Responding to the recent indigenous turn in American studies, the essays in this volume inform discussion about indigeneity, race, gender, modernity, nation, state power, and globalization in interdisciplinary and broadly comparative global ways.
Organized into three thematic sections-Spaces of the Pacific, "Unexpected Indigenous" Modernity, and Nation and Nation-State-Alternative Contact reveals how Native American studies and empowerment movements in the 1960s and 1970s decentered paradigms of Native American-European "first contact." Among other kinds of contact, the contributors also imagine alternative connections between indigenous and American studies.
The subject of United States military and government hegemony has long overshadowed discussions of contact with peoples of other origins. The articles in this volume explore transnational and cross-ethnic exchanges among indigenous peoples of the Americas, including the Caribbean and Pacific Islands. Such moments of alternative contact complicate and enrich our understanding of the links between sovereignty, racial formation, and U.S. colonial and imperial projects. Ultimately, Alternative Contact theorizes a more dynamic indigeneity that articulates new or overlooked connections among peoples, histories, cultures, and critical discourses within a global context.
Paul Lai teaches English at the University of St. Thomas and specializes in Asian American studies. Lindsey Claire Smith is an assistant professor of English at Oklahoma State University and author of Indians, Environment, and Identity on the Borders of American Literature.