Assistant Professor of Early North American History and the College

Liaison to the Newberry Consortium in American Indian and Indigenous Studies
Faculty Affiliate, Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture
Democracy Initiative Faculty Working Group

PhD'15 University of Pennsylvania
MA'09 University of Oregon

Mailing Address

The University of Chicago
Department of History
1126 E. 59th Street
Chicago, IL 60637

Social Science Research Building, 225-C – Office

Field Specialities

Early American history; Indigenous histories; settler colonialism; sovereignty; conspiracy theory; histories of emotions


Matthew Kruer is a scholar of early modern North America exploring the relationship between Indigenous power and the development of the British empire. He holds a master’s degree in history from the University of Oregon and a doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania.

Kruer’s first book, Time of Anarchy: Indigenous Power and the Crisis of Colonialism in Early America, examines the tumultuous decade between 1675 and 1685, during which ethnic riots and separatist movements swept through New York, Maryland colonists launched two uprisings, Virginia colonists rebelled against their government, and North Carolina colonists engaged in full-blown revolution. These colonial insurrections were closely connected with a spasm of wars among Indigenous nations ranging from the Great Lakes and the Deep South. Framing this chaotic violence as a single event, which he calls the Time of Anarchy, he shows that these seemingly distinct conflicts were connected by the Susquehannocks, a once-powerful Indigenous nation in what is currently Pennsylvania. Expelled from their homes by colonial militia and scattered across eastern North America, Susquehannocks exerted a political influence wildly disproportionate to their numbers, in the process reshaping both Native nations and English colonies. This book explores the forms of power exercised by seemingly weak and vulnerable Indigenous migrants, who in their struggles for survival and resurgence drove political struggle and social change in early America.

His next project explores discourses of sovereignty among Indigenous nations within the early modern British empire and the evolution of British settler colonialism in North America and the Caribbean.

Kruer serves as the University of Chicago’s liaison to the Newberry Consortium in American Indian and Indigenous Studies (NCAIS), which links universities across the United States and Canada engaged in Indigenous Studies. Each year NCAIS holds a Graduate Student Conference, runs a 3-day Spring Workshop and 4-week Summer Institute in research methods, and offers fellowships for faculty and graduate students. Please contact Prof. Kruer for additional information about these opportunities and about Indigenous Studies at the University of Chicago.



Time of Anarchy: Indigenous Power and the Crisis of Colonialism in Early America (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2021).

“Bloody Minds and Peoples Undone: Emotion, Family, and Political Order in the Susquehannock-Virginia War,” William and Mary Quarterly 74, no. 3 (2017): 401-436.

“Indian Subjecthood and White Populism in British America,” in Ideology and U.S. Foreign Relations: New Histories, ed. David Milne and Christopher McKnight Nichols (New York: Columbia University Press, 2022).


Awarded Allan Nevins Prize, Society of American Historians