Assistant Professor of American Studies
Eli Nelson (haudenosaunee/kanien’kehá:ka) teaches in the American Studies and Science and Technology Studies Programs. He is the Director of Research at the Center for Black, Brown, and Queer Studies. In addition to the history of Native science, Nelson works on Indigenous affect, science fiction and futurism, and gender and sexuality. His current book manuscript, Sovereign Knowledge: Native Informants, Settler Occupation, and the Becoming of Native Science, traces the origins of the late twentieth century Native science movement, wherein Indigenous scientists, scholars, activists, and politicians claimed authority and separatism from the settler state through purportedly reinterpreting Indigenous epistemologies as sciences. Nelson finds that the methods and orientations of Native science that formalized at this time, including but not limited to the rejection of boundary work and the insistence on a lateral relationship with objects of study, were not ancient practices merely rebranded. Rather, they were developed over the long Red Progressive era (mid-19th through mid- 20th century), when Indigenous knowledges, bodies, and subjects transitioned to interacting with settler sciences in new ways and with distinct archival traces in the wake of reservation confinement, assimilation policies, and boarding school education.
M.A. Harvard University, History of Science (2013)
Ph.D. Harvard University, History of Science (2018)
Areas of Expertise
Native American and Indigenous studies; critical Indigenous theory; Native science; settler science; Indigenous science fiction; Indigenous futurism; Black, Brown, and Queer theory; Indigenous affect; history of anthropology; history of ecology; science and religion
AMST 142 / STS 142 TUTAlterNatives: Indigenous Futurism and Science Fiction (not offered 2022/23)
AMST 209 SEMIntroduction to Black, Brown, and Queer Theory (not offered 2022/23)
AMST 321 / STS 321 SEMUnsettled Futures: Time, Crisis, and Science Fiction from the Margins (not offered 2022/23)
AMST 353 / STS 353 SEMIs Science Native to Turtle Island? The History of Native Science in North America (not offered 2022/23)
AMST 405 SEMCritical Indigenous Theory (not offered 2022/23)
Asher, Kiran, Mel Y. Chen, Kareem Khubchandani, Eli Nelson, and Banu Subramaniam. “Cyborgs Unbound: Feminist STS, Interdisicplinarity, and Graduate Education.” Catalyst: Feminism, Theory, Technoscience (2021) 7 (1): 1–34.
- “Native American Doctor: Or, How I learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Prior.” Cosmologics (2020) Black/Brown/Queer Geographies and Temporalities.
- “Canoes in Space,” in Shireen Hamza (producer), Ventricles Podcast (2018), Season 1, Ep. 5.
- “Walking to the Future in the Steps of our Ancestors”: Haudenosaunee Traditional Ecological Knowledge and Queer Time in the Climate Change Era.” New Geographies 09: Posthuman (2017): 133–38.
- Board-member and Director of Research, The Center for Black, Brown, and Queer Studies
Science and Technology Studies Advisory Board