"Trickster Academy": A Poetry Reading and Discussion

Sunday, July 9th, 2023
Jenny Davis

Center for Advanced Study
Levis Faculty Center, Room 210
919 W. Illinois, Urbana

Event Description

Watch the video here

Professor Davis will give a reading and discussion of her poetry collection, Trickster Academy, which explores being Native in Academia—from land acknowledgement statements to mascots to the histories of using Native American remains in anthropology. Organized around the premise of the Trickster Academy, a university space run by and meant for training Tricksters, this collection moves between the personal dynamics of a Two-Spirit/queer Indigenous woman in spaces where there are few, if any, others and a Trickster’s critique of those same spaces. Writing at the intersection of Critical University Studies, Indigenous Studies, and Animal Studies, Trickster Academy puts academic campuses, classrooms, and genres into conversation not only with Rabbit, Fox, Buzzard, Crow, and Coyote but also Turtle, Crawdad, Deer, and Dog.

Jenny Davis

Jenny L. Davis is a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation and an Associate Professor of Anthropology and American Indian Studies at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign where she is the director of the American Indian Studies Program and the founding co-director of the Center for Indigenous Science. She is the co-editor of the Studies in Language and Gender series at Oxford University Press. Her research has been published in the Annual Review of AnthropologyJournal of Linguistic AnthropologyGender & LanguageCollections: A Journal for Museum and Archives Professionals, the American Journal of Biological Anthropology, and The Routledge Companion to Publicly Engaged Humanities Scholarship, among others.

She is the recipient of two book prizes: the 2019 Beatrice Medicine Award from the Association for the Study of American Indian Literatures for Talking Indian: Identity and Language Revitalization in the Chickasaw Renaissance (University of Arizona Press, 2018) and the 2014 Ruth Benedict Book Prize from the Association for Queer Anthropology and the American Anthropological Association for her co-edited volume Queer Excursions: Retheorizing Binaries in Language, Gender, and Sexuality (Oxford University Press, 2014).

Her 2022 poetry manuscript, Trickster Academy, was published in the University of Arizona Press Sun Tracks Series, and her creative work has most recently been published in TransmotionAnomalySanta Ana River ReviewBroadsidedNorth Dakota QuarterlyYellow Medicine ReviewAs/UsRaven Chronicles; and Resist Much/Obey Little: Inaugural Poems to the Resistance and exhibited at the Ziibiwing Center of Anishinabe Culture & Lifeways and the Minnesota Center for Book Arts.

This summer, she is working on a graphic novel about the coyotes of Chicago and an edited collection of Chickasaw Cultural entomology.