CFP: Native Transformations: Local, National, Transnational, Global, and Planetary Contexts for American Indian Literatures

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MELUS (Multi-Ethnic Literatures of the United States) Annual Conference (Boca Raton, FL, April 7th-10th, 2011)

In 1981, "Towards a National Indian Literature: Cultural Authenticity in Nationalism," an essay by Acqumeh poet Simon Ortiz, appeared in the journal MELUS. Ortiz describes the celebration of Catholic saints' days in New Mexico Pueblo communities, underscoring the meaning of such festivities within the context of Acqumeh culture. Ortiz does not suggest that this combination of cultural elements is a form of syncretism or hybridity; rather, he takes a nationalist stance, contending that a Christian ceremony or a European language, used within an American Indian cultural framework, becomes Indian: "There is not a question of authenticity here; rather, it is the way that Indian people have creatively responded to forced colonization" (10). As Native intellectuals Jace Weaver, Craig Womack, Robert Warrior have argued, Ortiz's essay is "foundational" (xvi) to American Indian literary nationalism.

Considering the 2011 MELUS conference's focus on the impact of globalization on American ethnic literatures, we invite papers that examine how Native American texts represent the transformation of European, Asian, African, or other cultural elements into American Indian tribal ways of being. Such transformations may take place within Native texts, in tribal communities, in borderlands communities, in U.S. urban environments, or elsewhere on the world stage. We are also interested in papers that investigate the tensions between global frameworks of analysis such as Atlantic studies, postcolonialism, transnationalism, or global indigenous studies and American Indian literary nationalism or other tribally-specific approaches.

Please send abstracts to Kirstin Squint ( and Eric Gary Anderson ( by October 18th, 2010.

For more information about the 2011 MELUS conference: