Brian DeLay

Brian DeLay

Title
Associate Professor
Department
Dept of History
Research Expertise and Interest
US, the Americas, International History, nineteenth century, Native American history, American West, Borderlands
Research Description

Brian DeLay is a scholar of 18th- and 19th-century North America, specializing in transnational, borderlands, and Native American histories. Most of his writing explores connections between U.S., Latin American, and Indigenous histories in order to better understand power and inequality in the Western Hemisphere. He received his PhD from Harvard University in 2004, and taught for five years at the University of Colorado, Boulder before taking a position at UC Berkeley where he is now Preston Hotchkis Chair in the History of the United States. He is author of a number of articles and essays, and co-author of the U.S. history textbooks Experience History and U.S./A Narrative History (McGraw-Hill). DeLay’s 2008 book, War of a Thousand Deserts: Indian Raids and the U.S.-Mexican War (Yale University Press), won prizes from several different scholarly organizations. Since then he has published on a number of topics, including the similarities and differences between 19th and 21st century instability in the U.S.-Mexican borderlands; the connection between guns and governance in Mexico’s post-independence history; Lincoln's policy toward the French Intervention in Mexico; violence and belonging on the Navajo-New Mexican frontier; the international context for John Singleton Copley’s iconic painting Watson and the Shark; Native peoples and U.S. empire; and international relations between Indigenous polities in nineteenth-century North AmericaHe has served as a Fulbright Distinguished Lecturer, and has received fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the ACLS, the American Philosophical Society, the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation, the Stanford Humanities Center, and other organizations. He is the editor of North American Borderlands (Routledge, 2012). DeLay is now at work on two books for W.W. Norton: Aim at Empire: American Revolutions through the Barrel of a Gun, 1750-1825, and Means of Destruction: Guns, Freedom, and Domination in the Americas before World War II. 

In the News

April 12, 2019

Five Berkeleyans among 2019 Guggenheim winners

Five UC Berkeley professors are among this year’s 168 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation fellows. The prestigious fellowships recognize scholars with impressive achievements who also show promise in fields ranging from the natural sciences to the creative arts.
August 10, 2011

Berkeley historian follows the guns

Historian Brian DeLay’s research traces the roots of the modern arms trade all the way back to the mid-18th century, when weapons were manufactured in America or Britain only to be distributed or sold throughout the northern hemisphere.

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In the News

April 12, 2019

Five Berkeleyans among 2019 Guggenheim winners

Five UC Berkeley professors are among this year’s 168 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation fellows. The prestigious fellowships recognize scholars with impressive achievements who also show promise in fields ranging from the natural sciences to the creative arts.
August 10, 2011

Berkeley historian follows the guns

Historian Brian DeLay’s research traces the roots of the modern arms trade all the way back to the mid-18th century, when weapons were manufactured in America or Britain only to be distributed or sold throughout the northern hemisphere.

Featured in the Media

Please note: The views and opinions expressed in these articles are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or positions of UC Berkeley.
April 17, 2019
Five Berkeley professors have won John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation fellowships this year. The honor recognizes highly accomplished scholars who show exceptional promise in the creative arts and humanities. The Berkeley honorees are associate history professor Brian DeLay for U.S. history; history professor James Vernon for European and Latin American history; art history professor Julia Bryan-Wilson for fine arts research; English and journalism professor Mark Danner for general nonfiction; and literature, rhetoric and classics professor James Porter for classics. For more on this, see our story at Berkeley News. Another story on this topic appeared in Art & Education.
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