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Kelly Wisecup

Associate Professor of English

Ph.D. University of Maryland - College Park


Kelly Wisecup (Ph.D. University of Maryland, College Park) is a scholar of Native American literatures and textual cultures, early American literatures, and science and literature in the Atlantic world.

She is the author of  Medical Encounters: Knowledge and Identity in Early American Literatures (University of Massachusetts Press, 2013), and the editor of “Good News from New England” by Edward Winslow: A Scholarly Edition (University of Massachusetts Press, 2014). With Lisa Brooks, she is co-editor of Plymouth Colony: Narratives of English Settlement and Native Resistance from the Mayflower to King Philip’s War (Library of America, 2021).

Her most recent book, Assembled for Use: Indigenous Compilation and the Archives of Early Native American Literature, is forthcoming from Yale University Press in 2021.  The book traces a literary history of Native American textual making, reading, and use involving assembled texts made out of utilitarian forms like lists, catalogs, blanks, and scrapbooks.  The book traces the making and travels of these assembled texts, as Indigenous writers sent them into U.S. archives, ultimately proposing new approaches to reading in early American archives. The book has been supported by fellowships from the Newberry Library, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Antiquarian Society, and the American Philosophical Society. 

Wisecup is directing multiple collaborative, grant-funded projects.  With faculty and graduate students from the Mellon-funded Humanities Without Walls consortium, she is participating in a three-year, collaborative project on “Indigenous Art and Activism in Changing Climates: The Mississippi River Valley, Colonialism, and Environmental Change.”  The group examines the shifting environmental, political, economic, and racial climates that define the Mississippi River’s course, meanings, and relation to Native peoples.  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.  The online collection features photographs by and of members of Chicago’s American Indian community, creating an archive of Native Chicago stories.  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. 

Wisecup is on the board of American Literature (2020-2023) and is an associate editor for The Broadview Anthology of American Literature.  At Northwestern, she is affiliated with the Center for Native American and Indigenous Research, American Studies, and Science in Human Culture.


Early Modern, Science & Literature, 18th Century, American: Early/19th Century, Critical Race & Ethnicity Studies


“Good News from New England” by Edward Winslow: A Scholarly Edition
“Good News from New England” by Edward Winslow: A Scholarly Edition (editor, University of Massachusetts Press, 2014)

Selected Essays

  • “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.
  • “On knowing and not knowing about obeah.” Introduction to special issue, “Obeah and Its Literatures: Knowledge, Power, and Writing in the early Atlantic World,” co-written with Toni Wall Jaudon. Atlantic Studies 12, no. 2 (2015): 129-43.
  •  ‘“All Apollo’s Arts’: Poet-Physicians and Therapeutic Poetry in the British Caribbean.” Literature and Medicine 32, no. 2 (2014): 299-324.
  • “Encounters, Objects, and Commodity Lists in Early English Travel Narratives.” Studies in Travel Writing 17, no. 3 (2013): 264-80.

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