Kyle T. Mays

Increase font size
Decrease font size

kylemaysHistory Postdoctoral Fellow

551 Hamilton Hall
CB# 3195
Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599



BA James Madison College, Michigan State University, 2009
MA University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, 2012
PhD University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, 2015

Research Interests

Kyle T. Mays is an historian of modern US, Afro-Indigenous, and Indigenous studies, with a particular focus on how various actors construct indigeneity and other social meanings in modern US cities. During his time as a postdoctoral fellow, he will be working to transform his dissertation into a book. A cultural and social history, the book will tentatively analyze how indigeneity functioned in Detroit’s modern development. An idea central to the project is that we cannot comprehend the development of modern US cities without also understanding how indigeneity was central to their development. Dr. Mays also has an interest in contemporary popular culture, especially how Native artists construct indigeneity within Hip Hop.

During his time as a graduate student, he received numerous awards, most notably the Newberry Consortium in American Indian Studies Graduate Student Fellowship. During the 2014-2015 academic year, the Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities (IPRH) awarded him a dissertation completion fellowship. He also served as a founding editorial manager for the Native American and Indigenous Studies Journal published by the University of Minnesota Press. Believing that education can be used for social transformation, Dr. Mays, has contributed pieces to various educational and news outlets, including Indian Country Today Media NetworkDecolonization, and Native Appropriations.

Some Notable Publications

  • “Pontiac’s Ghost in the Motor City: Indigeneity and the Discursive Construction of Modern Detroit.” The Middle West Review, 2(02): 115-142. Published Spring 2016.
  • “Promoting Sovereignty, Rapping Mshki (Medicine): A Critical Anishinaabe Reading of Rapper Tall Paul’s ‘Prayers in a Song.’” Social Identities: Journal for the Study of Race, Nation and Culture, 22(02): 195-209. 2016.
  • Can We Live–And Be Modern: Decolonization, Indigenous Modernity, and Hip Hop” in Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education, and Society. Published March 12, 2015.
  • Kyle T. Mays, “Humanities and Sciences at Work: Liberatory Education for Millennials,” in An Illinois Sampler: Teaching and Research on the Prairie, ed. Antoinette Burton, Mary-Ann Winkelmes, and Kyle T. Mays (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2014), 119–122.
  • Antoinette Burton, Mary-Ann Winkelmes, and Kyle T. Mays (eds.), An Illinois Sampler: Teaching and Research on the Prairie (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2014)
  • Kyle T. Mays, “Transnational Progressivism: African Americans, Native Americans, and the Universal Races Congress of 1911,” American Indian Quarterly 37, no. 3 (Summer 2013): 243–261.
Print Friendly