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Jonathan DeCoster , Ph.D.

Assistant Professor , History
Department of
History and Political Science

p/ 614.823.1564
e/ jdecoster@otterbein.edu
Office: Towers Hall, 211


  • M.A., Brandeis University, 2008
  • Ph.D., Brandeis University, 2013

Research & Teaching Interests

I specialize in comparative colonial and American Indian history. I am particularly interested in how people in the early modern Americas influenced and interacted with one another across political, cultural, and linguistic boundaries. My book manuscript examines how rivalries and alliances among various southeastern Indian polities affected European efforts to build the first permanent colonies in the region. I am also working on an article about the first proposed (and failed) English overseas colony, in 1563; another article drawing connections among Spanish, French, and English colonies in the 16th century; and another that traces the political rise of a Timucua Indian woman, Doña María Melendez, near St. Augustine, FL in the late 16th century.

  • Comparative colonialism
  • American Indian history
  • Cross-cultural encounters
  • Early modern Atlantic world
  • Frontiers and borderlands



  • “Entangled Borderlands: Europeans and Timucuans in 16th-Century Florida.” Florida Historical Quarterly 91, no. 3 (2013): 375-400.

Book Reviews and Research Reports

  • Research report, “Entangled European and Native Borderlands in Sixteenth-Century Florida.” Perspectives on Europe 42, no. 1 (2012).
  • Book review of Across a Great Divide: Continuity and Change in Native North American Societies, 1400-1900, by Laura L. Scheiber and Mark D. Mitchell (eds.). Ethnohistory 58, no. 3 (2011): 539-541.
  • Book review of Everything You Know about Indians Is Wrong, by Paul Chaat Smith. H-Florida, H-Net Reviews. http://www.h-net.org/reviews/showrev.php?id=25857.

Affiliations & Awards

  • Mellon Dissertation Year Fellowship, 2011-2012
  • American Historical Association Michael Kraus Research Grant in American Colonial History, 2010
  • American Philosophical Society Phillips Fund Grant for Native American Research, 2010
  • Council for European Studies Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Pre-Dissertation Award, 2010
  • Mellon Summer Institute in Spanish Paleography at the Huntington Library, 2009
  • Cecilia L. Johnson Grant for Visiting Graduate Scholars, University of Florida, 2009
  • Irving and Rose Crown School of Graduate Studies in American Civilization Fellowship, 2006-2011

  • American Society for Ethnohistory
  • Florida Historical Society
  • Forum on European Expansion and Global Interaction
  • Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture
  • Sixteenth Century Society and Conference
  • Virginia Historical Society

/ Office of Academic Affairs

The Office of Academic Affairs is located in Roush Hall, 27 S. Grove St.

Office Hours

M-F: 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

p / 614.823.1556

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