James F. Brooks

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James F. Brooks (born 1955) is an American historian whose work on slavery, captivity and kinship in the Southwest Borderlands was honored with major national history awards: the Bancroft Prize, Francis Parkman Prize, the Frederick Jackson Turner Award and the Frederick Douglass Prize (second prize). He is Professor of History and Anthropology at the University of California, Santa Barbara and editor of the journal The Public Historian[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Brooks graduated from University of California Davis, with a Ph.D. in history. Before pursuing his career in the academy, Brooks worked for a decade in the publishing and advertising industry in Colorado.[2]


An interdisciplinary scholar of the indigenous and colonial past, Brooks has held professorial appointments at the University of Maryland, UC Santa Barbara, and UC Berkeley, as well as fellowships at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton.

Brooks was a Resident Scholar at the School for Advanced Research in Santa Fe, New Mexico from 2000–2001, and later joined the staff as Editor of SAR Press. In August 2005, Brooks became President and CEO of the School.[3]

The recipient of more than a dozen national awards for scholarly excellence, his 2002 book Captives & Cousins: Slavery, Kinship and Community in the Southwest Borderlands focused on the traffic in women and children across the region as expressions of intercultural violence and accommodation. He extends these questions most recently through an essay on the eighteenth and nineteenth century Pampas borderlands of Argentina in his co-edited advanced seminar volume, Small Worlds: Method, Meaning, and Narrative in Microhistory from SAR Press.

David Brion Davis commented when making the Frederick Douglass Prize second prize for Captives and Cousins: Slavery, Kinship, and Community in the Southwest Borderlands:

"Until James F. Brooks, virtually all historians of American slavery have ignored the Spanish Southwest — the region acquired by the U.S. in 1848, as a result of the Mexican War. Brooks portrays and analyzes forms of slavery and captivity among the Indians and Spanish that differed markedly from the Anglo-American bondage to the east."[4]


  • Captives and Cousins: Slavery, Kinship, and Community in the Southwest Borderlands. The University of North Carolina Press. December 4, 2001. ISBN 978-0-8078-5382-5. 
  • James F. Brooks, ed. (2002). Confounding the Color Line: The (American) Indian - Black Experience in North America. University of Nebraska Press. ISBN 978-0-8032-6194-5. 
  • Mesa of Sorrows: Archaeology, Prophecy, and the Ghosts of Awat'ovi Pueblo (2007).


The following awards were all for Captives and Cousins (2002)


  1. ^ http://tph.ucpress.edu/content/38/2/7.
  2. ^ "James F. Brooks", History, UC Davis
  3. ^ http://www.oah.org/activities/lectureship/2009/lecturer.php?id=67 Organization of American History, accessed 30 Mar 2010
  4. ^ "Frederick Douglass Prize", Gilda Lehrman Center, Yale University, 2003, accessed 30 Mar 2010
  5. ^ "Frederick Douglass Prize", Gilda Lehrman Center, Yale University, 2003, accessed 30 Mar 2010

External links[edit]