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KU English hosts Northwestern professor’s talk about Native American Literature

Thursday, September 10, 2020

LAWRENCE – Kelly Wisecup, associate professor of English and co-director of the Center for Native American and Indigenous Research at Northwestern University, will deliver a virtual lecture sponsored by the University of Kansas Department of English titled “Indigenous Reading in the Archives of Empire: Simon Pokagon’s Birchbark Object Lesson.” The event is at 1 p.m. Sept. 18 at via Zoom. This is the English department's annual American/British Lecture, which is free and open to the public.

During the talk, Wisecup will share her research on Potawatomi leader Simon Pokagon’s birchbark pamphlet, “The Red Man’s Rebuke,” which circulated at the 1893 Columbian Exposition and Chicago World’s Fair. In the pamphlet, Pokagon criticized the fair’s celebration of Columbus and rewrote narratives of colonialism throughout the Americas. In addition to discussing this important but overlooked work of Native American literature, Wisecup will consider how Indigenous writers in the 19th century developed critical reading practices for colonial archives and exhibitions. Her presentation will be followed by a discussion with attendees about the implications of Pokagon’s work for Indigenous rights movements and debates about monuments in the 21st century.

Wisecup is the author of “Medical Encounters: Knowledge and Identity in Early American Literatures” (2013) and numerous articles, including an award-winning essay, “Completing the Turn: An Introduction to the Joint Forum on Native American and Indigenous Studies Materials and Methods,” co-written with Alyssa Mt. Pleasant and Caroline Wigginton. Her important scholarly edition of Edward Winslow’s “Good News from New England” appeared in 2014, and she has served as a guest editor for special issues of Atlantic Studies and a cross-over issue of Early American Literature and William & Mary Quarterly.

Wisecup is currently at work on a book titled “Assembled Relations: Compilation, Collection, and Native American Writing,” which “studies Native American literary practices of memory and place making in the 18th and 19th centuries.” Her talk comes from this project.

For more information about accessing this event, please contact Laura Mielke at lmielke@ku.edu.