Associate Professor of English
Kelly Wisecup (she/her/hers, Ph.D. University of Maryland - College Park) is a scholar of Native American literatures, 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), which examines how medical knowledge served as a form of communication among colonists, Native Americans, and African Americans, a form with which people defined and defended their bodies, their relationship to the environment, and to other than human beings. She is the editor of “Good News from New England” by Edward Winslow: A Scholarly Edition (University of Massachusetts Press, 2014).
She is currently completing Assembled Relations: Compilation, Collection, and Native American Writing, on early Native American literatures and their relations to colonial collections and archives. The book traces a literary history of Native American textual production and use in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, showing that Native writers engaged and reconfigured sciences of collecting by repurposing non-narrative genres like lists, catalogs, and scrapbooks and sending them into colonial 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. With Lisa Brooks, Wisecup is also editing a volume for Library of America on Plymouth Colony and Wampanoag homelands, slated for publication in 2020.
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 an affiliate of the Center for Native American and Indigenous Research and coordinates the Native American & Indigenous Studies minor. She is also affiliated with American Studies and Science in Human Culture.
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
- “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.