University of Minnesota
Department of History

Department of History's home page.

David A Chang

Department of History 1143 HellerH 271 19th Ave S


I am an historian of race and ethnicity in Hawai'i and the United States, focusing especially on the histories of American Indian and Native Hawaiian people. My first book, The Color of the Land, argues for the central place of struggles over the ownership of Native American lands in the history of racial and national construction by Creeks, African Americans, and whites in the Creek Nation and eastern Oklahoma. The Color of the Land was awarded the 2010 Theodore Saloutos Prize for best book in agricultural history from the Agricultural History Society, was named a CHOICE Magazine Outstanding Academic Book Title for 2010, was granted Honorable Mention in the competition for the American Studies Association's 2011 Lora Romero First Book Prize; and was granted Honorable Mention in the competition for the Ethnohistory Association's Erminie Wheeler-Voegelin Book Prize.


  • American Indian history
  • Native Hawaiian history
  • race and nationalism
  • United States, Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century History
  • Comparative Indigenous History
  • United States Colonialism

Educational Background

  • Ph.D.: University of Wisconsin, Madison, 2002.


  • “Borderlands in a World at Sea: Concow Indians, Native Hawaiians, and South Chinese in Indigenous, Global, and National Space, 1860s-1880s,“ Journal of American History 98 (September 2011): 384-403.
  • The Color of the Land: Race, Nation, and the Politics of Land Ownership in Oklahoma, 1832-1929. (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2010).
  • "Enclosures of Land and Sovereignty: The Allotment of American Indian Lands.," Radical History Review 109 (2010).
  • “An Equal Interest in the Soil: Creek Small-Scale Farming and the Work of Nationhood, 1866-1889,“ American Indian Quarterly 33:1 (2008) 98-130
  • “Where Will the Nation be at Home?: Race, Nationalisms and Emigration Movements in the Creek Nation,“ Tiya Miles and Sharon P. Holland, eds., Crossing Waters, Crossing Worlds: The African Diaspora in Indian Country (Durham: Duke University Press, 2006), 100-120.
  • ““˜Primitive Christianity’ and “˜Modern Socialism’: The Agrarian Socialism of Thomas W. Woodrow,“ Thomas Summerhill, ed., Transatlantic Rebels: Agrarian Radicalism in Transatlantic Perspective (East Lansing, Michigan State University Press, 2004).

Research Activities

  • I am currently engaged in a long-range research project in Native Hawaiian history. This project, preliminarily entitled "Kaulana ka Po'e 'Imi Loa: Native Hawaiians and Global Geography in the Long Nineteenth Century," draws on the rich archive of Hawaiian-language sources to discover Hawaiians' perspectives on the nature of the nineteenth-century world and their place in it.

Professional Activities

  • Secretary: Native American and Indigenous Studies Association , June 2012 - June 2015


  • National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship, January 2014 - December 2014
  • Grant-in-Aid of Research, Artistry and Scholarship, 2012 - 2014
  • Faculty Residential Fellow, Institute of Advanced Study, University of Minnesota, September 2012 - December 2012
  • Grant-in-Aid of Research, University of Minnesota, 2003 - 2005

Courses Taught

  • Hist 1000/3000 - Visions of the Past: Twin Cities History
  • Hist 1302W - U.S. History: 1865 to Present
  • Hist 3821 - The United States in the 20th Century to 1945
  • Hist/AmIn 3871 - American Indian History to 1830
  • Hist 5910/Amst 5920 - Race, Colonialism, and the Politics of US History
  • Hist 5910/Hist 8910 - Engendering Race in American History
Alternative Output Formats Alternative Output Formats

Featured Faculty

  • Prof. Ruggles Chosen to Lead Population Association of America (PAA)

    Prof. Steve Ruggles has been chosen president-elect of the Population Association of America (PAA) He will be the first historian ever to lead that organization (more typically its presidents have been sociologists or economists). Steve will serve as PAA president-elect in 2014 and president in 2015.

    This honor is recognition of the great work that Steve has done both in his own research and in supporting the work of other scholars through his work with the Minnesota Population Center. Congratulations, Prof. Ruggles!

    Learn more about the Population Association of America (PAA)

    March 15th, 2014
  • Digital Research Projects by HIST 3959 Students

    In Fall 2013, HIST 3959 - How to Do History was taught by Prof. Donna Gabaccia with a focus on digital history research projects. One additional feature of HIST 3959 this fall was that six graduate students earned graduate credit by working with the undergraduate groups as "project managers."

    Here is a sample of innovative projects from class:

    The Pacific Railroad Surveyors
    Jewish Life in 1930s/40s Minneapolis
    Why Public Education?
    Rustication in the Chinese Cultural Revolution
    Early Scandinavian Cartography
    Korea, Forgotten War?
    Political Leadership and Masculinity

    December 13th, 2013
  • Major Awards for History Profs. Kevin Murphy, Barbara Welke, Donna Gabaccia (2), Kay Reyerson, Elaine Tyler May

    It has been a season for great honors and accomplishments for our faculty. Congratulations to all!

    Donna Gabaccia is one of the recipients of the 2013 University Outstanding Community Service Award
    Donna Gabaccia has been awarded the Theodore Saloutos Memorial Book Award of the Immigration and Ethnic History Society for Foreign Relations: American Immigration in Global Perspective.
    Elaine Tyler May has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship for 2013 by The John Simon Guggenheim Foundation.
    Kevin Murphy is a 2013 recipient of the UofM's Award for Outstanding Contributions to Postbaccalaureate, Graduate, and Professional Education.
    Kay Reyerson has been awarded the Robert L. Kindrick-CARA Award for Outstanding Service to Medieval Studies by the Medieval Academy.
    Barbara Welke has been named one of the new Distinguished McKnight University Professors.

    April 3rd, 2013

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