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Trans-Indigenous: Methodologies for Global Native Literary Studies

Chadwick Allen
Copyright Date: 2012
Pages: 336
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  • Book Info
    Book Description:

    What might be gained from reading Native literatures from global rather than exclusively local perspectives of Indigenous struggle? InTrans-Indigenous, Chadwick Allen proposes methodologies for a global Native literary studies based on focused comparisons of diverse texts, contexts, and traditions in order to foreground the richness of Indigenous self-representation and the complexity of Indigenous agency.

    Through demonstrations of distinct forms of juxtaposition-across historical periods and geographical borders, across tribes and nations, across the Indigenous-settler binary, across genre and media-Allen reclaims aspects of the Indigenous archive from North America, Hawaii, Aotearoa New Zealand, and Australia that have been largely left out of the scholarly conversation. He engages systems of Indigenous aesthetics-such as the pictographic discourse of Plains Indian winter counts, the semiotics of Navajo weaving, and Maori carving traditions, as well as Indigenous technologies like large-scale North American earthworks and Polynesian ocean-voyagingwaka-for the interpretation of contemporary Indigenous texts. The result is a provocative reorienting of the call for Native intellectual, artistic, and literary sovereignty that fully prioritizes the global Indigenous.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-8276-8
    Subjects: Language & Literature, Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Introduction: Ands turn Comparative turn Trans-
    (pp. xi-xxxiv)

    Many of us are drawn to the comparative: to projects involving one or moreands,to processes of thinkingbetweenoramong,to conclusions that hinge onlikeandunlike.As students, we choose “compare and contrast” over the singular focus. As instructors, we ask our own students to set their chosen objects of study side by side with at least one (beloved, tolerated, or despised)other,in the hope that through an encounter with such situated configurations of voices, texts, and contexts they will be enabled to see individual poems, stories, novels, plays, memoirs, essays, graphic texts, activist texts,...

  5. Part I. Recovery / Interpretation

    • 1 “Being” Indigenous “Now”: Resettling “The Indian Today” within and beyond the U.S. 1960s
      (pp. 3-48)

      Autumn 2005 marked the fortieth anniversary of “The Indian Today,” the Fall 1965 special issue of theMidcontinent American Studies Journal (MASJ).Over the intervening four decades, while much changed for Indigenous peoples in what is now the United States, too much remained the same. For the interdisciplinary field of American Indian studies (AIS), though, advancement was substantial and dramatic. As the genealogies, backgrounds, and professional training of AIS practitioners broadened across two generations of graduate students and scholars, the field’s areas of study expanded from the social sciences and law into the arts and humanities and emerging interdisciplines. Drawing...

    • 2 Unsettling the Spirit of ’76: American Indians Anticipate the U.S. Bicentennial
      (pp. 49-98)

      Graffiti on the footpath declared, “FIRST FEET WERE ABORIGINAL,” and farther along, “YOU ARE STANDING ON ABORIGINAL LAND.” The concrete path meandered through grass and gum trees and then up a steep rise, eventually leading visitors to a scenic overlook where outcroppings of red rock framed postcard views of the famous Sydney Harbor. There, less than ten feet above the bold graffiti, another tourist readied his camera—not to record the legible evidence of a historic protest but rather to snap the expected souvenir of his wife on holiday. The woman positioned herself near the viewpoint’s protective railing, clutched her...

  6. Part II. Interpretation / Recovery

    • 3 Pictographic, Woven, Carved: Engaging N. Scott Momaday’s “Carnegie, Oklahoma, 1919” through Multiple Indigenous Aesthetics
      (pp. 101-142)

      The juxtapositions of the 2006 exhibitManawa—Pacific Heartbeat: A Celebration of Contemporary Maori and Northwest Coast Artmay have struck some viewers as unprecedented, perhaps as exotic or “unique.” In fact, they were built on a foundation of at least twenty-five years of active exchange among Māori and Northwest Coast First Nations artists, as well as on a series of collaborative exhibitions staged on both sides of the Pacific since the 1980s (Reading and Wyatt, 28). The catalog forManawa(which can be translated from Māori into English as “heart,” “breath,” “mind,” and related concepts) includes a coauthored essay...

    • 4 Indigenous Languaging: Empathy and Translation across Alphabetic, Aural, and Visual Texts
      (pp. 143-192)

      In the previous chapter I juxtapose serial readings of a single Indigenous poem, each interpretive installment based in a distinct Indigenous worldview and system of aesthetics. In this chapter I trace how a chain of readings can result from staging a series of purposeful juxtapositions of multiple texts composed by multiple, diverse Indigenous writers and artists. Inspiration for this more peripatetic methodology was seeded, in part, by Carter Revard’s essay “Herbs of Healing,” in which the Osage poet and esteemed scholar of medieval literature juxtaposes contemporary American Indian poems with non-Native U.S. and British “classics.” Revard’s project is expansive: Wallace...

    • 5 Siting Earthworks, Navigating Waka: Patterns of Indigenous Settlement in Allison Hedge Coke’s Blood Run and Robert Sullivan’s Star Waka
      (pp. 193-248)

      In a 1986 interview with Louis Owens (Choctaw/Cherokee), N.Scott Momaday warns that increasing light pollution in the U.S. desert Southwest represents far more than a technical problem for astronomers or an aesthetic nuisance for artists and romantics who turn their eyes skyward alongside professional watchers of the stars. For all citizens, Momaday argues, light pollution represents a moral dilemma. For those who identify as Indigenous, whether living in the southwestern deserts of what is now the United States or in diverse land- and waterscapes around the globe, such pollution represents a potential crisis of kinship. If light pollution continues to...

  7. Notes
    (pp. 249-278)
  8. Bibliography
    (pp. 279-294)
  9. Index
    (pp. 295-301)
  10. Back Matter
    (pp. 302-302)