As a cultural studies scholar with a primary emphasis on literature, I conduct most of my research in two related but different fields: im/migration/transnational fiction and indigenous futurism. This research has culminated in my dissertation, “Im/migration, Imbrication, and Indigenous America: On Transnational Tribal Culture, Revisive Play, and the Identity of Movement.”
I've been interested in articulating strategies and methods of response to occlusions of Native presence in popular culture, rendering visible the critical interrelationship of movement, cultural interaction, and im/migration between tribal-national spaces, Native people, and dominant American culture. My work seeks to presence Native histories, artistic production, and contemporary experiences in places where they are commonly restricted. I do so through attention to critical revisions of the assumptions on which those restrictions rely. To this end, my focus on revision specifically attends to what I term a “revisional aesthetic” composed of critical and constructive revisive play that is found in much artistic production by Native artist attending to this sort of work. Such revisive play, I argue, is a constitutive mechanism for the “presencing” of Native experiences within these commonly denied fields of experience, and I examine the effect of this revision and reframing across history, genre, and legalistic frameworks.
Examples of this work include a conference paper given at the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association (NAISA), wherein I offered an interpretation of the revisional aesthetic utilized in Sherman Alexie’s film The Business of Fancydancing. I gave an invited public lecture at Trinity College entitled “Rebel Alliances, the Force, and Other Good Medicine: Strategies of Indigenous Representation in the Visual Medium,” which examines Native visual artists’ revision of a popular science fiction franchise. I have since developed this talk into a chapter accepted for publication in a collection of essays on indigenous futurism forthcoming in 2018. Most recently at the 2018 MLA conference in New York I offered a literary analysis entitled “‘The truth is never in the facts’: Archival Profanation and Re-revisionist History in Stephen Graham Jones’ Ledfeather.”
Building on my talk at MLA, my current research project examines the ambivalent relationship many Native artistic producers have with archival materials. By examining the ways indigenous artists and writers have been "playing" with archival materials, I argue that many Native people "profane" the archive in manners described by Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben in his works Homo Sacer and Profanation. I am interested in exploring how the idea of consecration and profanation with regard to archive materials typifies a colonial discursive practice which produces a form of “bare fact” which Native artists interrogate through playful, revisional "profanation" of the archive. This counter-interpretive and historical-revisional approach returns the archive to the sphere of lived human experience and encourages multiple approaches to the construction, character, and relationship of memory, history, and narrative.
In the near future, I will continue my work within the broad field of Indigenous Futurism. I am currently in the beginning stages of a genealogical examination of the varied so-called "ethnic futurisms" of the late-20th century (afro-futurism, latinx-futurism, indigenous-futurism, etc.) and their connection to the first manifestation of futurism in early 20th-century Italy. Arguing that both movements operate as reactions to the technological and cultural effects of modernity generally and contemporaneous capitalist formations specifically, I intend to show how a comparative approach to these seemingly disparate cultural movements can yield productive political and cultural insights.
For more information on my research or to request a CV, research statement, or writing sample, please contact me directly.