The Poetics and Politics of Remembering and Giving Voice: New Perspectives on Diane Glancy's Work
American Studies, American university press with a strong interest in the aesthetics and politics of Native American literature/cultural production
Monday, May 15, 2023
Review Begins: 
Friday, December 1, 2023

Reflecting on her Cherokee background, Diane Glancy writes about her great-grandfather in her most recently published essay “Unpapered” (UNPAPERED: Writers Consider Native American Identity and Cultural Belonging, edited by Diane Glancy and Linda Rodriguez, University of Nebraska Press, 2023) that, when he enlisted for the Union Army, “He marked himself ‘White,’” because “the only other choice was ‘Black’”; and she continues about her Cherokee family line:

Each generation married Anglo-Christians. It is what I am more than Cherokee. But there is a Cherokee part also. I do not have Native language or tribal contact. I live in an over-branch of heritages. I live in a shadowland. A marginal land. A lateral Native background. An interfacing. A confluence. A left out of both worlds. A not Indian but somewhat banished Cherokee. (54)

It is from this complex positionality of an “unpapered” or “liminal space” that Diane Glancy has become an acclaimed poet, novelist, and playwright—and one of the leading voices in challenging dominant American narratives of territorial expansion, democratization, civilization, and progress. The majority of Glancy’s oeuvre needs to be read as an attempt to reframe American history by emphasizing the structures, machinations, and long-term impact of settler colonialism, on the one hand, and by negotiating the cultural identity, agency, practices of memory and resistance of Indigenous nations, on the other. By “giv[ing] voice to those who did not have a chance to speak,” as she emphasizes in an interview, Glancy has sought to place the experiences, memories, and epistemologies of Indigenous people at the center of the project called “American History,” which she has continually worked toward deconstructing from within. What is unique about Glancy is her open identification as an evangelical Christian and the degree to which her work engages with Native and non-Native religious identities as well as religious engagement, often at the intersection of Native and Christian traditions.

We are seeking contributions to an edited collection of articles on Glancy’s rich oeuvre, particularly the work she has produced within the last ten years. Her heterogeneous and highly diverse corpus of literary production – fictional writing as well as nonfictional texts – transcends generic boundaries and defies easy categorization. What connects all her works, however, are her high aesthetic standards, the tight connections between past and present via memory, the strong emphasis on religion/religious engagement, and her use of writing as “an act of ventriloquism” that enables those to speak who don’t “have a voice. Mute in history. Silent in research libraries. Left on the shelf. No one keeping record of their words. Or if words were kept, not the tone in which they were meant” (Glancy, “Ventriloquism”).

We are generally open to all innovative scholarship that situates Glancy’s work in current scholarly debates within Native American and Indigenous Studies, American Studies, Critical Ethnic Studies, and other adjacent fields of study. We are particularly interested in contributions that explore Glancy’s recent work in terms of its decolonial aesthetics/politics—its giving readers access to unknown past(s) and its remembering and giving voice to those forgotten, silenced, and erased by the dominant narratives and narrations of American history. Questions that could be addressed include, but are not limited to: In what ways do Glancy’s works engage the colonial archive and other sites of Western knowledge production? How do they engage with and theorize “memory” and practices of commemoration? To what degree do they, themselves, function as (sites of) memory?

And, finally, we welcome contributions exploring Glancy’s literary engagement with the complexities of Indigenous experience of and relationship with religion/Christianity (as lived praxis and as institution). What role does religion/Christianity play in her literary projects of reclaiming and reframing history and of giving voice? How is “religion” conceptualized in light of Indigenous ways of living, relating, thinking, and knowing, that is, outside a settler colonial framework of (structural) domination? How is “religion”/Christianity used strategically to challenge settler normative orders? How is it brought into conversation with key notions of Indigenous existence, such as sovereignty, nationhood/peoplehood, self-determination, and relationality? What are the limits/costs of using “religion”/Christianity in the struggles to decenter settler colonialism?

If you are interested in contributing to this volume, please send an abstract of no more than 500 words to the contacts listed below by May 15, 2023. Also include a short author biography indicating your current affiliation and outlining your areas of expertise and prior publications.

Essays in the volume to be published should be c. 7,000 words. The deadline for submission will be October 31, 2023. We intend to publish the edited volume with a university press with a strong interest in the aesthetics and politics of Native American literature/cultural production.

Contact Info

Stefan Benz (University of Bonn;

Birgit Daewes (University of Flensburg;

Karsten Fitz (University of Passau;

Sabine N. Meyer (University of Bonn;

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