NeMLA 2012 Roundtable - American Indian Literary Nationalism

full name / name of organization: 
Justine Dymond, Springfield College
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American Indian Literary Nationalism Roundtable
Northeast Modern Language Association 2012 Conference
March 15-18, 2012
Rochester, NY

Recently, Native American Studies scholars, such as Craig Womack, Jace Weaver, and Robert Warrior, have argued for American Indian literary nationalism, arguing that "insider viewpoints are relevant and necessary in the examination of tribal literature" (Womack 377). Sovereignty is a key concept in literary nationalism; as Womack writes, "Stories provide key opportunities for community members to present images of themselves on their own terms, another powerful form of sovereignty" ("Theorizing American Indian Experience" 362).

For many scholars, literary nationalism may appear to position itself in contrast to postmodern theories that eschew borders of all kinds. And, yet, given the inadequacy of "post-" theories, such as postcolonial theory, in relation to peoples who are still experiencing colonialism, including legal challenges to territorial and cultural sovereignty, Native studies suggest that new approaches to Native literatures should be created and considered.

This roundtable aims to join that ongoing discussion which has significance for our scholarly work and teaching. The roundtable will address such questions as: What are ethical critical practices in scholarship on Native writers? How do we, as critics and teachers, avoid an approach to reading and discussing Native literatures that replicates a colonizing framework? How does the position of American Indian literary nationalism influence the work of Native and non-Native scholars and teachers of American Indian literature?

Send 300-500 word abstracts to by September 30, 2011.