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College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities

James Bradford Jeffries

James Bradford Jeffries

Senior Lecturer (Native American Religions)

Department of History
Office: 28 Hardin Hall
Phone: (864) 656-5377

Ph.D., University of California, Santa Barbara (2007)


Native American History

Professor Jeffries is a specialist in Native American history and American Colonial History. His interests center on the early religious encounters between Native Americans and Europeans. A specialist in the history of Native American religion and culture, Jeffries’ research interests are centered on the religious dimensions of colonial America, in particular the religious exchanges that shaped, and were shaped by, the frontier encounters between natives and European newcomers in North America. By examining the conflicting quality of these exchanges, his research reveals the Native American religious orientations at the time of contact that defied Western definitions of religion as well as the religious innovations natives subsequently adopted to oppose the unprecedented pressures of missionization and colonization.

He received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Santa Barbara. His dissertation, "Denying Religion: French and Native American Spiritual Crossroads in Seventeenth-Century New France," examines early French claims that the indigenous peoples of the Great Lakes region did not possess religion. By exposing the non-theological grounding of native customs, the project reveals a Christian bias entailed in European definitions of religion—a bias, he contends, that is propagated in much of the current scholarship on the natives of New France. He is a recipient of the President’s Dissertation fellowship at the University of California. He is also a former fellow at the John Nicholas Brown Center at Brown University and the Clements Library at the University of Michigan. Before coming to Clemson in 2006, he taught at Colgate University for three years in the Department of Philosophy and Religion.


Selected Professional Works

Books (In Production or Under Contract)

Religious Borderlands: French and Native American Spiritual Crossroads in Seventeenth-Century New France. (book manuscript in preparation)

Journal Articles & Book Chapters (Published)

Denying Religion: Native Americans and French Missionaries in Early New France."  In Indigenous Symbols and Practices in the Catholic Church: Visual Culture, Missionization, and Appropriation, edited by Kate J. Martin.  Burlington: Ashgate Press, 2010.

Journal Articles & Book Chapters (Accepted or Submitted)

Imposing Religion: Missionary Roots of the Comparative Study of Religion." (currently under review for publication in the Journal of the American Academy of Religion)

Conference Presentations (Delivered)

Native American History and Religion: An Introduction."  Tiger Powwow: Celebration of the Native American Heritage Month, Presented for the Gannt Multicultural Society, Clemson University, November 11, 2009.

Obscure Revelations/Seductive Coverings: French and Native American Divination Practices in Early New France." Presented for the panel (also organized by Jeffries), Dark Frontiers: Native and European Dream Encounters in Early America, Omohundro Institute of Early American History & Culture Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, June 2009.

Imposing Religion: Missionary Roots of the Comparative Study of Religion."  Presented for the Indigenous Religious Traditions Group, American Academy of Religion Annual Meeting, Chicago, November 2008.

College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities
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