Maria Katherine John

Maria John

Field: United States
Advisor: Mae Ngai
Year: 2009

Maria John is a PhD candidate in U.S. History, with interests in settler colonialism, indigenous history, public health, and comparative historical methodology. Her dissertation explores the history of health activism and advocacy among urban indigenous communities in Australia and the United States between 1950 and 1980. In particular, she focuses on indigenous advocacy for free, community-based healthcare clinics run by and for native people as an expression and realization of their political ideals and agenda of self-determination. Her research seeks to understand this indigenous health activism across two national contexts, and sets this against broader social movements of the time—global and local challenges to racism, the rise of the women’s health movement, the U.S. Civil Rights movement, the decolonization of former European colonies, and the rise of indigenous and human rights movements following World War II.

Before moving to New York, Maria lived in Melbourne, Australia, where she received a BA (Honours), and a MA in History, from Monash University. In 2012, she completed a MPhil in History at Columbia University, and a MA thesis, entitled: ‘Our fellow women” - Objects of knowledge and rescue: Indigenous women's bodies and white women's work in Australia and the United States, 1880-1940." In 2012, Maria co-founded the first graduate lead working group on Indigenous Studies at Columbia University, ‘The Collaborations on Indigenous Studies Project’. She has served as the graduate teaching coordinator within the History Department in 2012-2013.