Materials and Methods in Native American and Indigenous Studies: Completing the Turn
- The William and Mary Quarterly
- Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture
- Volume 75, Number 2, April 2018, 3rd series
- pp. 207-236
- Additional Information
Nearly two centuries ago, Native scholars and activists published calls for histories of their people that emphasized their humanity and agency and engaged Indigenous intellectual traditions. Renewing and extending their calls, this William and Mary Quarterly and Early American Literature joint Forum challenges early American studies to embrace the materials and methods of Native American and Indigenous Studies (NAIS). In the Forum introduction, we note that in more recent decades the New Indian History and early Native literary studies rearticulated calls for this turn; however, our assessment of the field demonstrates that we have yet to realize fully its potential. Foregrounding Native people as enduring agents, rather than representations, and centering Native peoples' and nations' intellectual, literary, and material histories requires sustained structural shifts in our field. Scholars working to complete early American studies' turn to NAIS, including the seven authors featured in this Forum, are generating new approaches to the field's established archives, periodizations, and geographic boundaries, along with expanded understandings of evidence and genre. We conclude by anticipating consequent institutional changes, from innovations in graduate training to exchanges with NAIS scholars and a reevaluation of terms central to our field, from colonial to history and literature.