Book cover for Assembled for Use

Assembled for Use: Indigenous Compilation and the Archives of Early Native American Literatures

Kelly Wisecup in conversation with Lisa Brooks

Tuesday, August 1, 2023, at 7:00 pm ET

Approximately 60 minutes. This hybrid program will be held in person at Antiquarian Hall and livestreamed to a virtual audience on YouTube. Advance registration is required for both. Doors open at 6:30pm.

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Where and what are Indigenous archives? What reading practices have they generated historically, and what reading practices might scholars need to approach those archives in our own moment? Join us in-person or virtually as Dr. Kelly Wisecup examines how Indigenous writers in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century North America made archives within their own communities and how they strategically circulated their books into colonial archives. These acts of circulating Indigenous books generated reading practices that Indigenous writers brought to bear on the proliferating archives –from national repositories to local historical societies—that settlers were founding and expanding in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

In her 2021 publication, Assembled for Use: Indigenous Compilations and the Archives of Early Native American Literatures, Wisecup takes up intentionally assembled texts—recipes, lists, scrapbooks, and more—that Indigenous peoples made by juxtaposing and recontextualizing textual excerpts into new relations and meanings but that have not featured in histories of Native American literatures. Asking why this might be, she tells a story of how early American archives generated categories for defining and understanding Native American literatures and how Native American writers and readers revised and disrupted those categories in ways that bear on reading practices in the present.

Kelly WisecupKelly Wisecup is a professor of English at Northwestern University, where she is also a faculty affiliate of the Center for Native American and Indigenous Research. She is a literary and cultural historian whose work brings together early American studies, Native American and Indigenous Studies, and histories of books and archives. Her most recent books include Assembled for Use: Indigenous Compilation and the Archives of Early Native American Literatures (Yale, 2021) and Plymouth Colony: Narratives of English Settlement and Native Resistance from the Mayflower to King Philip’s War, coedited with Lisa Brooks (Library of America, 2022). She held a Kate B. and Hall J. Peterson Fellowship at the American Antiquarian Society in 2014 and was elected to AAS membership in 2022.

Lisa BrooksLisa Brooks is the Henry S. Poler ’59 Presidential Teaching Professor of English and American Studies at Amherst College. Among her many publications and accomplishments, Brooks is the author of Our Beloved Kin: A New History of King Philip’s War (Yale University Press, 2018), winner of the 2019 Bancroft Prize for American History and Diplomacy and five additional awards. Brooks is also the author of the award-winning The Common Pot: The Recovery of Native Space in the Northeast (University of Minnesota Press, 2008). In all her work, Brooks interweaves Indigenous methodologies, including a focus on language, place, and community engagement, with deep archival investigation. Elected to AAS membership in 2012, Brooks held a Kate B. and Hall J. Peterson Fellowship in 2001 and is the 2022-23 Mellon Distinguished Scholar in Residence. Deeply engaged in public history and education, she also serves on the AAS Indigenous Engagement Advisory Committee.

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