James Brooks

History & Anthropology
Sociocultural Anthropology


Borderlands History; Anthropology and History; Gender & Violence, the Professoriate in the 21st Century

Sociocultural Anthropology (borderlands, indigenous studies, ethnohistorical methods and theory, comparative slavery, non-profit missions, management and governance, the professoriate in the twenty-first century.


An interdisciplinary scholar of the Indigenous and Colonial past, James F. 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 and at the School for Advanced Research. In 2002 he became director of SAR Press, and between 2005 and 2013 served as president of SAR. He recently concluded ten year’s service on the Board of Directors of the Western National Parks Association, which supports research, preservation and education in 67 National Parks, including Bandelier National Monument, Chaco Culture National Historical Park, and Channel Islands National Park. A Trustee of the Santa Barbara Mission Archive/Library and the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation, he also directs the UCSB Public History program, and serves as editor of The Public Historian.
Brooks is the recipient of numerous 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 has also published the edited volumes Confounding the Color Line: the Indian-Black Experience in North America (2002), Women and Gender in the American West (2004), Small Worlds: Method, Meaning, and Narrative in Microhistory (2008), Keystone Nations: Indigenous Peoples and Salmon in the North Pacific (2012), and Linking the Histories of Slavery: North America and its Borderlands (2015). His book Mesa of Sorrows: A History of the Awat’ovi Massacre appeared from WW Norton in February 2016.