Kirby Brown Wins Modernist Studies Association Book Award

Routledge Handbook Cover_Brown Book Award Feature

Native American and Indigenous Studies director and associate professor of English, Kirby Brown, along with co-editors Stephen Ross and Alana Sayers of the University of Victoria, was awarded the Modernist Studies Association prize for Best Edited Collection for their volume, The Routledge Handbook of North American Indigenous Modernisms (2022). 

The first of its kind, the collection explores how scholars think about Indigenous lives, literatures, and cultural productions in North America from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries across a wide array of historic, geographic, social, political, and literary-cultural contexts. By the period conventionally known as “modernist” (late 1890s through the mid-1940s), Indigenous peoples were full participants in the politics, aesthetics, and cultural productions of modernity across Turtle Island. While many continued to work locally to defend their lifeways and homelands from ongoing settler-colonial violence and expropriation, others organized regionally, nationally, and internationally to challenge popular attitudes about Indigenous people and to effect substantive changes in federal policy, education reform, land management, and other consequences of modernity affecting their families and communities. Working across a diverse array of forms, genres, and venues, Indigenous peoples adopted and adapted to their ends the modes of representation and discourse through which their lives, lands, and futures were being decided.

Read collectively, the 24 original contributions to the volume reveal the multiple and complex ways Indigenous peoples variously embraced, critiqued, resisted or refused the conditions of modernity impacting their lives, lands, families, and communities. They did so not as modernist primitives, romantically vanishing Indians, or tragic victims of civilization and progress, but as central contributors to, and active co-creators of, some of the most important political currents, aesthetic movements, and intellectual conversations of their time. 

Awarded every other year, the prize recognizes the best edition, anthology, or essay collection in the field of modernist studies. Awards are announced each year at the Modernist Studies Association conference, which was held in Brooklyn, New York in October. UO NAIS sends its congratulations to Brown, Stephen, Alana, and all the contributors to the volume, which promises to have resonating impacts across multiple fields and disciplines.