The humanities are essential for society because they are explorations into the complexities of life. I was drawn to the discipline of history precisely because history is so concerned about asking question of the human experience. Drawing on the arts, political science, philosophy, and economics, among others, history asks questions of our collective ancestors in order to better understand our present and our place in the world.

I formally embarked down this path when I graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with my B.A. in history. After serving a one-year position with AmeriCorps in St. Paul, MN I pursued a Ph.D. in early American history from Michigan State University. Through a study of the events surrounding the 1825 Prairie du Chien treaty council, my dissertation, “Contested Authority: Indigenous Borderlands of the Western Great Lakes” explored relations between the United States, Anishinaabeg, and Dakota of the 18th and 19th century Great Lakes. In 2017-2018 I was a NASNTI post-doctoral fellow at the University of Minnesota, Morris. Currently I am a Visiting Assistant Professor at Macalester College in St. Paul, MN.

I have teach a variety of courses related to United States history including early American history, Indigenous America history, American Colonial to Revolutionary history, American Presidential history, and history of the American environmental movement. When not thinking about history I can usually be found cheering for my beloved Minnesota United and West Ham soccer clubs, mountain biking throughout Minnesota, or canoeing one of the many waterways that makes this region of the country so special.

For more on my current teaching and research please see the Research and Writing tabs. I can be contacted at jjurss@macalester.edu.


Hiking in Makȟóšiča