Engaged Resistance

9780292726963: Paperback
Release Date: 1st April 2011

109 color and b&w illus.

Dimensions: 216 x 279

Number of Pages: 297

Series The William and Bettye Nowlin Series in Art, History, and Culture of the Western Hemisphere

University of Texas Press

Engaged Resistance

American Indian Art, Literature, and Film from Alcatraz to the NMAI

Paperback / £24.99

From Sherman Alexie's films to the poetry and fiction of Louise Erdrich and Leslie Marmon Silko to the paintings of Jaune Quick-To-See Smith and the sculpture of Edgar Heap of Birds, Native American movies, literature, and art have become increasingly influential, garnering critical praise and enjoying mainstream popularity. Recognizing that the time has come for a critical assessment of this exceptional artistic output and its significance to American Indian and American issues, Dean Rader offers the first interdisciplinary examination of how American Indian artists, filmmakers, and writers tell their own stories.

Beginning with rarely seen photographs, documents, and paintings from the Alcatraz Occupation in 1969 and closing with an innovative reading of the National Museum of the American Indian, Rader initiates a conversation about how Native Americans have turned to artistic expression as a means of articulating cultural sovereignty, autonomy, and survival. Focusing on figures such as author/director Sherman Alexie (Flight, Face, and Smoke Signals), artist Jaune Quick-To-See Smith, director Chris Eyre (Skins), author Louise Erdrich (Jacklight, The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse), sculptor Edgar Heap of Birds, novelist Leslie Marmon Silko, sculptor Allen Houser, filmmaker and actress Valerie Red Horse, and other writers including Joy Harjo, LeAnne Howe, and David Treuer, Rader shows how these artists use aesthetic expression as a means of both engagement with and resistance to the dominant U.S. culture. Raising a constellation of new questions about Native cultural production, Rader greatly increases our understanding of what aesthetic modes of resistance can accomplish that legal or political actions cannot, as well as why Native peoples are turning to creative forms of resistance to assert deeply held ethical values.

  • Acknowledgments
  • Prologue
  • Chapter 1. Engaged Resistance: Alcatraz
  • Chapter 2. The Cartography of Sovereignty: Jaune Quick-to-See Smith's Map Paintings
  • Chapter 3. The New American Indian Novel: A User's Map
  • Chapter 4. The Cinematics of Engagement, the Politics of Resistance: Naturally Native and Skins
  • Chapter 5. Word as Weapon: Visual Culture and Contemporary American Indian Poetry
  • Chapter 6. Compositional Resistance: Genre and Contemporary American Indian Poetry
  • Chapter 7. Celluloid Alexie: Postindianism in Smoke Signals and The Business of Fancydancing
  • Chapter 8. Narrative Resistance: Leslie Marmon Silko's "Storyteller"
  • Chapter 9. Roofs, Roads, and Rotundas: American Indian Public Art
  • Chapter 10. Engaged Resistance: The National Museum of the American Indian
  • Epilogue
  • Notes
  • Works Cited
  • Index

DEAN RADER is Professor of English at the University of San Francisco. He is the coauthor (with Jonathan Silverman) of The World is a Text: Writing, Reading, and Thinking about Visual Culture and (with Janice Gould) Speak to Me Words: Essays on Contemporary American Indian Poetry. His book of poems, Works & Days, won the 2010 T. S. Eliot Poetry Prize.

""[Rader’s] insightful readings of Native texts and symbols are sensitive and accomplished. . . . Engaged Resistance performs important cultural work by bringing new attention to Native American artists, authors, and filmmakers, whose contributions remain marginalized and under appreciated in popular culture.”"

Western American Literature