Sarah Whitt

Sarah Whitt, UCI global and international studies assistant professor, has been awarded a Summer Stipend Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Funding will support her second book project, Prisoners of War: An Indigenous History of Captivity, Memory, and Freedom, 1880-2023, which examines diverse experiences, stories, and landscapes of Indigenous captivity in the United States from the standpoint of the Indigenous peoples who endured them.

“This research utilizes an Indigenous paradigm of historiography to show how the confinement of ‘hostiles’ at Alcatraz, tall tales of escaped Indigenous convicts, and memories of Navajo enslavement in Colorado bear relation to one another as material, cultural, and spiritual histories of Indigenous captivity—rather than as straightforward examples of Indigenous subordination to U.S. authority,” says Whitt who is a tribal citizen of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. “Prisoners of War positions the experiences that led to the incarceration of Indigenous people as complex acts of agency and autonomy in an age that sought Indigenous disappearance and disenfranchisement.”

Whitt earned her master’s and Ph.D. at UC Berkeley. She joined the UCI faculty in fall 2021 following a UC President's Postdoctoral Fellowship at UC Riverside. Her first book, Bad Medicine (forthcoming with Duke University Press, 2025) was supported by the American Council of Learned Societies.

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