About Charles Prior

I grew up on traditional Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee lands near Kingston, Ontario Canada, and was educated and taught at Queen's University (Canada), the University of Toronto, and the University of Cambridge, where I held a postdoctoral fellowship from 2004 to 2006. I am a life member of Wolfson College, Cambridge and held visiting appointments in Canada, the United States and in the UK. My work has been supported by grants and fellowships from the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the British Academy, and the Leverhulme Trust. With my colleague Joy Porter, I lead Treatied Spaces, a research group which has secured over £2 million in competitive funding. I have published two books, edited collections, and a number of articles that deal with topics in early modern political thought. My most recent publication, which was supported by a Leverhulme Research Fellowship, is 'Settlers in Indian Country' (Cambridge, 2020). It foregrounds Native conceptions of sovereignty and power in order to refine the place of settler colonialism in American colonial and early republican history. I am also completing a new book project, Treaty Ground: Diplomacy and the Politics of Sovereignty in the American Northeast, that re-examines colonialism and sovereignty in early America.

Charles Prior is Head of the School of Humanities & Reader in History at the University of Hull, where he co-leads the Treatied Spaces Research Group. His latest publication is Settlers in Indian Country.

Charles's website

NBN Episodes hosted by Charles:

Jonathan Scott, "How the Old World Ended: The Anglo-Dutch-American Revolution, 1500-1800" (Yale UP, 2019)

December 31, 2023

How the Old World Ended

Jonathan Scott
Hosted by Charles Prior

Jonathan Scott is one of the most original interpreters of the early modern world. How the Old World Ended: The Anglo-Dutch-American Revolution, 1500-…

Michael Braddick, "The Common Freedom of the People: John Lilburne and the English Revolution" (Oxford UP, 2018)

December 30, 2023

The Common Freedom of the People

Michael Braddick
Hosted by Charles Prior

As historical topics, political revolutions come in and out of fashion. At the moment the American Revolution as an ideological struggle engages the p…

Oana Godeanu-Kenworthy, "Between Empire and Republic: America in the Colonial Canadian Imagination" (Lexington, 2022)

March 23, 2022

Between Empire and Republic

Oana Godeanu-Kenworthy
Hosted by Charles Prior

We don’t think of Canada as a republic. Even in its modern and vibrantly multi-cultural form, there is something monarchical about the place. The Quee…

Michael Braddick, "A Useful History of Britain: The Politics of Getting Things Done" (Oxford UP, 2021)

November 10, 2021

A Useful History of Britain

Michael Braddick
Hosted by Charles Prior

What have the Romans ever done for us? That’s the question put to his pals by Reg, in a much quoted scene from Monty Python’s Life of Brian. The debat…

Nikki Hessell, "Sensitive Negotiations: Indigenous Diplomacy and British Romantic Poetry" (SUNY Press, 2021)

September 21, 2021

Sensitive Negotiations

Nikki Hessell
Hosted by Charles Prior

Diplomatic relationships between Indigenous sovereigns and colonial and settler governments were defined by language. In some cases, cultural divides …

Max Edling, "Perfecting the Union: National and State Authority in the US Constitution" (Oxford UP, 2020)

March 16, 2021

Perfecting the Union

Max Edling
Hosted by Charles Prior

On the face of things, the Constitution is concerned with individual and collective rights - to free speech, assembly, religion and that part about gu…

Donald F. Johnson, "Occupied America: British Military Rule and the Experience of Revolution" (U Pennsylvania Press, 2020)

December 28, 2020

Occupied America

Donald F. Johnson
Hosted by Charles Prior

When we read the Declaration of Independence, what tends to jump off the page are the lofty propositions concerning natural rights. Yet over a third o…

Lia Paradis, "Imperial Culture and the Sudan: Authorship, Identity and the British Empire" (I. B. Tauris, 2020)

December 7, 2020

Imperial Culture and the Sudan

Lia Paradis
Hosted by Charles Prior

In The Empty House, Sherlock Holmes makes a dramatic reappearance in the surgery of his friend Dr Watson. Presumed dead at the bottom of the Reichenba…

Mark Somos, "American States of Nature: The Origins of Independence, 1761-1775" (Oxford UP, 2019)

December 3, 2020

American States of Nature

Mark Somos
Hosted by Charles Prior

In Federalist no. 2, John Jay considered the ‘wide spreading country’ of the American republic. It was, he argued, as if the land itself was fashioned…

Hayden J. Bellenoit, "The Formation of the Colonial State in India: Scribes, Paper and Taxes, 1760-1860" (Routledge, 2017)

October 28, 2020

The Formation of the Colonial State in India

Hayden J. Bellenoit
Hosted by Charles Prior

When he appeared before the British House of Commons in the wake of the Stamp Act crisis, Benjamin Franklin reminded his audience that the American co…

Geoffrey Plank, "Atlantic Wars: From the Fifteenth Century to the Age of Revolution" (Oxford UP, 2020)

September 29, 2020

Atlantic Wars

Geoffrey Plank
Hosted by Charles Prior

For the people of the Dawnland, they were floating islands. The sails resembled clouds, and the men gathered on deck looked like bears. When Europeans…

Daniel Woolf, "A Concise History of History: Global Historiography from Antiquity to the Present" (Cambridge UP, 2019)

July 22, 2020

A Concise History of History

Daniel Woolf
Hosted by Charles Prior

‘THOSE THAT DENY THEIR HISTORY ARE DOOMED TO REPEAT IT!’ So Tweeted the 45th President of the United States to his 80 million followers in June, as Am…

Christian J. Koot, "A Biography of a Map in Motion: Augustine Herrman’s Chesapeake" (NYU Press, 2017)

February 6, 2020

A Biography of a Map in Motion

Christian J. Koot
Hosted by Charles Prior

Labels on a map: Surrey. Lower Norfolk. The Isle of Wight. Northumberland. Middlesex. Not a map England, but of the British colonies of Virginia and M…

Lauren Working, "The Making of an Imperial Polity: Civility and America in the Jacobean Metropolis" (Cambridge UP, 2020)

January 22, 2020

The Making of an Imperial Polity

Lauren Working
Hosted by Charles Prior

In his Relation of the second voyage to Guiana, published in 1596, George Chapman put the imperial ambitions of England into a telling verse couplet. …

James M. Vaughn, "The Politics of Empire at the Accession of George III" (Yale UP, 2019)

December 23, 2019

The Politics of Empire at the Accession of George III

James M. Vaughn
Hosted by Charles Prior

In his notes for a speech to be delivered in the House of Commons in the wake of American Independence, the MP and imperial reformer Edmund Burke obse…

Paul Musselwhite, "Urban Dreams, Rural Commonwealth: The Rise of Plantation Society in the Chesapeake" (U Chicago Press, 2019)

October 8, 2019

Urban Dreams, Rural Commonwealth

Paul Musselwhite
Hosted by Charles Prior

Early American colonialism is often distinguished by an urban and rural divide. Urban development was a sign of imperial progress. British writers fre…

Rachel B. Herrmann, "No Useless Mouth: Waging War and Fighting Hunger in the American Revolution" (Cornell UP, 2019)

July 22, 2019

No Useless Mouth

Rachel B. Herrmann
Hosted by Charles Prior

When the British explored the Atlantic coast of America in the 1580s, their relations with indigenous peoples were structured by food. The newcomers, …

Hannah Weiss Muller, "Subjects and Sovereign: Bonds of Belonging in the Eighteenth-Century British Empire" (Oxford UP, 2017)

July 15, 2019

Subjects and Sovereign

Hannah Weiss Muller
Hosted by Charles Prior

There is no denying that the public remains fascinated with monarchy. In the United Kingdom, the royal family commands the headlines, but paradoxicall…

Edward Vallance, "Loyalty, Memory and Public Opinion in England, 1658-1727" (Manchester UP, 2019)

June 20, 2019

Loyalty, Memory and Public Opinion in England, 1658-1727

Edward Vallance
Hosted by Charles Prior

People value loyalty. We prize it in our dogs. We loyally carry loyalty cards to claim discounts at our favourite stores and coffee shops. We follow s…

Robbie Richardson, "The Savage and Modern Self: North American Indians in Eighteenth-Century British Literature and Culture" (U Toronto Press, 2018)

June 4, 2019

The Savage and Modern Self

Robbie Richardson
Hosted by Charles Prior

As they explored and struggled to establish settlements in what they called ‘new found lands’, the encounter with the peoples of those lands deeply af…

Ryan Hanley, "Beyond Slavery and Abolition: Black British Writing, c. 1770 -1830" (Cambridge UP, 2019)

May 29, 2019

Beyond Slavery and Abolition

Ryan Hanley
Hosted by Charles Prior

To our eyes, eighteenth-century Britain can look like a world of opposites. On one hand everything was new: political parties and a ‘prime’ minister e…

Max Edelson, "The New Map of Empire: How Britain Imagined America before Independence" (Harvard UP, 2017)

May 16, 2019

The New Map of Empire

Max Edelson
Hosted by Charles Prior

When we think of the history of the British Empire we tend to think big: oceans were crossed; colonies grew from small settlements to territories many…