Charting Transnational Native American Studies: Aesthetics, Politics, Identity (11/15/2009)

full name / name of organization: 
Eric L. Martinsen / Journal of Transnational American Studies

Charting Transnational Native American Studies: Aesthetics, Politics, Identity

Deadline for full consideration: November 1, 2009

Guest-edited by Philip J. Deloria, Hsinya Huang, John Gamber, and Laura Furlan

In the context of an increasingly transnational globe, the master narratives of time and place have been open to various rethinkings. In hemispheric American indigenous cultures, central coordinates for the construction of individual and collective identity have emerged around spatial notions of homeland, territory, migrancy, diaspora, and removal. Equally critical have been complex understandings of layered, recurrent, multidimensional, and sacred time. These ways of thinking space and time have originated from multiple contexts, including tribal, cross-tribal, hemispheric and global exchange. They demonstrate multiple and longstanding forms of both tribal-national and transnational orientation. At the same time, methodological borderlines between inquiries into cultural impact, identity and politics, on the one hand, and analyses of literary, aesthetic and stylistic qualities, on the other, are also being redrawn, diversifying and complicating a discussion concerning the current place of Native Studies at large. These conversations are themselves explicitly transnational in nature—though perhaps not always visible in that form. This forum seeks to present work in transnational Native American studies and investigate the transnational dimensions of the field itself.

Nationalistic approaches, which have come to the fore in a number of areas of Native American studies, have clear pragmatic importance for American Indian people and nations. Intellectually productive as well, such approaches nonetheless run the risk of oversimplifying complex tribal identities, erasing broad networks of interaction and community, and smoothing indigenous histories that have always included transnational elements. How might we think about the relation between nation and sovereignty, and how do we consider those concepts in relation to "post-sovereignty" arguments that position them within a colonizing Western frame? What are the critical genealogies of indigenous nationhood? More important, what does it mean to put such questions in a transnational frame—not only in terms of the global flow of people, ideas, and capital, but also in relation to the political and aesthetic situations defined by particular tribal nations? In what ways have indigenous conceptions of nationhood—and the movements between nations—challenged and complicated European and other colonial understandings of the nation? What kinds of advantages and disadvantages inhere in comparative global approaches to indigeneity, particularly in relation to tribal and national narratives that have been central to much of American Indian studies? How do indigenous American artistic expressions establish, reshape, challenge, and/or complement the formation of communities and collective cultural and literary entities? How, in these processes, do longstanding notions of homeland and nation interact with new modes of community formation and literary expression, drawn across spatial and temporal borderlines?

This special forum seeks to address some of the issues surrounding place and mobility, aesthetics and politics, identity and community, and the tribal and the global indigenous, all of which have emerged in the larger frameworks of transnational American Studies. We wish to contextualize Native American literatures and histories not only across national boundaries but also across the disciplines of literary and cultural studies. The editors of Journal of Transnational American Studies thus invite contributions that explore the consequences of transnationalism for Native American Studies, American Studies, and for the field of literary and cultural criticism in general.

Submission Guidelines

Please submit manuscripts electronically at and indicate Special Forum when prompted for "Type of Submission."

Submissions should not exceed 10,000 words, including endnotes, and are accepted on a rolling basis. Please follow the Chicago Manual of Style and include an abstract (not to exceed 250 words) and keywords. Submission guidelines and the style guide for JTAS can be found on our website at

Authors retain copyright for all content published in The Journal of Transnational American Studies (JTAS). However, authors grant to the journal the right to make available such content, in any format, in perpetuity. Authors may reproduce, in other contexts, content to which they possess the copyright, although in any subsequent publications JTAS should be acknowledged as the original publisher.


Caroline Kyungah Hong & Eric L. Martinsen
Managing Editors
Journal of Transnational American Studies (JTAS)