About the Humanities Institute
Drawing on a rich tradition of teaching and scholarship in the humanities at the University of Montana, the Humanities Institute fosters provocative thinking, innovative research, and sustained public discussion of the human experience, including serious reflection on the past, present, and future. The Institute’s activities encompass traditional humanities disciplines including history, languages, literature, philosophy, and religious studies, as well as critical studies of the arts and models of inquiry that cross disciplinary boundaries and develop new approaches, including work in the digital humanities.
The Humanities Institute supports humanistic work that takes place throughout the University, and welcomes initiatives and approaches that bridge traditional humanities fields with the visual and performing arts, with journalism and political science, and with the natural sciences, and that generate public discussion about the importance of the humanities in the contemporary world.
Led by faculty, the Institute is funded primarily by grants and private donations, and is structured to bring new research opportunities to students and faculty and to promote scholarship in the humanities at UM. The Institute creates opportunities for vigorous intellectual exchange and provides venues for public discussion about the humanities, including sustained interaction with the wider community of Missoula and Montana, as well as contact with scholars in different disciplines and from other institutions.
Associate Professor and Chair, Native American Studies
NASX 235 – Oral and Written Traditions of Native Americans
NASX 360 – Native Americans and Cinema
NASX 304 – Native American Beliefs and Philosophy
NASX 340 – Native American Literature
NASX 105 – Introduction to Native American Studies
LIT 270 – Literature and Film
Theodore C. Van Alst, Jr. is Associate Professor and Chair of Native American Studies at the University of Montana. He is a former Assistant Dean and Director of the Native American Cultural Center at Yale University, and has been an Assistant Professor and Co-Chair of the Program in Comparative Literary and Cultural Studies at the University of Connecticut. His most recent work includes “Lapin Noir: To Del Rio It Went” in A Critical Companion to the Fiction of Stephen Graham Jones, ed. Billy J. Stratton from the University of New Mexico Press as well as the chapters “Navajo Joe,” and “The Savage Innocents,” in Seeing Red—Hollywood’s Pixeled Skins: American Indians and Film (2013), available from Michigan State University Press. His current book-length project is Spaghetti and Sauerkraut with a Side of Frybread, and his edited volume The Faster Redder Road: The Best UnAmerican Stories of Stephen Graham Jones was released in April 2015 by the University of New Mexico Press, who are also publishing a collection of his short stories in 2018. His fiction and photography have been published in Entropy, The Rumpus, Indian Country Today, The Raven Chronicles, and Yellow Medicine Review, among others. He has worked as a consultant on multiple projects for the Disney Channel as well as on NPR’s All Things Considered, and has recently appeared in multiple segments of the History Channel series Mankind the Story of All of Us. He has been interviewed by The Washington Post, Canadian Broadcast Corporation, Native America Calling, Smithsonian Magazine, and Al-Jazeera America Television on a variety of subjects, from Native representation and Tonto to Spaghetti Westerns, headdresses, and Twilight.
Ph.D., Comparative Literary and Cultural Studies
University of Connecticut, 2008
Native American / American Indian Film and Literature, Native American / American Indian Studies, Film Noir, Spaghetti Westerns, Cinematic Adaptation, Hollywood Film.
Spaghetti and Sauerkraut with a Side of Frybread / Code Red: Revolution and American Indians in European Film
Field of Study
Native American / American Indian Literature, Native American / American Indian Film, Film Studies, Native American Studies.
“Lapin Noir: To Del Rio It Went.” The Fictions of Stephen Graham Jones: A Critical Companion, ed. Billy J. Stratton. University of New Mexico Press, 2016.
“Pre-Contact Indigenous North America.” American Indian Health and Nursing, ed. Margaret Moss. New York, NY, Springer Publishing, 2015.
“Contemporary Indigenous Health Issues.” American Indian Health and Nursing, ed. Margaret Moss. New York, NY, Springer Publishing, 2015.
“Film in the Blood, Something in My Eye.” The Routledge Companion to Native American Literature, ed. Deborah L. Madsen. New York, N.Y., Routledge, 2015.
“Navajo Joe.” Seeing Red: Hollywood’s Pixeled Skins, eds. Denise Cummings, LeAnne Howe, & Harvey Markowitz. Michigan State University Press. 2013.
“Savage Innocents (Quinn the Eskimo).” Seeing Red: Hollywood’s Pixeled Skins, eds. Denise Cummings, LeAnne Howe, & Harvey Markowitz. Michigan State University Press. 2013.
“Sherman Shoots Alexie: Working With and Without Reservation(s) in The Business of Fancydancing.” Visualities: Perspectives on Contemporary American Indian Film and Art, ed. Denise Cummings. Michigan State University Press, 2011.
The Faster Redder Road: The Best UnAmerican Stories of Stephen Graham Jones Vol. 1, University of New Mexico Press (April 2015). 408 pp.
- University Grant for research project Code Red: Revolution and American Indians in European Film. University of Montana, April 2015.
- University of Maine at Presque Isle Educator of the Year, 2012
- Provost’s Award for Excellence in Outreach and Public Engagement. University of Connecticut, 2007
Assistant Professor of Comparative Literary and Cultural Studies
Co-Chair and Director of Graduate Studies for Comparative Literary and Cultural Studies
Departments of Modern and Classical Languages, English
University of Connecticut
Indigenous Cinema Worldwide
Introduction to Film Studies
Classics of World Literature
Special Topics in Native American Film: Representation
Native American Literature
Literature and Other Disciplines
Native Women Writers and Activism: 1960-The Present
Lecturer / Instructor, University of Connecticut 2006-2008 Departments of Modern and Classical Languages, Anthropology, and English
Contemporary Native American Issues
Native American Literature
Co-Editor, Creative Editor Transmotion. <https://journals.kent.ac.uk/index.php/transmotion>
Director, Native American Cultural Center
June 2010-August 2014
Lecturer, Yale School of Management, June 2013-August 2014
Director, Tribal Leadership Program Yale School of Management, June 2013-August 2014
CURRENT PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS
- Native American Literature Symposium
- Native American and Indigenous Studies Association
- The Literature/Film Association
- Association for the Study of American Indian Literature
- Western Literature Association
- American Comparative Literature Association
- National Indian Education Association