Conference Reports

Native American Literature Symposium Minnesota, United States, 2nd - 4th March 2017

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In recent years, there has been an increase in Native American scholarship that attempts to consider separate and distinct histories, cultures and literatures in a comparative frame. My own research, focused on contemporary Native American and South African literature, engages with and builds on these projects. A comparative lens such as this enables us to ask what it means to be indigenous in specific settler-colonial spaces and expand the ways through which we analyse literary expressions of sovereignty and agency.

To explore this emerging field of inquiry, I co-organised a panel on ‘Native American Literature in a Global Context’ at the 2017 Native American Literature Symposium. The panel brought together scholars working on Native American literature in relation to diverse global contexts and included comparative perspectives exploring Native American literature in relation to South Africa, Palestine and Syria. I was able to participate in the event in Minnesota, thanks to the Faculty of Arts Researcher Mobility Award I received from the University of Leeds.

NALS was established in 2001 and is the primary conference for the study of Native American literature. The interdisciplinary program brought together influential and emerging voices in the field to discuss topics as diverse as: Standing Rock and #NoDAPL activist art, the use of Native languages in decolonization projects, and Indigenous masculinities in comics and video games. Participating in the conference allowed me to speak with leading scholars in the field and gain constructive feedback on my research. The panel enabled me to develop a network of scholars, authors and PhD students working in related areas, with the aim of collaborating on future projects. Following the conference, I plan to edit a special issue of Transmotion with my co-panellist Eman Ghanayem (University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign), building on the theme of ‘Native American Literature in a Global Context’. I will also be interviewing Choctaw author and scholar LeAnne Howe, who I met at NALS, for Wasafiri Magazine.

Rebecca Macklin, School of Languages, Cultures and Societies

Pages in this document

  1. Sixteenth Century Society Conference, Bruges, 18th-20th August 2016
  2. XVII EURALEX International Congress, 6th - 10th September 2016
  3. Eighth Rethymnon International Conference on the Ancient Novel, Rethymnon, 14th - 15th October 2016
  4. Native American Literature Symposium Minnesota, United States, 2nd - 4th March 2017
  5. Popular Culture Association and American Culture Association Joint National Conference, San Diego, 12th-15th April 2017
  6. The European Society for Literature, Science and the Arts (SLSAeu), Basel, 21st-24th June 2017
  7. The American Comparative Literature Association 2017 Annual Meeting, Utrecht, 6th-9th July 2017