Assistant Professor of Early North American History and the College

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

William Rainey Harper Memorial Library, East Tower, room 689 – Office
(773) 834-6794 – Office telephone
(773) 702-7550 – Fax

Field Specialities

Early American history; Indigenous American histories; settler colonialism; mobility and migration; race and ethnic identity; the history 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 the politics of Indigenous nations within the early modern British empire and the evolution of British settler colonialism in North America and the Caribbean.


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 (forthcoming from Columbia University Press).


Awarded Allan Nevins Prize, Society of American Historians