Kelly Wisecup

 I am an associate professor of English at Northwestern University, where I teach courses in Native American literature and early American literature and culture and am a co-director (with Patty Loew) of the Center for Native American and Indigenous Research.

My scholarship focuses on pre-1900 Native American literatures, science and medicine in early America, the history of the book, and early Caribbean literatures.  My current book project, Assembled Relations: Compilation, Collection, and Native American Writing, investigates Native Americans’ literary interventions into colonial sciences of collecting.  The book examines compilations, non-narrative genres like lists, catalogs, and scrapbooks, to which Native writers turned to describe Native peoples’ ancient pasts and map their futures against colonial narratives anticipating Indigenous disappearance.

With Alyssa Mt. Pleasant and Caroline Wigginton, I co-edited a joint forum on the relations between early American studies and Native American and Indigenous Studies, published in 2018 in the journals Early American Literature and the William and Mary Quarterly. Our co-written introduction was awarded the 2018 Lester J. Cappon prize for the best article in The William and Mary Quarterly and the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association 2019 Most Thought Provoking Article Award.

 In 2018, I collaborated with the American Indian Center of Chicago on a National Endowment for the Humanities Common Heritage grant project titled “The American Indian Center of Chicago and Urban Native American Histories” and launched a multi-year collaboration with faculty at five universities on “Indigenous Art and Activism in Changing Climates” funded by a Humanities without Walls grant.  My research has also been supported by fellowships from the American Antiquarian Society, the American Philosophical Society, the John Carter Brown Library, the Newberry Library, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.


In October 2019, I’m giving the keynote for the Newberry Library’s conference on “Reading the Ministry in the Americas, 1492-present.”

Also in October, I’m participating in a panel for the Chicago Architecture Biennial on “Decolonizing Architectural Pasts and Futures,” hosted at the American Indian Center of Chicago.  And, with Theresa Montoya (University of Chicago) and Hayley Negrin (UIC), I’m presenting the Indigenous Studies seminar at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Modern Critical Theory Series.