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Lisa T. Brooks

Lisa Brooks


Lisa is currently a Professor at Amherst College. She teaches courses in Native American studies, early American literature and comparative American Studies. Before Amherst, she was John L. Loeb Associate Professor of the Humanities at Harvard University. Her first book, The Common Pot: The Recovery of Native Space in the Northeast (University of Minnesota Press 2008) reframes the historical and literary landscape of the American northeast. Illuminating the role of writing as a tool of community reconstruction and land reclamation in indigenous social networks, The Common Pot constructs a provocative new picture of Native space before and after colonization. The Media Ecology Association honored the book with its Dorothy Lee Award for Outstanding Scholarship in the Ecology of Culture for 2011.

Although deeply rooted in her Abenaki homeland, Professor Brooks’s work has been widely influential in a global network of scholars. She co-authored the collaborative volume, Reasoning Together: The Native Critics Collective (University of Oklahoma Press 2008), which was recognized by the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association (NAISA) as one of the Ten Most Influential Books in Native American and Indigenous Studies of the First Decade of the Twenty-First Century.  She also wrote the “Afterword” for American Indian Literary Nationalism (University of New Mexico Press 2006), which won the Beatrice Medicine Award for Scholarship in American Indian Studies. In 2009, Brooks was elected to the inaugural Council of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association, and she currently serves on the Editorial Board of Studies in American Indian Literatures. In addition to her scholarly work, Brooks serves on the Advisory Board of Gedakina, a non-profit organization focused on indigenous cultural revitalization, educational outreach, and community wellness in New England. She is currently working on a book project, “Turning the Looking Glass on Captivity and King Philip’s War,” which places early American texts, including Mary Rowlandson’s captivity narrative, within the historical and literary geography of Native space.

In teaching courses at Amherst, Professor Brooks strives to bring the participatory and deliberative systems of interaction, which she wrote about in The Common Pot, to the classroom. As in her writing, she seeks to root American literature and history within the geographic, historical and cultural networks of Native Space, emphasizing the wide range of literary media in the Americas, as well as the role of writing in the imagination of nationhood. She is especially thrilled to be part of the collaborative team that is developing “The Global Valley,” which represents the dynamic interactions among multiple and multifaceted American communities in the ancient indigenous trade route of the Connecticut River Valley.