Faculty Directory

Noel Edward Smyth
  • Pronouns he, him, his, his, himself
  • Title
    • Lecturer
  • Division Humanities Division
  • Department
    • History Department
  • Phone
  • Email
  • Office Location
    • Stevenson College Academic Building, 281
  • Office Hours Spring 2023: Thursdays 12:30-2:30 and by appointment
  • Mail Stop Stevenson Academic Services
  • Mailing Address
    • 1156 High Street
    • Santa Cruz CA 95060

Research Interests

I am working on my book project The Natchez Diaspora: A History of Indigenous Displacement and Survival in the Atlantic World. My project traces the movement of Natchez peoples from Louisiana to the Caribbean and across the southeast of North America. While much of the historiography posits that the Natchez disappear after 1731, this is the first project to explore Natchez history after the 1730s to the present. Through the use of Natchez oral history, as well as French and English archival sources, this project reveals that the violent dispersal of the Natchez away from their homelands did not destroy them as a people. Rather, the Natchez creatively constructed new diasporic networks in disparate locations throughout the southeast—often operating outside the purview of European observers—that enabled them to remain united and resilient throughout the eighteenth century to the present.

I'm also working with the Natchez Nation of Oklahoma on digitizing Natchez language materials held at the American Philosophical Society to assist in Natchez language reclamation efforts. We are developing projects such as textbooks, children's books, and other language materials that can be accessible to Natchez communities in Oklahoma and South Carolina.


Biography, Education and Training

  • Ph.D., History, University of California Santa Cruz, 2016.
  • M.A., History, University of California Santa Cruz, 2009. 
  • B.A., History and English, University of Iowa, 2002.

Honors, Awards and Grants

2017             Digital Knowledge Sharing Fellowship, American Philosophical Society

2017             Omohundro Scholars’ Workshop, Omohundro Institute, William and Mary College

2014             Graduate Dean’s Award, Graduate Research Symposium, University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC)

2013             Dissertation Fellowship, Institute for Humanities Research, UCSC

2013             Grant for Research in Atlantic History, International Seminar on the History of the Atlantic World, Harvard University

2013              Library Resident Research Fellow, American Philosophical Society

2012              Global Gulf South Research Fellow, New Orleans Center for the Gulf South, Tulane University

2012              Dissertation Research Grant, University of California Center for New Racial Studies, UCSB

2012               Philips Fund Grant for Native American Research, American Philosophical Society

2012                Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Research Fellow at the Huntington Library


Selected Presentations


2017                         “Reclaiming the Natchez Language: Digital Archives of Natchez Oral Histories” : August 10, Digital Knowledge Workshop, American Philosophical Society


2016                         “Negotiating Native American Survival: The Natchez of Four Holes Swamp in Colonial South Carolina, 1738-1753” : June 23–26, OIEAHC Conference, Worcester, Massachusetts


2016                         “The Myth of Natchez Destruction: The Origins and Persistence of Inaccurate Narratives of Natchez Disappearance” : April 9-10, Historians Without Borders, History Without Limits, UC Davis


2015                         “The Networks of the Natchez Diaspora” : November 6th, Ethnohistory, Las Vegas.


2015                         “Surviving Colonial Displacements:  Natchez Diasporic Networks in the 18th Century” : October 17th, Amah Mutsun Speaker Series, Santa Cruz, CA.


2014                         “A Southeastern Native American Diaspora: Natchez Refugees among the Chickasaws, Cherokees, Creeks, and English, 1731-1742” : November 13-16, The Southern, Atlanta


2014                         “Colonial Warfare and Native American Diaspora: Natchez Refugees among the Chickasaws, Cherokees, Creeks, and English, 1731-1742” : June 14, OIEAHC Conference, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Novia Scotia


2013                         “Contested Histories: A Narrative of Natchez Survival against a Prolonged Denial of their Existence” : November 15, 10th Native American Symposium, Southeastern Oklahoma State University, Durant, OK


2013                         “Hoping to Return: A Glimpse of Natchez Slaves from Louisiana in the French Caribbean” : May 3, Race Making, Race Neutrality, and Race Consciousness, UC Center for New Racial Studies, University of California, Irvine, CA


2012                         “The Natchez of Louisiana in the Caribbean, 1731-1733” : May 16, Atlantic Geographies Institute, May 14-17 University of Miami, FL. Invited Participant.


2012                         “Constellations of Indigenous Displacement: Native American Slaves in the French Atlantic” : June 28th, World History Association Conference, Albuquerque, NM.


2012                         “The Formation of a Natchez Diaspora: Natchez Slaves in Saint Domingue and Natchez Refugees among the Chickasaws, Cherokees, and Creeks, 1731-1740” : April 13, Southeast Indian Studies Conference, University of North Carolina, Pembroke, NC.


2010                         “From ‘Drinking Smoke’ to ‘Smoking Kills’: A World History of Tobacco Consumption and Production” : June 27, World History Association Conference, San Diego, CA.


2009                        “Violence, Trade, Co-existence, and Destruction: The Colonial Encounter of the French and Natchez, 1688-1740s” : October 3, Ethnohistory, New Orleans, LA.


Teaching Interests

Early American history and the Atlantic World, Native American History, Indigenous Studies, History of the U.S. South, French Colonial History, 19th century U.S. History, World History, Writing.