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Laura Murray


I have been fortunate in my career to be able to practice curiosity-driven research — and hence, my research has been diverse. In my early career, I edited the writing of Joseph Johnson, an eighteenth-century Mohegan man for whom Christianity was guide, burden, and anticolonial tool. After that, my observations about the limited way copyright law seemed to construe and constrain cultural practice led me to work in that area for about a decade. Throughout, I’ve been fascinated by the United States before the Civil War, in whose literature and media I see both contrasts and continuities with today’s issues such as fake news, racial violence, ideologies of class and gender, information overload, and contestations over urban space. The Sir John A. Macdonald bicentennial in 2015 led me to critique the colonial lens through which the history of Kingston continues to be represented, and I began researching and teaching the Indigenous and treaty history of the area, resulting through a sort of trilogy of articles listed below. I have also researched Kingston’s working class and immigrant history through the Swamp Ward and Inner Harbour History Project which produced public-facing research outcomes such as walking tours, photography exhibits, blog posts, and podcasts. With film-maker Dorit Naaman, curator Erin Sutherland, and others, I am midway into a SSHRC-funded project titled “A Totem Pole on a Pile of Garbage: Contending with Environmental and Colonial Violence in Kingston, Ontario.” This is both a hyper-local project focusing on Kingston’s Belle Park, and an entry point for thinking about processes and relationships whose enormity may otherwise be overwhelming. It is based in Community-based and Research-creation methodologies. See

Research Interests
  • community-based and oral history
  • southern Ontario treaty and Indigenous history
  • anticolonial and Indigenous theory
  • US literature before 1865, particularly focussing on urban life, media, gender, race, Indigenous experience
  • North American history in relation to immigration, colonialism, Indigenous experience, history of the book
Selected Publications


  • To Do Good to My Indian Brethren: The Writings of Joseph Johnson, 1751-1776. University of Massachusetts Press, Native Americans of the Northeast Series, 1998.


  • “Settler and Indigenous Stories of Kingston/Ka’tarohkwi: A Casy Study in Critical Heritage Pedagogy.” Journal of Canadian Studies 52.1 (winter 2018): 249-279.
  • “Beyond Sir John: Unsettling Public Memory in Kingston, Ontario.” With Paul Carl. Journal of Critical Race Inquiry 3.1 (2016): 61-86.
  • "We Are the Ones that Make the Treaty": Michi Saagiig Lands and Islands in Southeastern Ontario. Ethnohistory 70(3), 2023. 

Online Resources

Awards and Recognition
Kingston Historical Society Award, 2018
Educational Leadership Award, Queen’s University, 2018
Graduate Supervision

I am interested in supervising students working with community-engaged and creative methodologies, colonial literatures and early Indigenous writing, anticolonial theory, US literatures before the Civil War, and literature and urban space up until the present day. I am currently the Co-Director of the Graduate Program in Cultural Studies.

Creative writing description

I have been happy to teach CWRI 271, "Writing the City," for the past three years. In this course students read published work in many genres and voices about cities past and present, near and far. They respond to these in dialogue with their own experience and imagination to reflect on the relationships between strangers and neighbours and friends, between languages and cultures and religions, between generations, between past and future, and between privilege and marginalization, between joy and despair, that characterize urban life. 

Areas of Study
Indigenous and Decolonial Studies
Print Culture and Textual Studies
Genres and Forms
Autobiography and Memoir
Creative Writing

Department of English, Queen's University

Watson Hall
49 Bader Lane
Kingston ON K7L 3N6

Telephone (613) 533-2153


Telephone (613) 533-6000 ext. 74446 extension 74446


Telephone (613) 533-6000 ext. 74447 extension 74447

Queen's University is situated on traditional Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe territory.