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Best Ph.D. programs for American Indian Literature?


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I am hoping to study American Indian literature as well as other ethnic American literature. I have searched on my own, but I want to utilize your knowledge as well. Do you know schools with professors dedicated to American Indian literature?

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I strongly suggest looking at Ohio State, if you haven't yet done so (it may be helpful to post a list of schools you are considering, just to prevent repeated suggestions, and to be helpful to the many lurkers out there). Chadwick Allen does work on American Indian literature there. Another possibility is to look over Arizona State's interdisciplinary program in American Indian Studies. They offer 4 different graduate concentrations, one of which is Visual and Oral Cultures, which might suit your interests a bit. 

 

My apologies that these are the only two suggestions I have at the moment; hopefully more will come along.

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New to this website - is there a way to edit my first post?

 

Thank you for your suggestions! I limited my initial search to top 50 programs, so all of your suggestions were new to me with the exception of Arizona State. Ohio State I looked at before, but somehow I must have missed Chadwick Allen. I appreciate your school suggestions so far as I have come to realize that I am not going to be as strong of an applicant as I imagined myself to be. I've also changed how I think about rankings and decided that my priorities aren't necessarily best served by going to a top ranked school although that may be the case for others.

 

Other schools I have on my list are U.C. Riverside, Connecticut, Wisconsin-Madison, UCLA, Penn State,  Illinois--Urbana-Champaign, Emory, and Rice. Two other schools which are out of my reach (I'm sure) are Stanford and Columbia.

I also want to note that I am looking specifically for a literature program, not Native studies or American studies. I would be interested in a literature grad program at a university with with a Native American studies program as well, however.

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Lons, I probably hadn't realized that Lisa Slappey is not a professor. So far, I’ve only been able to find a couple schools with more than one person concentrating on American Indian literature. Thanks for your comment.

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Yeah, I just checked the website, and it looks like things are the same now.  So, again, she's great and I loved taking a class with her, but I would imagine the dynamics of having a lecturer for a supervisor are less than ideal and perhaps (??) not even possible.

 

I should add, though, that if you're also looking at African American Lit, Waligora-Davis is amazing.  I remember being slightly terrified by her depth of knowledge but she was also very friendly, approachable, and open to new stuff.

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I am hoping to study American Indian literature as well as other ethnic American literature. I have searched on my own, but I want to utilize your knowledge as well. Do you know schools with professors dedicated to American Indian literature?

 

Depending on your focus, you might want to expand your search north. Many Canadian schools employ a number of Aboriginal literature specialists - it's a growing field. If you do decide to apply to a Canadian department, I would recommend that you reconsider your terminology. My understanding is that the term "Indian" is mainly used in the U.S. - in general, it won't fly up here in an academic setting (even "Native" is iffy - certainly, on something as refined as an SOP, there are better, more specific (i.e. accurate) terms to use). You're likely more familiar with the field's politics than I am, so I'll just suggest that it's probably a good idea to tailor your terminology to that which is used on the websites of the departments you apply to.

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For what it's worth, I presented a paper on Native Lit in Canada and used that term the whole time.  I asked around before and after, and it didn't seem to be offensive or the wrong thing to do.  It was not a Native Lit conference, so maybe that's why it was ok?

 

Anyways, I agree with Roquentin about looking at Canada, but keep in mind that you may essentially relegate yourself to work in Canada afterwards.  If you want to work in the States, you will likely have to be very diligent about publications, networking, and generally outstripping your American counterparts.  

 

Oh, and I would not recommend McGill's program for Native Lit.  There are a few people who supposedly cover it, but not really.

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At UT, we have James Cox but also just a very strong Ethnic and Third World Lit program, in addition to a Native American and Indigenous Studies (NAIS) portfolio program that allows you to meet a lot of other professors in other departments.

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Roquentin and Lons,

 

You make a good point that there is no accepted term across the board. I always used to say “Native American” because an “Indian” could be from India. Then I realized that “Native American” is colonial terminology. I still use it sometimes, but no longer with the idea that it is PC, or that it should be considered PC.. Even though it’s inaccurate in that India is nowhere around here, I use “American Indian” (and then shorten it to “Indian” thereafter) because many Indians self-identify that way and my favorite author prefers that term. But of course, some identify as Native American or with their specific tribe.

 

I think that “First Nations” is the most common term in Canada, and “aboriginal” can work anywhere as well, but then you have to add more words to be more specific. I still have a lot more to learn about the politics and social issues, and until then I’ll be walking on egg shells.

 

 

GuateAmfeminist and poliscar, I am also considering Texas. The prof recently hired to teach N.A. Lit at Oregon came from Texas’s program. I think Berkeley would be in my top two, but I don’t think I could get in. I’ll look into it more.

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I've been told that First Nations is on the way out and aboriginal should have never been on the way in, but I have no idea.  It's one of these continually changing things.

 

(But then, isn't it supposed to be postindian at this point?)

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