Makiki A. Reuvers

Seated portrait

PhD Candidate

Mellon "Just Futures" Graduate Fellow, 2022-2023

Dissertation Committee:


          My primary research interests center on borderland spaces in Colonial & Early America. Through my undergraduate thesis I examined how cross-cultural physical and ideological conflicts manifested as spectral threats in settler narratives in the eighteenth century Mississippi River Valley. Since my arrival at Penn, my research interests extended backward in time and outward in geographical space to seventeenth-century New France. In my work on New France I focus on the emergence and evolution of tensions between the Iroquois Five Nations and French Jesuit missionaries throughout the course of the seventeenth century.

          My dissertation, Bodies of Empire: The Political, Religious, and Corporeal Makings of Subjecthood in Seventeenth-Century New England, expands even further on my geographic exploration of borderlands by looking at transformations of race, empire, and colonial rule for English and Native peoples in seventeenth-century Massachusetts. Bodies of Empire, which spans across the Atlantic, is as much a story of a new world as it is a story about a revoked charter, a popish conspiracy, a glorious revolution, a failed dominion, and the remaking of colonial English subjecthood. Beneath it all, my dissertation tells the story of how Early Modern English scientists, preachers, and politicians spent a century engaging with ideas on bodily difference and religious belonging to ultimately construct Nativeness as a category wholly incompatible with English subjecthood. 


Selected Fellowships and Awards

  • Mellon Just Futures Initiative Graduate Fellowship (2022-2023)
  • Davies Fellowship Graduate Fellow, University of Pennsylvania (2020-2021)
  • Dean’s Award for Distinguished Teaching by Graduate Students, University of Pennsylvania School of Arts & Sciences (2020)
  • C. Conrad and Elizabeth Wright Fellowship, Massachusetts Historical Society (2020)
  • Marvin and Sybil Weiner Spirit of America Collection Fellowship, joint fellowship between Florida Atlantic University Libraries and the Huntington Library (2020)
  • Penfield Dissertation Research Fellowship, University of Pennsylvania School of Arts & Sciences (2020)
  • E. Geoffrey and Elizabeth Thayer Verney Fellowship, Nantucket Historical Association (2020)
  • Benjamin Franklin Fellowship, University of Pennsylvania (2016-2021)
  • University of Pennsylvania DC Alumni Fellow (2018-2019)
  • Captain Victor Gondos, Jr. Dissertation Travel Fund Grant, University of Pennsylvania (Summer 2018)
  • History Museum Fellow, Minnesota Historical Society (2016)
  • Class of 1889 Memorial Prize for senior thesis, University of Minnesota History Department (2016)



  • The McNeil Center for Early American Studies, Brownbag Seminar Series, “‘The price and value of a soul’: Spiritual Crisis and Anti-French Factionalism in Seventeenth-Century Iroquoia” (November 2019)
  • Lenses and Contacts: Framing Early America, MCEAS Biennial Graduate Student Conference, “The Axe of the Husbandman and the Ink of the Printer: How American Frontiers and Newspapers Defined ‘This Young but Rising Empire,’ 1783-1787” (October 2017)
  • Society for Historians of the Early American Republic, Graduate Research Seminar on Native Americans and Borderlands, “Narratives and Language in the Mississippi Borderlands” (July 2017)
  • William & Mary Graduate Research Symposium, “‘A Devil of a Fright:’ Fear and Containment through Narrative and Language in the 17th and 18th Century Mississippi Valley” (March 2017)



  • "Writing History" in OMNIA Magazine (link)


Academic Service

  • President of Clio: The History Graduate Student Group, University of Pennsylvania (2017-2018)
  • Chair organizer and moderator, annual History Department Kaplan Lecture, University of Pennsylvania (2018)



M.A., University of Pennsylvania (2018)

B.A., summa cum laude, University of Minnesota - Twin Cities (2016)

Research Interests

Early American History, Borderland and Frontier History, Native American History, History of Empire in Early North America, Comparative Race Theory, Postcolonial Studies, Cross-cultural History, Early Modern Medicine, Religion in Early North America, History of the Body.

Courses Taught

As a TA:

AFRC 177: Afro-American History, 1876 - Present (Spring 2021)
HIST 118: Witchcraft and Possession (Fall 2020)
HIST 162: American West (Spring 2019)
HIST 011: Deciphering America (Fall 2018)
HIST 171: The American South, 1865 - Present (Spring 2018)
HIST 170: The American South to 1865 (Fall 2017)