Methodologies for Global Native Literary Studies
Publication Year: 2012
What might be gained from reading Native literatures from global rather than exclusively local perspectives of Indigenous struggle? In Trans-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-voyaging waka—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.
Published by: University of Minnesota Press
Series: Indigenous Americas
Title Page, Other Works in the Series, Copyright, Dedication
Support for this project was generously provided by a grant-in-aid from the Division of Arts and Humanities at The Ohio State University; a Lannan Summer Institute in American Indian Studies at the Newberry Library in Chicago; an NEH Summer Seminar on “Reimagining Indigenous Cultures: ...
Introduction: Ands turn Comparative turn Trans-
Many of us are drawn to the comparative: to projects involving one or more ands, to processes of thinking between or among, to conclusions that hinge on like and unlike. As students, we choose “compare and contrast” over the singular focus. ...
Part I: Recovery/Interpretation
Chapter 1: "Being" Indigenous "Now": Resettling "The Indian Today" within and beyond the U.S. 1960s
Autumn 2005 marked the fortieth anniversary of “The Indian Today,” the Fall 1965 special issue of the Midcontinent 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. ...
Chapter 2: Unsettling the Spirit of ’76: American Indians Anticipate the U.S. Bicentennial
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. ...
Part II: Interpretation/Recovery
3. Pictographic, Woven, Carved: Engaging N. Scott Momaday’s “Carnegie, Oklahoma, 1919” through Multiple Indigenous Aesthetics
The juxtapositions of the 2006 exhibit Manawa—Pacific Heartbeat: A Celebration of Contemporary Maori and Northwest Coast Art may 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, ...
Chapter 4: Indigenous Languaging: Empathy and Translation across Alphabetic, Aural, and Visual Texts
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. ...
Chapter 5: Siting Earthworks, Navigating Waka: Patterns of Indigenous Settlement in Allison hedge Coke’s Blood Run and Robert Sullivan’s Star Waka
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. ...
About the Author
Chadwick Allen is professor of English at The Ohio State University. He is the author of Blood Narrative: Indigenous Identity in American Indian and Maori Literary and Activist Texts.