The Forms of National Belonging: The Politics of Citizenship in Nineteenth-Century Native American Print Poetry


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships




This project reads a largely untouched archive of Native American poetry as it engages with US treaty discourse throughout the 1800s. Demonstrating the surprising popularity of Native poetry in nineteenth-century US literary culture, it argues that disenfranchised Native populations took advantage of this popularity, adopting Euro-American poetic genres to participate in important political conversations around land, race, and the rights of citizenship. “The Forms of National Belonging” constructs a genealogy of poetry written in English, Creek dialect, Anishinaabemowin, and Cherokee as it addresses the evolving terms of US political inclusion. It therefore challenges the literary field’s preoccupation with Native oral traditions by reorienting American literary history toward a rich record of American Indian print.