizes how new Afro-Natchez identities formed under slavery in Saint Domingue. The monograph also locates diasporic Natchez communities across the southeast of North America and analyzes how newly created Natchez towns in the eighteenth century worked together to enable Natchez survival as a people with a common language and identity. The book concludes by analyzing Natchez oral stories and Natchez history in the 21st century to emphasize that the Natchez are still here, and they have always been here.


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