Heather Roller - Professor of History

Colgate Directory


Heather Roller

Assistant Professor of History
History, 322 Alumni Hall
p 315-228-7563


BA 2002, Yale University; MA 2005, PhD 2010, Stanford University

Teaching Experience

  • FSEM 192: Ethnohistory of the Amazon
  • Hist 200: History Workshop
  • Hist 230: The Making of Latin America
  • Hist 231: Resistance and Revolt in Latin America
  • Hist 358: Conquest and Colony: Cultural Encounters in the New World
  • Hist 322: Race and Ethnicity in Latin America
  • Hist 480: Latin American History from Below
  • Core 193: Brazil


Amazonia and Brazil; native peoples under colonial rule; autonomous native groups; mobility and migration; maps and historical geography; borderlands; ethnohistory

My current book project examines the shift toward peace agreements and greater social and commercial interaction between Portuguese colonial society and independent Indian nations in late-colonial Brazil.  We know a good deal about why colonial authorities pursued these agreements in the context of imperial border disputes, but our understanding of indigenous motivations and political strategies remains limited. This project revolves around case studies of three indigenous nations from different regions of Brazil: the Guaicuru in the far west, the Mura in the north, and the Kayapó do Sul in the central region.  Sources come from the regional archives of Cuiabá, Belém, and Goiânia, as well as from collections in Rio de Janeiro and Lisbon.


  • Picker Fellowship, Colgate Research Council (2014)
  • ACLS/SSRC/NEH International and Area Studies Fellowship (2013-2014)
  • Garrison Fellowship for most creative scholarly project, Colgate University (2012)
  • Warren Dean Prize, honorable mention, for most significant work of Brazilian history (2011)
  • Tibesar Prize for most distinguished article in The Americas (2010)
  • Helen Hornbeck Tanner Award, American Society for Ethnohistory (2009)
  • Mabelle McLeod Lewis Dissertation Fellowship (2008-2009)
  • Fulbright-Hays Research Abroad Fellowship for Brazil (2006-2007)
  • Mellon Fellowship in Humanistic Studies (2003-2004)