Feb 21st 2020

Just as a basket’s purpose determines its materials, weave, and shape, so too is the purpose of the essay related to its material, weave, and shape. Editors Elissa Washuta and Theresa Warburton ground this anthology of essays by Native writers in the formal art of basket weaving. Using weaving techniques such as coiling and plaiting as organizing themes, the editors have curated an exciting collection of imaginative, world-making lyric essays by twenty-seven contemporary Native writers from tribal nations across Turtle Island into a well-crafted basket.

Shapes of Native Nonfiction features a dynamic combination of established and emerging Native writers, including Stephen Graham Jones, Deborah Miranda, Terese Marie Mailhot, Billy-Ray Belcourt, Eden Robinson, and Kim TallBear. Their ambitious, creative, and visionary work with genre and form demonstrate the slippery, shape-changing possibilities of Native stories. Considered together, they offer responses to broader questions of materiality, orality, spatiality, and temporality that continue to animate the study and practice of distinct Native literary traditions in North America.


Friday, February 21 at 12:30pm
Social Science Research Building – 1126 E 59th St, Room 302
Lunch will be provided


Elissa Washuta is a member of the Cowlitz Indian Tribe and a nonfiction writer. She is the author of Starvation Mode and My Body Is a Book of Rules, named a finalist for the Washington State Book Award. She has received fellowships and awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, Creative Capital, Artist Trust, 4Culture, and Potlatch Fund. Elissa is an assistant professor of creative writing at the Ohio State University.

Theresa Warburton lives in Lummi, Nooksack, and Coast Salish Territories in Bellingham, WA. She is an Associate Professor of English at Western Washington University where she is also an affiliate faculty in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and Canadian-American Studies. She is also the author of Other Worlds Here: Native Women’s Literatures and Contemporary Anarchist Movements, forthcoming from Northwestern University Press.

Sponsored by The Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality, the UChicago Comparative Literature, and the Pozen Family Center for Human Rights.

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