Professional and Biographical Information

degrees

Ph.D., University of Michigan, 2011
M.A.L.S., Dartmouth College, 2006
M.A., Columbia University’s Teachers College, 1998
B.A.,Tufts University, 1997
 

academic and research interests

My research interests center on a history of representations of and by Native peoples from the Americas, and in particular concern the turn of the twentieth century moment. My current book project, "Stories in Red and Write: Indian Intellectuals and the American Imagination, 1880-1930," examines the cultural production of four prominent Indian intellectuals: Charles Eastman, Carlos Montezuma, Gertrude Bonnin, and Luther Standing Bear within the shifting social and political milieu of the early twentieth century. Using collective cultural biography as my analytical framework, I argue that these figures were integral to the shaping of debates concerning citizenship and race within American society during the early twentieth century. I identify this cohort as part of a wider network of Indian people whose work as writers, activists, and performers demand a re-imagining of American history. For instance, in looking at Charles Eastman as a public face for Indian people, I demonstrate how he successfully navigated circuits of power made possible by academia, the literary marketplace, and the federal government’s Indian Service. I use those insights to argue that Eastman’s story gives us access to a critical historical period in which Indian people became central in influencing both culture and politics in the United States. Building similar arguments across four individuals and the networks in which they were enmeshed, I am able to illustrate the depth and importance of Indian cultural production during this period.

In addition to the book, I am currently working on a chapter titled, "Sacred Spaces: American Indians and National Parks in U.S. Cultural History from 1877 to Today." This project is supported by a Newberry Library seminar where I will be able to workshop a draft of my chapter with other scholars. Together we aim to produce a new textbook for college professors that will be published by UNC press and is tentatively titled: "Why U.S. History Needs Indians." I am also currently writing an article-length piece about the work of a Fox Nation anthropologist, William Jones, which chronicles his educational background and the consequences of his work in the Philippines as an agent of U.S. imperialism. My current projects are driven both by archival research and questions related to the production of knowledge by academic fields in the context of their origins, as well as how we might use this knowledge today to rethink the category of "Indian" within American society and culture. Moreover, I aim to highlight the critical necessity of studying American Indian peoples' past and present within U.S. history to not only complicate what we think we know but to challenge pervasive narratives that have sought to marginalize or diminish contributions by indigenous peoples and cultures to the modern world.

teaching interests

Before I was an author and a researcher, I was a teacher. After receiving a master’s degree from Teachers College at Columbia University, I gained valuable experience as a high school history teacher in New York City. I have also taught a number courses dealing with issues and themes concerning race, politics, and power at the University of Michigan and at Williams College. Now at Amherst, I am excited to be teaching “Rethinking Pocahontas: An Introduction to Native American Studies.” In this course, we explore the major debates, themes, and issues that define the field of Native American Studies. I am also happy to be collaborating with staff and faculty who work at or are affiliated with the Writing Center as I teach a writing intensive course: “Writing Ourselves into Existence: Politics, Culture, and Rhetoric.” All of my courses draw on my training in American Studies and enable students to work with tools used by historians and literary scholars as well as an array of interdisciplinary approaches stemming from various ethnic studies fields. I structure my courses to reflect my pedagogical view of a constructivist classroom, where the students and I work together to establish ground rules for discussion and participation. Students learned to draw on their prior knowledge and create interrogative and engaging analytical questions based upon assigned readings. With my guidance, the students themselves often lead many of our discussions. I look forward to designing and teaching new courses to offer at Amherst, including one this spring that focuses on the intersections of African American and Native American studies, and titled: “Red/Black Literature:  At the Crossroads of Native American and African American Literary Histories.”

awards and honors

Faculty Seminar on “Comparison” sponsored by the Oakley Center for the Humanities, Williams College (2012-2013)

Amherst College Faculty Writing Seminar, Fall 2012

Gaius Charles Bolin Fellowship, American Studies Program, Williams College (2010-2012)

Rackham Dissertation Completion Fellowship, Rackham Graduate School, University of Michigan (Spring/Summer 2011)

Andrew W. Mellon Dissertation Seminar in the Humanities, University of Michigan (May/June 2010)

Rackham Research Partnership Grant, University of Michigan (2010)

Edward A. Bouchet Graduate Honor Society (Inducted in 2010)

Rackham Graduate Student Research Grant Award (Fall 2009)

Program in American Culture Research Travel Award (Fall 2009)

GROCS (Grant Research Opportunities – Collaborative Spaces) Award for: “Digitizing Knowledge: Exploring Archival Collections in Virtual Spaces,” University of Michigan (Winter 2009)

Frances C. Allen Fellowship, the Newberry Library of Chicago (Summer 2007)

American Culture Program Fellowship, University of Michigan (2006-2011)

Calderwood Fellow: the Calderwood Writing Initiative at the Boston Athenaeum (2006)

Dartmouth College Master of Arts in Liberal Studies Scholarship Award (2004-2005)

selected publications

Review of The Transit of Empire: Indigenous Critiques of Colonialism, by Jodi A. Byrd, Western Historical Quarterly published by Utah State University. (Forthcoming)

“Red/Black Literature” in The Oxford Handbook of Indigenous American Literatures edited by Daniel Heath Justice and James H. Cox, and co-authored with Tiya Miles (Forthcoming)

Review of The Art of Americanization at the Carlisle Indian School, by Hayes Peter Mauro, Pennsylvania History: A Journal of Mid-Atlantic Studies (Summer 2012)

“Turn of the Century Indian Intellectualism: Language and Literacy in Simon Pokagon’s Queen of the Woods” in O-gi-maw-kwe Mit-i-gwa-ki (Queen of the Woods) by Simon Pokagon, with a foreword by Philip J. Deloria, and essays by John N. Low, Margaret Noori, and Kiara M. Vigil. American Indian Studies Series, edited by Gordon Henry (Lansing: Michigan State University Press, March 2011)

Author of art exhibit labels for: “Don’t Fence U.S. In: Crossing Boundaries in American Art” (April 7, 2011-June 12, 2012) and “Label Talk: 2011 Art of the Ancient World” (March 12, 2011 – July 13, 2011), Williams College Museum of Art, Williamstown, MA

Review of Restoring the Chain of Friendship: British Policy and the Indians of the Great Lakes, 1783-1815, by Timothy Willig, The Michigan Historical Review published by Central Michigan University Press (May 2011)

Webpage: “Lesbians Between the World Wars” from www.OutHistory.org copyright 2008. This website grew out of a project for a graduate course taught by Esther Newton at the University of Michigan. (Fall of 2006)

works in progress

Book Manuscript: “Stories in Red and Write: Indian Intellectuals and the American Imagination, 1880-1930”

“Sacred Spaces: American Indians and National Parks in U.S. Cultural History, 1877-Today” in Why You Can’t Teach U.S. History Without Indians. University of North Carolina Press (chapter)

“William Jones: Indian, Anthropologist, Murder Victim” for the American Quarterly (article)