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Faculty

Benjamin Madley


Associate Professor


Contact Information

Email    madley@ucla.edu
Office  5371 Bunche Hall
Phone  310-825-1278

Benjamin Madley is an historian of Native America, the United States, and colonialism in world history. Born in Redding, California, he spent much of his childhood in Karuk Country near the Oregon border where he became interested in relations between colonizers and Indigenous people. Educated at Yale and Oxford, he writes about Native Americans as well as colonialism in Africa, Australia, and Europe, often applying a transnational and comparative approach.

Madley has authored or co-authored twenty journal articles and book chapters. His articles have appeared in journals ranging from The American Historical Review, California History, European History Quarterly, and the Journal of British Studies to the Journal of Genocide Research, Pacific Historical Review, and The Western Historical Quarterly.

Yale University Press published his first book, An American Genocide: The United States and the California Indian Catastrophe, 1846-1873This book received the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for History, the Raphael Lemkin Book Award from the Institute for the Study of Genocide,  the Charles Redd Center/Phi Alpha Theta Award for the Best Book on the American West, the California Book Awards Gold Medal for Californiana, the Heyday Books History Award, and the Norman Neuerburg Award from the Historical Society of Southern CaliforniaIt was also named a New York Times Book Review Editor's Choice, an Indian Country Today Hot List book, a Choice magazine Outstanding Academic Title, and a Caroline Bancroft History Prize Honor Book. True West Magazine named Madley the Best New Western Author of 2016. In 2018, he received the California Commendation Medal from the Military Department of the State of California. According to former California Governor Jerry Brown, "Madley corrects the record with his gripping story of what really happened: the actual genocide of a vibrant civilization, thousands of years in the making."

Madley is co-editing The Cambridge World History of Genocide, Volume 2: Genocide in the Indigenous, Early Modern, and Imperial Worlds, 1535-1914 (forthcoming, 2023), with historians Ned Blackhawk, Ben Kiernan, and Rebe Taylor. His current research explores Native American migration and labor in the making of the United States.

Degrees

• Ph.D., History, Yale University, 2009

• M.Phil., History, Yale University, 2005

• M.A., History, Yale University, 2005

• M.St., History, Oxford University, 1995

• B.A., History, Yale University, 1994, summa cum laude

Awards

• Robert W. Cherny Award from the Pacific Coast Branch of the American Historical Association for the best article in U.S. labor and political history in the Pacific Historical Review and/or by any PCB-AHA member, 2020

• Charles Redd Center / Phi Alpha Theta Award (biennial) for the Best Book on the American West, 2018

• California Commendation Medal from the Military Department, State of California, 2018

• Norman Neuerburg Book Award from the Historical Society of Southern California, 2018

Los Angeles Times Book Prize for History, 2017

• Raphael Lemkin Book Award (biennial) from the Institute for the Study of Genocide, 2017

• California Book Awards Gold Medal for Californiana, 2017

• Caroline Bancroft History Prize Honor Book from the Denver Public Library, 2017

• San Francisco Public Library Laureate, 2017

• Choice magazine Outstanding Academic Title, 2016

True West Magazine Best New Western Author, 2016

• Heyday Books History Book Award, 2016

• Phi Alpha Theta / Westerners International Dissertation Prize, 2010

• Yale University Fredrick W. Beinecke Dissertation Prize, 2009

• Arrell M. Gibson Award for best article of 2008, in any journal, on Native American History, 2009

• Oscar O. Winther Award for best article of 2008 in The Western Historical Quarterly, 2009

Grants

• Dana and David Dornsife Fellowship, The Huntington, San Marino, California, 2021-2022

• Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study Fellowship, Uppsala, Sweden, 2018-2019

• European Institutes for Advanced Study Junior Research Fellowship, Hanse-Wissenschaftskolleg (Institute for Advanced Study), Delmenhorst, Germany, 2018-2019 (Declined)

• UCLA Dean of Social Sciences and History Department Research Grant, 2015

• UCLA History Department Chair’s Discretionary Fund Grant, 2014

• UCLA Academic Senate Council on Research Travel Grant, 2014

• Andrew Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, 2010-2012

• Irmgard Coninx Foundation Berlin Conference Travel Award, 2009

• Clark University Holocaust and Genocide Conference Travel Grant, 2009

• Huntington Library Western History Association Martin Ridge Research Fellowship, 2008

• Yale University Dissertation Fellowship, 2006-2007

• Australian and New Zealand Law and History Society Conference Travel Award, 2006

• Yale Genocide Studies Program Travel Grant, 2006

• American Society for Ethnohistory Student Travel Award, 2006

• Smith Richardson Foundation Summer Research Fellowship, 2006

• Howard R. Lamar Center for the Study of Frontiers and Borders Dissertation Fellowship, 2005-2006

• Yale Genocide Studies Program Dissertation Fellowship, 2005-2006

• Beinecke Library Summer Research Fellowship, 2005

• Smith Richardson Foundation Summer Research Fellowship, 2004

• Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art Summer Traveling Grant, 2003

• University College, Oxford Research Travel Bursary, 1995

• Charles and Julia Henry Fellowship for the full financial support of graduate study at Oxford University, 1994-1995

Selected Publications

BOOK

An American Genocide: The United States and the California Indian Catastrophe, 1846-1873 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2016; paperback, 2017). Forthcoming in French with Les Éditions Albin Michel

JOURNAL ARTICLES 

"California Unbound: Redefining the 'End' of Unfree Labor in the Pacific World and Beyond," California History (forthcoming), co-authored with Professor Edward Dallam Melillo of Amherst College.

"California's First Mass Incarceration System: Franciscan Missions, California Indians, and Penal Servitude, 1769-1836," Pacific Historical Review 88:1 (January 2019), 14-47. 

"Genocide in the Golden State: A Response to Reviews by William Bauer, Jr., Margaret Jacobs, Karl Jacoby and Jeffrey Ostler," Journal of Genocide Research 19:1 (March 2017), 154-163. 

"Understanding Genocide in California under United States Rule, 1846-1873," The Western Historical Quarterly 47:4 (Winter 2016), 449-461.

"Reexamining the American Genocide Debate: Meaning, Historiography, and New Methods," The American Historical Review 120:1 (February 2015), 98-139.

"'Unholy Traffic in Human Blood and Souls:' Systems of California Indian Servitude under U.S. Rule," Pacific Historical Review 83:4 (November 2014), 626-667.

"California's Yuki Indians: Defining Genocide in Native American History," The Western Historical Quarterly 39:3 (Autumn 2008), 303-332.

"From Terror to Genocide: Britain's Tasmanian Penal Colony and Australia's History Wars," Journal of British Studies 47:1 (January 2008), 77-106.

"From Africa to Auschwitz: How German South West Africa incubated ideas and methods adopted and developed by the Nazis in Eastern Europe," European History Quarterly 35:3 (July 2005), 429-464.

"Patterns of Frontier Genocide, 1803-1910: The Aboriginal Tasmanians, the Yuki of California, and the Herero of Namibia," Journal of Genocide Research 6:2 (June 2004), 167-192.

BOOK CHAPTERS

“Introduction,” co-authored with Ben Kiernan and Rebe Taylor, in Ben Kiernan, series ed., Ned Blackhawk, Ben Kiernan, Benjamin Madley, and Rebe Taylor, volume eds., The Cambridge World History of Genocide, Volume II: Genocide in the Indigenous, Early Modern and Imperial Worlds, c.1535 to World War One (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, forthcoming, 2023), 1-20.

“‘Too Furious’: The Genocide of Connecticut’s Pequot Indians, 1636-1640,” in Ibid., 215-242.

“‘A War of Extermination’: The California Indian Genocide, 1846-1873,” in Ibid., 412-433.

“The Third Vector: Pacific Pathogens, Colonial Disease Ecologies, and Native American Epidemics North of Mexico,” in James Beattie, Ryan Tucker Jones, and Edward Dallam Melillo, eds., Migrant Ecologies: Environmental Histories of the Pacific World (Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, forthcoming, December 2022), 68-87.

"The Genocide of California's Yana Indians [Revised and Expanded]," in Samuel Totten, ed., Centuries of Genocide: Critical Essays and Eyewitness Accounts (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2022), 12-53.

“California Indians,” in Jon Butler, ed., Oxford Research Encyclopedia of American History (New York: Oxford University Press, 2021): https://oxfordre.com/americanhistory/view/10.1093/acrefore/9780199329175...

"California and Oregon's Modoc Indians: How Indigenous Resistance Camouflages Genocide in Colonial Histories," in Andrew Woolford, Jeff Benvenuto, and Alexander Laban Hinton, eds., Colonial Genocide in Indigenous North America (Durham: Duke University Press, 2014), 95-130.

"The Genocide of California's Yana Indians," in Samuel Totten and William S. Parsons, eds., Centuries of Genocide: Essays and Eyewitness Accounts (New York: Routledge, 2012), 16-53.

"Tactics of Nineteenth Century Colonial Massacre: Tasmania, California and Beyond," in Philip G. Dwyer and Lyndall Ryan, eds.,Theatres of Violence: Massacres, Mass Killing and Atrocity Throughout History (New York: Berghan Books, 2012), 110-125.

"When 'The World Was Turned Upside Down': California and Oregon's Tolowa Indian Genocide, 1851-1856," in Adam Jones, ed., New Directions in Genocide Research (New York: Routledge, 2011), 170-196.

BOOK REVIEWS & REVIEW ESSAYS

Jeffrey Ostler, Surviving Genocide: Native Nations and the United States from the American Revolution to Bleeding Kansas, in The American Historical Review 126:1 (April 2021), 303-304.

"Command, Control, and Genocide: A Review of The Vandemonian War," Journal of Genocide Research 20:3 (July 2018), 467-471.

Catherine M. Cameron, Paul Kelton, and Alan C. Swedlund, eds., Beyond Germs: Native Depopulation in North America (Tucson: The University of Arizona Press, 2015), in The Journal of American History 103:4 (March 2017), 1022-1023.

Deborah and Jon Lawrence, Violent Encounters: Interviews On Western Massacres (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2011), in The Western Historical Quarterly 43:2 (Summer 2012), 224-225.

Saul Friedländer, The Years of Extermination: Nazi Germany and the Jews, 1939-1945 (New York: Harper Perennial, 2007), in Journal of Genocide Research 12:3 (Autumn 2010), 279-280.

Richard T. Stillson, Spreading the Word: A History of Information in the California Gold Rush (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2006), in The Western Historical Quarterly 39:1 (Spring 2008), 79-80.

Frank Baumgardner, Killing for Land in Early California: Indian Blood at Round Valley, 1856-1863 (New York: Algora Publishing, 2005), in The Americas 64:2 (October 2007), 279-280.

William D. Rubinstein, Genocide: A History (Harlow: Longman, 2004), in European History Quarterly 36:2 (April 2006), 332-334.

DOCUMENTARY FILM PARTICIPATION

Namibia: Genocide and the Second Reich, a 60-minute BBC documentary (first aired December 7, 2004).

Research

Native American labor and migration in the making of the United States

Graduate Students

COMMITTEE CHAIR

• Michael Buse, second year UCLA History Ph.D. student (co-chair with Eric Avila).

• Elizabeth Blackmore, “Understanding the 1827-28 California Indian Mystery Epidemic: Integrating Disease Ecology Theory with Nineteenth-Century Mexican Mission and State Archives,” third year UCLA Ecology and Evolutionary Biology M.A. student (co-chair with James Lloyd-Smith).

• William Wood, “California Indian Land Law: A History, 1769-1924,” fifth year UCLA History Ph.D. student. Mr. Wood is Associate Professor of Law at Southwestern Law School.

• Dr. Preston S. McBride, “A Lethal Education: Institutionalized Negligence, Epidemiology, and Death in Native American Boarding Schools, 1879-1934,” UCLA History Ph.D., 2020. Dr. McBride is Assistant Professor of History at Pomona College.

• Dr. Rhiannon Koehler, “High Grade Danger: Indigenous Political Cartoons and the Navajo-Hopi Land Dispute, 1973-2006,” UCLA History Ph.D., 2018. Dr. Koehler is a Lecturer at the Art Institute of Chicago.

• David Two Eagles Streamer, “A Fight for Food: The Assault on California Indian Food Ways, 1769-1873,” UCLA American Indian Studies M.A., 2018. Mr. Streamer is a Graduate Court Clerk, Intertribal Court of Southern California.

• Dr. Preston S. McBride, “A Blueprint for Death in U.S. Off-Reservation Boarding Schools: Rethinking Institutional Mortalities at Carlisle Indian Industrial School, 1879-1918,” Dartmouth College Cultural Studies M.A., 2013 (co-chair with Colin Calloway). Dr. McBride is Assistant Professor of History at Pomona College.

COMMITTEE MEMBER

• Kabl Wilkerson, second-year History Ph.D. student, Harvard University.

• Dr. Toulouse-Antonin Roy, “‘The Camphor Questions is in Reality the Savage Question’: The Japanese Empire, Indigenous Peoples, and the Making of Capitalist Taiwan, 1895-1915,” UCLA History Ph.D., 2020. Dr. Roy is a Social Studies and AP teacher at the Pacific American School.

• Dr. Jeremiah Sladeck, “Padres Discontentos: Franciscan Decline and the Failure of the California Mission System, 1785-1805,” UCLA History Ph.D., 2020. Dr. Sladeck is a Lecturer, University of California, Los Angeles.

• Dr. Harper Benjamin Keenan, “The Mission Project: A Study of Elementary School History Education in California,” Stanford University Education Ph.D., 2019. Dr. Keenan is Assistant Professor of Curriculum and Pedagogy, University of British Columbia.

• Dr. Max Flomen, “Cruel Embrace: War and Slavery in the Texas Borderlands, 1700-1840,” UCLA History Ph.D., 2018. Dr. Flomen is Assistant Professor of History, West Virginia University.

• Dr. Nanar Khamo, “Representations of Memory, Genocide, and Violence in Contemporary Francophone Fiction,” UCLA French and Francophone Studies Ph.D., 2018. Dr. Khamo is Visiting Assistant Professor of French, Pepperdine University.

• Kelly Leah Stewart, “(Re)wrighting and (Re)righting California Indian Histories: Legacies of Saint Boniface Indian Industrial School, 1890-1934,” UCLA American Indian Studies M.A., 2018. Ms. Stewart is an Education Ph.D. student at the University of California, San Diego.

• Dr. Yve Chavez, “Indigenous Artists and Ingenuity at the California Missions after 1769,” UCLA Art History Ph.D., 2017. Dr. Chaves is Assistant Professor of Art History, University of Oklahoma.

• Damien Montaño, “Indigenous Artistic Expression in the Crossroads of Los Angeles: Adornment, Beautification, and Guerilla Jewelry,” UCLA American Indian Studies M.A., 2017. Mr. Montaño is an artist.

• Jacquelyn May Teran, “Colonial Order and the Origins of California Native Women’s Mass Incarceration: California Missions and Beyond,” UCLA American Indian Studies M.A., 2015. Ms. Teran is Director, Women's Downtown Shelter.

• Chantal Walker, “Piyahu Nadu - Land of Flowing Waters,” UCLA American Indian Studies M.A., 2014. Ms. Walker is a History Ph.D. student at the University of California, Davis.

Collaborators

Madley is co-editing The Cambridge World History of Genocide, Volume 2: Genocide in the Indigenous, Early Modern, and Imperial Worlds, 1535-1914, with historians Ned Blackhawk, Ben Kiernan, and Rebe Taylor. This volume will be published in early 2023.

Madley also co-authored "California Unbound: Redefining the 'End' of Unfree Labor in the Pacific World and Beyond" with Professor Edward Dallam Melillo of Amherst College. This article will appear in the journal California History.

Current Courses by Term

2023 Winter Quarter

North American Indian History, 1830 to Present

Introduction to U.S. History: 1790 to 1900

Teaching Apprentice Practicum

Previous Courses by Term

2018 Spring Quarter

Advanced Historiography: American Indian Peoples

North American Indian History, 1830 to Present

2017 Fall Quarter

North American Indian History, Precontact to 1830

Capstone Seminar: History -- World History

Topics in History: Science/Technology

2017 Spring Quarter

Advanced Historiography: American Indian Peoples

North American Indian History, 1830 to Present

2016 Spring Quarter

Advanced Historiography: American Indian Peoples

North American Indian History, 1830 to Present

2015 Fall Quarter

North American Indian History, Precontact to 1830

Capstone Seminar: History -- World History

Topics in World History

2015 Spring Quarter

Advanced Historiography: American Indian Peoples

North American Indian History, 1830 to Present

2014 Fall Quarter

North American Indian History, Precontact to 1830

Capstone Seminar: History -- U.S.

Topics in History: U.S.

2014 Spring Quarter

Advanced Historiography: American Indian Peoples

North American Indian History, 1830 to Present

2014 Winter Quarter

North American Indian History, Precontact to 1830

Introduction to U.S. History: 1790 to 1900

2013 Spring Quarter

North American Indian History, 1830 to Present

Capstone Seminar: History -- U.S.

Topics in History: U.S.

2013 Winter Quarter

North American Indian History, Precontact to 1830

Previous Courses by Course

HIST M200W
Advanced Historiography: American Indian Peoples

2018 Spring Quarter

2017 Spring Quarter

2016 Spring Quarter

2015 Spring Quarter

2014 Spring Quarter

AM IND M200A
Advanced Historiography: American Indian Peoples

2018 Spring Quarter

2017 Spring Quarter

2016 Spring Quarter

2015 Spring Quarter

2014 Spring Quarter

HIST 149B
North American Indian History, 1830 to Present

2018 Spring Quarter

2017 Spring Quarter

2016 Spring Quarter

2015 Spring Quarter

2014 Spring Quarter

2013 Spring Quarter

HIST 149A
North American Indian History, Precontact to 1830

2017 Fall Quarter

2015 Fall Quarter

2014 Fall Quarter

2014 Winter Quarter

2013 Winter Quarter

HIST 201O
Topics in History: Science/Technology

2017 Fall Quarter

HIST 191O
Capstone Seminar: History -- World History

2017 Fall Quarter

2015 Fall Quarter

HIST 214
Topics in World History

2015 Fall Quarter

HIST 191D
Capstone Seminar: History -- U.S.

2014 Fall Quarter

2013 Spring Quarter

HIST 201H
Topics in History: U.S.

2014 Fall Quarter

2013 Spring Quarter

HIST 246B
Introduction to U.S. History: 1790 to 1900

2014 Winter Quarter