Ryan Fong on E. Pauline Johnson, Priti Joshi responding
Please join us for our next p19 works-in-progress meeting on Friday November 13th at 4 pm Eastern for our discussion of Ryan Fong’s work in progress:
“Print Wampum: E. Pauline Johnson, Indigenous Survivance, and Colonial Print Culture”
with a response by Priti Joshi
Please note the unusual day and time.
We will send the paper along about a week before the meeting,
Please RSVP here if you plan to attend and we will send you the Zoom link on November 12th.
This paper analyzes the work of Canadian-Mohawk poet E. Pauline Johnson and the circulation of her work in Canadian newspapers and periodicals during the 1880s and 90s. The paper argues that Johnson cannily used the space of this colonial print culture to negotiate the demands of a settler culture that was forcibly and violently working to assimilate First Nations peoples across the continent. Rooted in a careful tracing of specific moments in her print history, this analysis of Johnson’s work seeks to more productively frame the persistent questions of authenticity and purity that have plagued her literary reception, especially regarding the depth of her affiliations with the Six Nations Haudenosaunee community. Instead, it uses her writing and its publication contexts to show how she used the multi-faceted and juxtapositional affordances of print to articulate a self-conscious presentation of Mohawk identity and practices. In undertaking this analysis, the paper makes an additional intervention by using and foregrounding the critical frameworks of Indigenous studies to read Johnson’s work, in ways that de-center white settler ideologies and aesthetic norms. By combining research by Haudenosaunee scholars on their cultural practices and ways of knowing with scholarship on Victorian periodical and print culture, particularly in the Canadian context, the paper reads Johnson’s work and her navigation of colonial print culture through the culturally specific lens of Haudenosaunee Wampum traditions.
Ryan Fong is Associate Professor of English at Kalamazoo College, where he also serves as the director of the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Program. He is the current faculty fellow at the Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership, where he is developing Indigenous-centered curricula for Kalamazoo College and working on restitution for the local Potawatomi tribes of Michigan. He has published essays in Nineteenth-Century Gender Studies, Victoriographies, and Victorian Literature and Culture, and his essay “The Stories Outside the African Farm: Indigeneity, Orality, and Unsettling the Victorian” recently appeared in the Spring 2020 “Undisciplining Victorian Studies” issue of Victorian Studies. He is finishing a book manuscript on nineteenth-century Indigenous literatures from across the British empire.
Priti Joshi is Professor of English at the University of Puget Sound, and is affiliated with the Asian Studies and the Gender & Queer Studies programs as well. She teaches nineteenth-century British literature and culture and post-colonial literatures & film. In British 19th c literature, she has published essays on Dickens, the Brontës, Frances Trollope, Henry Mayhew, and Edwin Chadwick; in Periodical Studies, publications include a paper on advertisements in Victorian Periodicals Review and on the India exhibit at the Crystal Palace in Museum History Journal. She has co-edited, with Susan Zieger, a special issue of the journal Amodern on “Ephemera and Ephemerality,” which includes her essay “Scissors-and-Paste: Ephemerality and Memorialization in the Archive of Indian Newspapers.” Her book Empire News: The Anglo-Indian Press Writes India is on English-language newspapers of the Bengal presidency between 1840 and 1860 and is forthcoming from SUNY Press in 2021.
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