Guest Editor's Introduction Indigenous Wests: Literary and Visual Aesthetics Susan Bernardin In her introduction to the SpringSummer 2013 issue of Western American Literature, a double issue highlighting the work of younger scholars in western American literary studies, Krista Comer forecasts future directions for the field. In considering such keywords as critical regionalism, Comer notes that "the most stark and enduring challenge to a field historically (if imperfectly) committed to an ethics of place has to do with indigenous studies and peoples and their demands for recognition of sovereignty claims as well as for indigenous spaces as `closed' or `bounded'" (11). At the end of her introduction she returns by way of analogy to the "challenge" Indigenous studies might present to western American literary studies. Recounting her plenary session on critical regionalism at the 2010 Western American Literature conference, Comer recalls posing the question: "[H]ow critical is a critical regionalism that is not actively feminist?" (14). She then quotes fellow panelist Chad Allen's rejoinder: "How critical is a critical regionalism that does not center on indigeneity?" (14). This special issue on Indigenous Wests takes up Comer's and Allen's call, while also suggesting productive spaces of dialogue between Native studies
Western American Literature – The Western Literature Association
Published: May 10, 2014
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