Tiya Miles

Tiya Miles

Michael Garvey Professor of History
Radcliffe Alumnae Professor
Director of the Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History

Office Hours: Thursday 3:00pm-4:30pm and by appointment.

Tiya Miles is the Michael Garvey Professor of History and Radcliffe Alumnae Professor at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. She is a public historian, academic historian, and creative writer whose work explores the intersections of African American, Native American and women’s histories. Her temporal and geographical zones of greatest interest include the nineteenth-century U.S. South, Midwest, and West. Miles offers courses on African American women, Native American women, abolitionist women, and “Black Indian” histories and identities. She has become increasingly engaged in environmental humanities questions and ways of articulating and enlivening African American environmental consciousness.

 Miles is the author of six books. Her latest, All That She Carried: The Journey of Ashley’s Sack, a Black Family Keepsake, won the 2021 National Book Award for Nonfiction, the Darlene Clark Hine Award for African American women’s and gender history and the Lawrence W. Levine Award for cultural history from the Organization of American Historians, the PEN John Kenneth Galbraith Award for Nonfiction, and the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for Nonfiction, and was a finalist for the Kirkus Prize. All That She Carried was selected as One of the Ten Best Books of the Year by The Washington Post, Slate, Vulture, and Publishers Weekly and as One of the Best Books of The Year by the New York Times, NPR, Time, The Boston Globe, The Atlantic, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Smithsonian Magazine, Book Riot, Library Journal, Kirkus Reviews, and Booklist. Miles’s previous books include: The Dawn of Detroit: A Chronicle of Bondage and Freedom in the City of the Straits (2017; winner of the Merle Curti Award in Social History and James A. Rawley Prize in the History of Race Relations from the Organization of American Historians, the James Bradford Best Biography Prize from the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic, the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award in Nonfiction, an American Book Award, and a Frederick Douglass Prize); Ties That Bind: The Story of an Afro-Cherokee Family in Slavery and Freedom (2005/2015; winner of the Frederick Jackson Turner Award from the Organization of American Historians and the Lora Romero Prize from the American Studies Association), The House on Diamond Hill: A Cherokee Plantation Story (2010; winner of the National Council on Public History and the American Society for Ethnohistory Book Prizes); Tales from the Haunted South: Dark Tourism and Memories of Slavery from the Civil War Era (2015; a published lecture series), and a work of historical fiction, The Cherokee Rose: A Novel of Gardens and Ghosts (2015; a Lambda Literary Award Finalist). Her prize-winning scholarly articles and essays explore nineteenth-century women’s struggles against injustice, conjoined Black and Native histories & literatures, public histories of plantations, and environmental histories and challenges. With the literary critic Sharon P. Holland, Miles co-edited a collection of essays on Afro-Native lives titled Crossing Waters, Crossing Worlds: The African Diaspora in Indian Country (2007).

Miles has served as a consultant for the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the Eiteljorg Museum in Indianapolis, and the Chief Vann House State Historic Site in Georgia. She is a recipient of a MacArthur Foundation “Genius Award” Fellowship (2011-2016) and a Hiett Prize in the Humanities from the Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture (2007). Her work has also been supported by the Mellon Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities. She is currently working on biographies of Harriet Tubman, Harriet Jacobs, and Harriet Beecher Stowe, as well as on an environmental history of American girlhood.

Miles was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. She holds an AB in Afro-American Studies from Harvard University, an MA in Women’s Studies from Emory University, and a PhD in American Studies from the University of Minnesota. She taught on the faculty of the University of Michigan for sixteen years, where she served as Chair of the Department of Afroamerican & African Studies, Director of the Native American Studies Program, and founding director of ECO Girls (Environmental & Cultural Opportunities for Girls in Urban Southeast Michigan).

Please visit Tiya Miles’s websites for more information on her public history projects.




Contact Information

Robinson Hall 121
35 Quincy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138

If you would like to reach Tiya Miles regarding journal article reviews, manuscript reviews, book blurbs, documentary film blurbs, book reviews, historic site consultations, personal/family research questions, or external programmatic reviews, you may use the following email account: tmilesasst@fas.harvard.edu.

If you would like to reach Tiya Miles for a speaking engagement outside of Harvard University, please contact Rolisa Tutwyler at CCMNT Speakers: rtutwyler@ccmntspeakers.com.

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