american literature · Ethnicity Studies · graduate school · Writing

Connecting the Dots: Intellectual Collage

I remember being part of a focus group my senior year as an undergraduate. It was my English Capstone course, and this sociology student came in and asked us questions about how we felt about the course. Most of us were disgruntled. The course seemed designed for students who had never held jobs and hadn’t…… Continue reading Connecting the Dots: Intellectual Collage

american literature · Ethnicity Studies · Ethnography · graduate school · Native American Studies · Writing

James Clifford and the Predicament of Culture

Early in my academic career, I encountered Paula Gunn Allen. A woman of Laguna-Sioux and Lebanese American heritage, she is the first indigenous studies scholar I encountered. I read her essay “Kochinnenako in Academe: Three Approaches to Interpreting a Keres Indian Tale” in my undergraduate literary and critical theory course. I was a senior, in my…… Continue reading James Clifford and the Predicament of Culture

american literature · fiction · graduate school

Faulkner’s Ecology: Thoughts on Light in August

I just finished reading William Faulkner’s Light in August. It’s not his most narratively complex novel, and perhaps one of the more readily accessible. Still, Faulkner often causes impatience because he doesn’t see fit to leave anything out. Every thought, every psychological crevice of every character is thoroughly explored. And, he doesn’t stop there. Faulkner…… Continue reading Faulkner’s Ecology: Thoughts on Light in August

Ethnicity Studies · graduate school · Native American Studies

The Irony of “Preservation”

I have little to say, so far. I’ve just started reading Cogewea: The Half-Blood by Mourning Dove (Hum-Ishu-Ma). The introduction discusses her relationship with Lucullus V. McWhorter, a “pioneer of encyclopedic interests.”  McWhorter encouraged Mourning Dove in her efforts as a writer, and she became the first recognized American Indian woman to write a novel. McWhorter, however,…… Continue reading The Irony of “Preservation”

Ethnicity Studies · Politics of Education · Teaching

Empathy, and recognizing humanity

“Sonny’s Blues” by James Baldwin has to be one of my favorite stories, and it paired perfectly today with my need to discuss racism with my students. There’s a line where the narrator says, “My trouble made his real.” And, later, Sonny says, “And I don’t know how I played, thinking about it now, but…… Continue reading Empathy, and recognizing humanity