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From Poverty to Assimilation: Thomas Jefferson on Native Americans as Indigent People
Published June 25, 2022

Thomas Jefferson has long been noted for his vested academic interest in Native Americans, whom he considered to be a doomed, yet, through assimilation, a redeemable race—who in his view were people living in poverty; an aspect of Jefferson’s vision of the indigenous peoples of North America which has so far been ignored. This essay therefo...re claims that Jefferson’s general concern with them was also fueled by his understanding of Native Americans as people whose way of life relegated them into the condition of indigence by definition—a state Jefferson wished to alleviate. Drawing on Jefferson’s ideas of political economy, combined with a perspective provided by early American poverty studies, I argue that his republican ideal of free-holding male household heads was also a key to his conception of Native American poverty as well as to his solution to it. In his view, gender roles and practices within the Native communities prevented male heads from adapting to the Euro-American ideals. In Jefferson’s eyes, women’s contribution to basic activities of sustenance, thus, rendered their spouses incapable of providing for their families by the Euro-American standard of the gender division of labor. He regarded them as indigents because of their actual mode of sustenance, but a desirable shift to white ways, Jefferson implied, held the promise for them to get out of destitution. (ZV)

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Vonnegut Reinvented
Published December 5, 2021

Book review:

McInnis, Gilbert. Kurt Vonnegut, Myth and Science in the Postmodern World. New York: Peter Lang Publishing, 2020. 184 pages. ISBN 978-1-4331-7435-3. Hb. CAD 42.08.

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Imagined Homeland: Inummariit as the Basis for the Concept of Inuit Nationhood
Published January 4, 2021

The Arctic is home to many distant and distinct Inuit communities and dialects. The strength of the Inuit originates in their being tethered to the same ancient narrative harkening back to common ancestral traditions, songs, and stories that characterize the Inummariit, the “real Inuk.” The wisdom of these traditions called qua...jimajatuqangit, or Inuit knowledge, is the key to creating nationhood among the Inuit via unikkausivut, sharing stories. This paper examines how affirming shared roots, common goals, and speaking with a united voice—the credo of the Circumpolar Council, the prime Inuit organization in the North—has helped establish an Inuit national identity for all Inuit living in several different regions and countries across the Arctic. In Canada, the creation of the semi-sovereign territory of Nunavut and the acknowledgement of the Inuit Nunangat, or homeland, have further aided the Inuit in redefining themselves. (RN)

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After the “Post,” in the Present: New Perspectives on Nationhood
Published December 5, 2021

Review essay:

Charles, Mark, and Soong-Chan Rah. Unsettling Truths: The Ongoing Dehumanizing Legacy of the Doctrine of Discovery. Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 2019. Print.

Herlihy-Mera, Jeffrey. After American Studies: Rethinking the Legacies of Transnational Exceptionalism. Routledge Advances in American Histo...ry 8. New York: Taylor and Francis, 2018. Print.

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“Another spirit, other thoughts, another colouring”: Performances of Race in Antonín Dvořák’s Symphony No. 9 From the New World
Published June 26, 2020

The Czech composer Antonín Dvořák wrote his Symphony No. 9 in E minor (From the New World) in 1893 while he served as the director of the National Conservatory of Music in New York City. In the work, he intended to portray the US and establish its musical vernacular. Dvořák believed that a truly American school of classical compos...ition must evoke the character of its indigenous and folk music which he identified with Native American and African American styles. Through a musicological analysis, the essay offers cultural criticism of how the symphony represents these musical traditions and, in turn, the indigenous and black peoples who produced them. I argue that the symphony alludes to Native and black Americans in inaccurate and, at times, objectionable terms, but does so through a musical aesthetic that warrants a more nuanced conclusion about the racial content of the composition. (NS-Y)

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Black Flânerie, Non-White Soundscapes, and the Fantastic in Teju Cole’s Open City
Published January 4, 2021

This essay develops an alternative notion of Black flânerie, one that foregrounds the flâneur’s auditory experiences and practices in the city, explaining how sound patterns work as indexes of historical traumas such as slavery, colonialism, and indigenous dispossession. More specifically, it investigates how sound and space are connected a...nd what these connections may reveal about acoustical and historical conditions of urban sites. Analyses advance readings of spaces as shadowed by sonic traces, echoes, afterlives, and memories, which point to the sedimentation of sound in geographic as well as psychic structures and ruptures and hence show how different soundscapes suggest different forms of relationality: alienation, rupture, intersection, connection, and transformation. Finally, it demonstrates how sound imagery—including music, dialects, noise, voices, and silence—functions to signal fantastic spaces and places, fantastic or speculative linkages in particular, and produces a version of the non-White fantastic. (DKM)

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Pocahontas Incarcerated: An Activist’s Account of Early Twentieth-Century Native America
Published June 26, 2020

Book review:

Ackley, Kristina, and Cristina Stanciu, eds. Laura Cornelius Kellogg: Our Democracy and the American Indian and Other Works. New York: Syracuse UP, 2015. xxviii + 301 pages. ISBN 978-0-8156-3390-7. Hb. Npr.

 

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