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K-State Today

April 19, 2018

National Humanities Center selects Lisa Tatonetti as 2018-2019 fellow

Submitted by Communications and Marketing

Lisa Tatonetti

A prestigious fellowship will help a Kansas State University professor of English conduct research for her book exploring gender suppression in Indigenous literature and films.

Lisa Tatonetti has been named a 2018-2019 fellow of the National Humanities Center, a privately incorporated institute for advanced study in the humanities. Tatonetti is among 39 fellows selected from the U.S., Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Jamaica, Mexico, South Africa and the United Kingdom who will work on individual research projects and share ideas in seminars, lectures and conferences with other fellows at the North Carolina-based center.

More than 550 leading scholars applied for the National Humanities Center's fellowships, which provide a total of $1.4 million in grants to scholars so they may take leave from their normal academic duties and pursue research at the center.

As the recipient of the center's Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship, Tatonetti's project will be the completion of her manuscript, "Indigenous Knowledges Written by the Body: Female, Two-Spirit, and Trans Masculinities," which is under contract with the University of Minnesota Press. The book examines female and two-spirit masculinities in Indigenous literature and films.

Tatonetti said that disciplining improper Indigenous masculinities has been a rationale for colonization and a practice of settler cultures for more than 500 years in North America. In particular, Tatonetti notes, anxieties about masculine women, alternately gendered and/or two-spirit peoples resulted in a brutal suppression of gender diversity that Ohlone-Costanoan Esselen theorist and poet Deborah Miranda terms "gendercide."

"In my work, which is the first book-length analysis of non-cisgender-female, two-spirit and trans-indigenous masculinities in literature, film and activism, I argue that these masculinities mark gendercide's failure by serving as an Indigenous archive — they literally embody the continued existence of Indigenous ways of knowing," Tatonetti said.

"We are thrilled that the National Center for the Humanities has recognized Dr. Tatonetti's past accomplishments and her groundbreaking work on Indigenous literatures and culture," said Karin Westman, associate professor and head of the English department. "Like many faculty members in the English department, Dr. Tatonetti has been active in applying for external grant funding and fellowships, and so her success demonstrates not only the quality of her scholarship but also an important national investment in the humanities."

Tatonetti is a member of the 41st class of resident scholars to be admitted since the National Humanities Center since it opened in 1978. Funding for the center's fellowships is provided from its endowment; by grants from the American Council of Learned Societies, the Henry Luce Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities; and by contributions from alumni and friends of the center.

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