Dr. James Carson has been appointed Chair of the Department of History for a five year term commencing July 1, 2011.
James Carson arrived at Queen’s in 1996 after completing his PhD in History at the University of Kentucky. As an ethnohistorian, Carson draws together historical, anthropological, and archaeological research to reconstruct the lives and histories of first peoples in North America. His first book, Searching for the Bright Path (1999) focused on the Choctaw Nation of Mississippi, and the majority of his early scholarship concerned first peoples of the southern United States. A shift to Atlantic World studies in the late 1990s led him to apply the ethnohistorical method to peoples of European and African origins as well, particularly in reference to the formation of colonial societies and cultures in North America. Making an Atlantic World (2007) applied the notion of “founding peoples” to the colonial history of the American South. Such work has also led him to also investigate the practice of race in modern historiography and the historical underpinnings of modern genetic research.
While at Queen’s Carson has served in various capacities at the department, faculty and university levels. He chaired the department’s first workload committee and served as Director of Graduate Studies as well. For the Faculty he chaired the Nominations Committee and Curriculum Committee and while serving on Senate, Carson chaired the Senate Committee on Academic Procedures and then joined the Campus Planning and Development Committee for which he served as Vice Chair for a number of years. In addition to such committee service, Carson served as an Associate Dean in the Faculty Office from 2004-2011 before returning to the Department of History.