Readings and conversation between poet Joan Naviyuk Kane and historian Bathsheba Demuth
How do works like Jen Rose Smith’s forthcoming Indeterminate Natures: Race and Indigeneity in Ice-Geographies and Bathsheba Demuth’s Floating Coast: An Environmental History of the Bering Strait intersect with indigenous poetry? How have issues of gender, economic parity, and environmental justice informed or complicated indigenous poetics, and vice versa? This event will take up contemporary indigenous poetry’s relationship to the political imperatives of intensifying global concern. It will consider how indigenous poetry takes on questions of environmental harm, economic insecurity, and unstable regimes of governance—questions that Indigenous poetries situate in long arc of U.S. and European colonialism. And thinking beyond the politics of emergency, it will ask how Indigenous poetics carry forward systems and practices of relation that have given and continue to give steadfastness to tribal ways of life across generations.
Joan Naviyuk Kane is Inupiaq with family from King Island (Ugiuvak) and Mary’s Igloo, Alaska. A 2019-2020 Hilles Bush Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Kane was a 2018 Guggenheim Fellow in Poetry. Her publications include the essay collection A Few Lines in the Manifest (Albion Books, 2018), and poetry books and chapbooks The Cormorant Hunter’s Wife (NorthShore Press Alaska, 2009), Hyperboreal (Pitt Poetry Series, 2013), The Straits (Center for the Study of Place, 2015), Milk Black Carbon (Pitt Poetry Series, 2017), Sublingual (Finishing Line Press, 2018), and Another Bright Departure (CutBank, 2019). She has been the recipient of the Whiting Writer’s Award, the Donald Hall Prize in Poetry, the American Book Award, the Alaska Literary Award, the United States Artists Foundation Creative Vision Award, and fellowships and residencies from the Rasmuson Foundation, the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation, the School for Advanced Research, the Aninstantia Foundation, the Hermitage Artist Retreat and the Lannan Foundation. She has been a finalist for the PEN USA Literary Award, the Poetry Foundation’s Ruth Lilly Prize, and the Dorset Prize. She raises her sons as a single mother in Cambridge, and is one of the founding faculty of the graduate creative writing program at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Bathsheba Demuth is Assistant Professor of History and the Institute at Brown for Environment & Society at Brown University, where she is also an affiliated faculty member in Native American and Indigenous Studies and Science and Technology Studies. An environmental historian, her research focuses on the lands and seas of the Russian and North American Arctic and on how the histories of people, ideas, places, and non-human species intersect. Her first book, Floating Coast: An Environmental History of the Bering Strait (Norton, 2019) examined capitalist and socialist attempts to transform the northern borderlands of both countries, while her new research turns to the Yukon River watershed and how rights for nonhuman beings have been conceived and codified across indigenous, imperial, and nation-state traditions.
Free, open to the public. This event is co-sponsored by the Department of History, Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology, Institute at Brown for Environment and Society, Native American and Indigenous Studies Initiative, and Program in Science, Technology, and Society.