Tiya Miles

Tiya Miles

Professor of History
Radcliffe Alumnae Professor

On leave 2021-2022

Tiya Miles is 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 five books. These include: Ties That Bind: The Story of an Afro-Cherokee Family in Slavery and Freedom (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 (winner of the National Council on Public History and the American Society for  Ethnohistory Book Prizes); The Cherokee Rose: A Novel of Gardens and Ghosts (a Lambda Literary Award Finalist), and Tales from the Haunted South: Dark Tourism and Memories of Slavery from the Civil War Era (a published lecture series). 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 southern coastal environments. 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 (2006).

Miles has served as a volunteer consultant for the Eiteljorg Museum in Indianapolis and the Chief Vann House State Historic Site in Georgia. She is a recipient of the MacArthur Foundation Fellowship Award (2011-2016) and the Hiett Prize in the Humanities from the Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture (2007). Her research on the Detroit River region was supported by a Mellon Foundation New Directions Fellowship. Her newest book, The Dawn of Detroit: A Chronicle of Slavery and Freedom in the City of the Straits (New Press, 2017), received 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. Miles is currently at work on a new project about enslaved women’s creativity supported by an NEH Public Scholars Award.

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.




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Robinson Hall 121
35 Quincy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138

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