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Tiya Miles

Harvard University

Tiya Miles is the Michael Garvey Professor of History and Radcliffe Alumnae Professor at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. She is a public historian, academic historian, and creative writer whose work primarily explores the intersections of African American, Native American, and women’s histories in the context of place. Her temporal and geographical zones of greatest interest include the nineteenth-century U.S. South, Midwest, and West. Her most recent book, Wild Girls: How the Outdoors Shaped the Women Who Challenged a Nation, explores these themes.

Miles is the author of seven books and the only current two-time winner of Yale’s Frederick Douglass Prize for the study of slavery, abolition, and resistance. All That She Carried: The Journey of Ashley’s Sack, a Black Family Keepsake, won eleven prizes, including the 2022 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award and the National Book Award for Nonfiction. All That She Carried was a New York Times bestseller and was selected as One of the Ten Best Books of the Year by The Washington Post, Slate, Vulture, and Publishers Weekly.

Miles’s previous books include: The Dawn of Detroit: A Chronicle of Bondage and Freedom in the City of the StraitsTies That Bind: The Story of an Afro-Cherokee Family in Slavery and Freedom; The House on Diamond Hill: A Cherokee Plantation StoryTales from the Haunted South: Dark Tourism and Memories of Slavery from the Civil War Era, and a work of historical fiction, The Cherokee Rose: A Novel of Gardens and Ghosts.

Miles is a recipient of a MacArthur Foundation “Genius Award” Fellowship (2011-2016) and a Hiett Prize in the Humanities from the Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture (2007). Her work has also been supported by the Mellon Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities. She is currently working on biographies of Harriet Tubman, Harriet Jacobs, and Harriet Beecher Stowe, as well as on an environmental history of American girlhood.

Miles was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. She holds an AB in Afro-American Studies from Harvard University, an MA in Women’s Studies from Emory University, and a PhD in American Studies from the University of Minnesota. She taught on the faculty of the University of Michigan for sixteen years, where she served as Chair of the Department of Afroamerican & African Studies, Director of the Native American Studies Program, and founding director of ECO Girls (Environmental & Cultural Opportunities for Girls in Urban Southeast Michigan).

Miles and her husband, the scholar Joseph P. Gone, live in Cambridge, Mass., with their three children.