american literature · dissertation · Ethnicity Studies · graduate school · Native American Studies

notes on Todd Downing

I’m working on the final chapter in my dissertation. The focus is Todd Downing, an Oklahoma-born Choctaw who wrote detective fiction in the 1930s and 1940s. His featured detective, Hugh Rennert, works for the U.S. Department of the treasury–work that often takes him into Mexico where he finds himself the witness or bystander in murder…… Continue reading notes on Todd Downing

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

Ethnicity Studies · graduate school · Native American Studies

Brief thoughts on Chadwick Allen’s Blood Narrative

Chadwick Allen’s Blood Narrative presents an interesting problem for me. It’s an excellent book, performing a comparison and analysis of activism and literature of American Indians and Maoris in the early contemporary period. Allen examines many of the ways that Maoris and American Indians situations differed in terms of politics, demographic, and population. The main differences for Maoris…… Continue reading Brief thoughts on Chadwick Allen’s Blood Narrative

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 · graduate school

I’m reading Scott Richard Lyons’ book X-Marks: Native Signatures of Assent this week. That, along with his articles,  “Actually Existing Indians Nations: Modernity, Diversity, and the Future of Native American Studies.”  [American Indian Quarterly 35.3 (2011): 294-312] and “Rhetorical Sovereignty: What do American Indians Want from Writing?” [CCC 51.3 (2000): 447-468] have broadened the way I think about Native…… Continue reading