Professional and Biographical Information


Ph.D.  Cornell University, 2004
M.A.   Boston College, 1998
B.A.    Goddard College, 1993

Academic and Research Interests

Professor Lisa Brooks teaches courses in Native American studies, early American literature and comparative American Studies. She received her Ph.D. in English, with a minor in American Indian Studies, from Cornell University in 2004. Before coming to Amherst, she was John L. Loeb Associate Professor of the Humanities at Harvard University. Her first book, The Common Pot: The Recovery of Native Space in the Northeast (University of Minnesota Press 2008) reframes the historical and literary landscape of the American northeast. Illuminating the role of writing as a tool of community reconstruction and land reclamation in indigenous social networks, The Common Pot constructs a provocative new picture of Native space before and after colonization. The Media Ecology Association honored the book with its Dorothy Lee Award for Outstanding Scholarship in the Ecology of Culture for 2011.

Although deeply rooted in her Abenaki homeland, Professor Brooks’s work has been widely influential in a global network of scholars. She co-authored the collaborative volume, Reasoning Together: The Native Critics Collective (University of Oklahoma Press 2008), which was recognized by the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association (NAISA) as one of the Ten Most Influential Books in Native American and Indigenous Studies of the First Decade of the Twenty-First Century.  She also wrote the “Afterword” for American Indian Literary Nationalism (University of New Mexico Press 2006), which won the Beatrice Medicine Award for Scholarship in American Indian Studies. In 2009, Brooks was elected to the inaugural Council of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association, and she currently serves on the Editorial Board of Studies in American Indian Literatures. In addition to her scholarly work, Brooks serves on the Advisory Board of Gedakina, a non-profit organization focused on indigenous cultural revitalization, educational outreach, and community wellness in New England. She is currently working on a book project, “Turning the Looking Glass on Captivity and King Philip’s War,” which places early American texts, including Mary Rowlandson’s captivity narrative, within the historical and literary geography of Native space.

Teaching Interests

In teaching courses at Amherst, Professor Brooks strives to bring the participatory and deliberative systems of interaction, which she wrote about in The Common Pot, to the classroom. As in her writing, she seeks to root American literature and history within the geographic, historical and cultural networks of Native Space, emphasizing the wide range of literary media in the Americas, as well as the role of writing in the imagination of nationhood. She is especially thrilled to be part of the collaborative team that is developing “The Global Valley,” which represents the dynamic interactions among multiple and multifaceted American communities in the ancient indigenous trade route of the Connecticut River Valley.

Awards and Honors

Libra Professorship, University of Maine at Farmington, Spring 2012

New England Consortium Regional Fellowship, 2011

Media Ecology Association's Dorothy Lee Award for Outstanding Scholarship in the Ecology of Culture: The Common Pot, 2011

Native American and Indigenous Studies Association Prize: Reasoning Together. Voted one of the ten Most Influential Books in Native American and Indigenous Studies of the First Decade of the Twenty-First Century, 2011

Thomas Temple Hoopes Prize and Fay Prize, Senior Thesis (Advisor), Harvard University, 2011

Roslyn Abramson Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, Harvard University, 2008

Ford Foundation Post-Doctoral Diversity Fellowship, 2007-2008

Thomas Temple Hoopes Prize, Senior Thesis (Advisor), Harvard University, 2006

Stephen Botein Teaching Prize, History and Literature, Harvard University, 2005

Native Americans at Harvard College “Role Model of the Year” Award, 2004

Guilford Dissertation Prize for Highest Excellence in English Prose, Cornell University, 2004

Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellowship, 2002-2003

John Carter Brown Library Fellowship, May-June 2002

Kate B. and Hall J. Peterson Fellowship, American Antiquarian Society, Nov.-Dec. 2001

Frances C. Allen Fellowship, Newberry Library, July-August 2000

Jean Stroebel-Starr Memorial Award, 1997:  “Apprentice of the Year,” Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers

Selected Publications

  • The Common Pot: the Recovery of Native Space in the Northeast, University of Minnesota Press,Indigenous Americas Series, 2008

  •  “Digging at the Roots: Locating an Ethical, Native Criticism.”Reasoning Together: The NativeCritics Collective, University of Oklahoma Press, 2008.

  •  “Afterword: At the Gathering Place,” American Indian Literary Nationalism, by Robert Warrior, Jace Weaver, and Craig Womack, with a foreword by Simon Ortiz. University of New Mexico Press, 2006.

  • “Corn and Her Story Traveled: Reading North American Graphic Texts in Relation to Oral Traditions,” Thinking, Recording, and Writing History in the Ancient World, edited by Kurt Raaflaub,Wiley-Blackwell, 2013.
  • “The Primacy of the Present, the Primacy of Place: Navigating the Spiral of History in the Digital World" PMLA Theories and Methodologies Special Feature:  "The Long and the Short:  Problems in Periodization," March 2012.

  • “The Constitution of the White Earth Nation: A New Innovation in a Longstanding Indigenous Literary Tradition” Studies in American Indian Literatures 23:4, Special Issue on Constitutional Criticism, edited by James McKay, Winter 2011.

  • “Painting ‘Word-Pictures’ in Place: Maurice Kenny’s Empathetic Imagination of Tekonwatonti/Molly Brant, Maurice Kenny: Celebrations of a Mohawk Writer, edited by Penelope Kelsay, SUNY Press, 2011.

  • “The Reciprocity Principle and ITEK: Understanding the Significance of Indigenous Protest on The Presumpscot,” with Cassandra M. Brooks, International Journal of Critical Indigenous Studies 3:2, 2010.

  • “The Emergence of Sequoyah’s Syllabary in the Cherokee Nation, 1821.” A New Literary History of America, edited by Greil Marcus and Werner Sollors,  Harvard University Press, 2009.

  • "Indigenous Oral Traditions of North America, Then and Now." Companion to American Literature and Culture, edited by Paul Lauter, Blackwell, 2009.

  • “The Grandma Lampman’s Site,” with Louise Lampman Larivee, American Indian Places, ed. Frances Kennedy, Houghton Mifflin, 2008.