Thematic Research Area
Regional Research Area
B.A., Western Washington University, 1993
Ph.D., University of Washington, 2002
I was raised in Auburn, Washington, about an hour from Seattle, in the treaty territory of the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe. Before arriving at UBC in 2005, I taught at the University of Washington and Pacific Lutheran University and worked as a historian for Muckleshoot.
I teach primarily Indigenous and settler colonial histories. I teach courses ranging from Global Indigenous History and the year-long Indigenous North America to First Contacts in the Pacific and the American West. I am also formally affiliated with UBC’s Institute for Critical Indigenous Studies.
My first book was Native Seattle: Histories from the Crossing-Over Place (Washington, 2007; second edition 2017), which linked urban and Indigenous histories through the experiences of the local Duwamish people, Indigenous migrants to the city, and the uses of “Indian” imagery in urban landscapes and historical narratives. It argued that instead of being mutually exclusive, urban and Indigenous histories are in fact mutually constitutive. Native Seattle won the 2007 Washington State Book Award, and an article based on one of the chapters, “City of the Changers,” was named best article of 2006 by the Urban History Association.
My most recent book is Indigenous London: Native Travellers at the Heart of Empire (Yale, 2016), which reframes the metropolis and its history through the experiences of Indigenous people who travelled there, willingly or otherwise, from territories that became the US, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia, beginning in 1502. To support this work, during 2013-2014 sabbatical year I was a visiting fellow at the Institute for Historical Research at the University of London and an Eccles Fellow in North American Studies at the British Library.
In between Native Seattle and Indigenous London, I have published on topics ranging from food and encounter to earthquakes and colonial science. I also co-edited the volume Phantom Pasts, Indigenous Presence: Native Ghosts in North American Culture & History (Nebraska, 2011).
I am currently working on a project entitled Wrecked: Navigating the Past in the Graveyard of the Pacific. Funded by the Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council, it will be a critical cultural and environmental history of shipwrecks on the Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia coasts, focused on how stories of these failed maritime voyages open up opportunities to think about settler colonialism, Indigenous survivance, and regional history in new ways.
I welcome inquiries, although I will not be taking new PhD students until the autumn of 2025.
- Indigenous and settler colonial histories
- the Northwest Coast and the Pacific
- place-based histories
- environmental history
C. Thrush. Indigenous London: Native Travellers at the Heart of Empire. : Yale University Press, 2016.
C.E. Boyd; C. Thrush. Phantom Past, Indigenous Presence: Native Ghosts in North American Culture and History. : UNP – Nebraska Paperback, 2011.
C. Thrush. Native Seattle: Histories from the Crossing-Over Place. Seattle and London: University of Washington Press, 2007.
C. Thrush, “Meere Strangers: Indigenous and Urban Performances in Algonquian London, 1580-1630”, in Urban Identity and the Atlantic World, E. Fay and von Morze, L. Palgrave Macmillan, 2013.
C. Thrush, “Urban Indigenous Histories”, in Oxford Handbook of American Indian History, F. E. Hoxie Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013.
C. Thrush, “How Many Worlds? Unsettling Places and Incommensurable Arguments”, in Beyond Two Worlds, J. C. Genetin-Pilawa and Buss, J. J. Albany: SUNY Press, 2013.
C. Thrush, “The Iceberg and the Cathedral: Encounter, Entanglement, and Isuma in Inuit London”, Journal of British Studies, 2013.
C. Thrush, “The Sachem of Southwark: Monument and Memory in Indigenous-Settler Histories”, special issue of Ethnohistory featuring Jean M. O’Brien and Lisa Blee, Chris Andersen, Alice Te Punga Somerville, and Patrick McNamara, 2013.
C. Thrush, “Vancouver the Cannibal: Cuisine, Encounter, and the Dilemma of Difference on the Northwest Coast, 1774-1808.”, Ethnohistory, vol. 58, pp. 1 – 35, 2011
C. Thrush and Ludwin, R. S., “Finding Fault: Indigenous Seismology, Colonial Science, and the Rediscovery of Earthquakes and Tsunamis in Cascadia”, American Indian Culture & Research Journal, vol. 31, no. 4 (Fall-Winter 2007), pp. 1-24, 2007
C. Thrush, “City of the Changers: Indigenous People and the Transformation of Seattle’s Watersheds”, Pacific Historical Review, vol. 75, no. 1 (February 2006), pp. 89-117, 2006.
Killam Teaching Laureate, 2021.