Professor of English
Kelly Wisecup is a literary and cultural historian whose work brings together early American studies, Native American and Indigenous Studies, and histories of books and archives. She is a non-Native scholar who works with contemporary Native nations and people to research, teach, and write about Indigenous literatures. Wisecup welcomes inquiries from prospective graduate students with interests in early American literatures, Indigenous literatures, Native American and Indigenous Studies, book history, archival theory, and public humanities scholarship.
Wisecup’s books include Assembled for Use: Indigenous Compilation and the Archives of Early Native American Literatures (Yale, 2021) and Medical Encounters: Knowledge and Identity in Early American Literatures (University of Massachusetts Press, 2013). She is the editor of a scholarly edition of Plymouth colonist Edward Winslow’s Good News from New England (University of Massachusetts Press, 2014). With Lisa Brooks, Wisecup co-edited Plymouth Colony: Narratives of English Settlement and Native Resistance from the Mayflower to King Philip’s War, a volume bringing together primary text accounts of Plymouth colony on Wampanoag homelands (Library of America, 2022). She is an elected lifetime member of the American Antiquarian Society.
Wisecup’s scholarship has been supported by fellowships from the Newberry Library, the Mellon Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Antiquarian Society, and the American Philosophical Society. She served as co-director of Northwestern’s Center for Native American and Indigenous Research from 2018-2020. From 2021-2026, she is serving on the Society of Early Americanists executive committee.
Wisecup regularly participates in collaborative public humanities projects at the intersections of archives, rivers, cities, and Indigenous literatures. With support from a Humanities without Walls consortium grant, she participated in a multi-year, collaborative project on the Indigenous Mississippi (2018-2022). With support from a National Endowment for the Humanities Common Heritage Grant, she collaborated with the American Indian Center of Chicago to build the AIC Community Archives (2017-2018). And with support from a WCAS Award, she directs Archive Chicago, an ongoing collaboration with Northwestern University undergraduate students and project advisors from Chicago’s Native American community to remap Chicago’s colonial geographic, artistic, and historical landscape.
Areas of Teaching and Research
Early American Studies; Native American and Indigenous Studies; History of the Book; Literature & Science; Atlantic Studies
Early Modern, Science & Literature, 18th Century, American: Early/19th Century, Critical Race & Ethnicity Studies
- “The Indigenous Nineteenth-Century: Sovereignty, Seriality, and Materiality.” Co-written with Kathryn Walkiewicz. Solicited for The New Nineteenth-Century American Literary Studies, edited by Russ Castronovo and Robert S. Levine. Cambridge University Press.
- “Printing and Circulating Simon Pokagon’s The Red Man’s Rebuke and The Red Man’s Greeting.” In As Sacred to Us: Simon Pokagon’s Birch Bark Stories in Their Contexts, edited by Blaire Morseau. Michigan State University Press. 2023.
- “Entangled Archives: Cherokee Interventions in Language Collecting.”Digital Afterlives: Futures of Indigenous Archives, edited by Ivy Schweitzer and Gordon Henry. University of New England Press, 2019.
- “Completing the Turn: An Introduction to the Joint Forum on Native American and Indigenous Studies Materials and Methods.” Co-written with Alyssa Mt. Pleasant and Caroline Wigginton. The William and Mary Quarterly 75, no. 2 (2018): 207-236 and Early American Literature 53, no. 2 (2018): 407-44.
- “‘Meteors, Ships, Etc.’: Native American Histories of Colonialism and Early American Archives.” American Literary History 30, no. 1 (2018).“Practicing Sovereignty: Colonial Temporalities, Cherokee Justice, and the ‘Socrates’ Writings of John Ridge.” NAIS: Journal of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association 4, no. 1 (Spring 2017): 30-60.