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ERIC Number: EJ824768
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Dec
Pages: 45
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0010-096X
Toward a Rhetoric of Self-Representation: Identity Politics in Indian Country and Rhetoric and Composition
Cushman, Ellen
College Composition and Communication, v60 n2 p321-365 Dec 2008
Scholars in rhetoric and composition have explored political issues of identity and language for some time; however, we have only begun to develop an understanding of why the identity politics of Native scholars are so different from other scholars of color and whites. Native scholars take considerable risks in composing identities--they can face censure from their communities and other scholars of color, perhaps even charges of identity fraud, if their self-representations are not persuasive. I describe and analyze the cases of three Native scholars in order to explore the claims, evidence, and rhetorical exigencies present when a scholar claims to be Native American. Ward Churchill's case establishes the differences between self-identification and self-representation as these relate to the vexing problem of identity fraud in Indian Country. Resa Crane Bizzaro's case reveals a persuasive self-representation because it includes authenticity markers recognized by many Native audiences. Finally, I describe my own case as an outlander citizen of the Cherokee Nation based in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, to reveal how accountability markers must accompany authenticity markers in order to form persuasive self-representations. A rhetoric of self-representation can illuminate the systemic ways in which racial categories circumscribe us all; the ways in which identity for Native peoples is always about subjectivity enacted within kinship relations; and the ways in which we might compose identities while situated within antithetical exigencies. (Contains 13 notes.)
National Council of Teachers of English. 1111 West Kenyon Road, Urbana, IL 61801-1096. Tel: 877-369-6283; Tel: 217-328-3870; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A