NEMLA 2015 CFP: Reading Indigenous Literatures of North America in the Absence of Western Theory

full name / name of organization: 
Carrie Louise Sheffield University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Reading Indigenous Literatures of North America in the Absence of Western Theory

This panel invites papers that read Indigenous texts via Indigenous theoretical lenses. Key questions to consider are "how can Indigenous texts be read and analyzed without falling back on Western theoretical traditions?" And "what is Indigenous theory?" This panel welcomes various paper topics including:

1. The state of Indigenous theory/theories—present and future;
2. Commentary on important moments/critics from the past;
3. Application of Indigenous theory to Indigenous American texts (literature, art, music, pop-culture, etc.).

In recent years, there has been a growing call for Indigenous studies scholars to relocate their criticism within a more Indigenous framework and while doing so, recognize the crucial role Indigenous theoretical perspectives must play in the process. Inspired by Gordon Henry, Nieves Pascual Soler, and Silvia Martínez-Falquina's Stories Through Theories: Theories Through Stories, Simon Ortiz' "Towards a National Indian Literature: Cultural Authenticity in Nationalism" and Jace Weaver, Craig Womack, and Robert Allen Warrior's American Indian Literary Nationalism, this panel will be a site for scholars and theorists (both Indigenous and non-Indigenous) in the fields of Native American and First Nations literatures to illustrate where they see their respective fields heading and construct critical perspectives outside of western ideologies. A key goal of this panel is to offer alternatives to the dominance of western critical theory in analysis of the Indigenous literatures of the North America. The goal here is not to argue for/against who can/cannot participate in criticism of Indigenous literature, but rather, to investigate how to analyze Indigenous literatures without falling back on the crutches of Western critical perspectives and ideologies.

Please submit abstracts of 500 words in .doc, .docx, or .rtf format to by 30 August 2014 to the NEMLA Site via the following URL: