Elizabeth Fenn

Elizabeth Fenn is a historian of the early American West, with particular interests in epidemic disease, Native American, and environmental history.  Her aim is to develop a continent-wide analysis that incorporates Native Americans as well as African, European, and Russian colonizers into a narrative that reflects the demographic and geographic realities of the early contact era.  Her 2001 book, Pox Americana: The Great Smallpox Epidemic of 1775-82 (Hill and Wang), unearthed the devastating effects of a terrible smallpox epidemic that coursed across North America during the years of the Revolutionary War.  Her current book project, Encounters at the Heart of the World: A History of the Mandan People (Hill and Wang, forthcoming), analyzes the experience of North Dakota’s Mandan Indians from 1100 to 1845.