The Newberry Library Colloquium

Parallel Lives, Intersecting Visions: Native American and New Immigrant Voices and the Americanization Project
Wednesday, February 26, 2014

4 pm

Towner Fellows’ Lounge

Cristina Stanciu, Virginia Commonwealth University

In the first two decades of the twentieth century, the crisis in national identity caused by the unprecedented numbers of New Immigrants and their threat to “100 percent Americanism” produced an unexpected turn to the Indian who, in nationalist rhetoric, donned the robe of “savagery” and became, suddenly, “the first American.” This talk will introduce the audience to a book project (in progress) about how Native American and New Immigrant writers and public intellectuals during the so-called Progressive Era (1880-1920) shaped the discourse surrounding their entrance into modernity via the much loved, feared, and critiqued project of Americanization. Using materials from the Ayer collection, Stanciu will illustrate how emerging and established Native intellectuals of this era not only “talked back to civilization” (Fred Hoxie’s term), but also envisioned a future for Native people as they made their mark in literary history and American culture, more broadly.

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