Theo Van Alst
Faculty and Staff
I currently serve as Special Assistant to the Provost for Native American and Indigenous Education and am the president of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association for Academic Year 2011-2012.
Service: Ford Diversity Fellowship Regional Liaison
Board of Directors (former) – American Indian Graduate Center
Ph.D. English Literature and Language, emphasis in Native American Literature, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (1987)
M.A. English Literature and Language, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (1982)
B.A. English, Moorehead State University (1980)
Native American literature, gender studies in Indigenous Studies, Indigenous peoples' rights, land-based cultures and oral tradition, globa Indigenous diaspora literatures
Field of Study
Native American literature, religion, and philosophy
Mapping Indigenous Presence: North Scandanavian and North American Perspectives. Editors Kathryn Shanley and Bjorg Evjen. With a Foreword by S. James Anaya, U.N. Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. University of Arizona, 2015.
Boundaries and Sovereignties: Native American Literature. Special Edition of Paradoxa, Journal of World Literary Genres, 2001.
Contributions to Books
"Native American Literature" Encylopedia of American Studies, 2001.
"Native American Literature" and "James Welch," The Encyclopedia of the Great Plains. 2001.
"Native American Literature." Native America: Portraits of the Peoples. Ed. Duane Champagne. Detroit: Gale Research Publishers. l994. (Reprint and revision 2001)
“The Indian American Loves to Love and Read.” (Reprint) and “Afterword.” In Native American Representations.. Ed. Gretchen Bataille. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press. 2001
"Blood Ties and Blasphemy: American Indian Women and the Problem of History." Is Academic Feminism Dead? Theory in Practice. New York: New York University Press. 2000
"American Indian Discourses and 'The Politics of Recognition.'” Race, Ethnicity and Nationality in the Twenty-first Century. Ed. Paul Wong. Westview Press,1998.
"Writing Indian: American Indian Literature and the Future of Native American Studies." In Studying Native America: Problems and Prospects of Native American Studies. Ed. Russell Thornton. University of Wisconsin Press (1998).
"Linda Hogan." Dictionary of Literary Biography. Edited by Kenneth Roemer. Columbia, SC: Bruccoli Clark Layman, Inc., 1997.
"The Lived Experience: American Indian Literature After Alcatraz." Akwe:kon Journal & the National Museum of the American Indian. 11:3 & 4 (1994) 119-27.
"Native American Literature." Native America: Portraits of the Peoples. Ed. Duane Champagne. Detroit: Gale Research Publishers. l994.
"James Welch." Dictionary of Native American Literature. Ed. Andrew Wiget. New York: Garland Publishing, Inc. 1994.
Biographical entries for Beth Brant, Lois Steele, Indian Emily, Dorian Woman. In Native American Women: A Biographical Dictionary. Gretchen Bataille, ed. New York: Garland Publishing, 1993; (revised edition forthcoming in 1998, essay on Jane Mt. Pleasant).
Introductions for Louise Erdrich, Leslie Silko, and James Welch. Before Columbus Fiction Anthology. New York: Norton, 1991.
"Time and Time-Again: Notes Toward an Understanding of Radical Elements in American Indian Fiction." In Transforming the Curriculum: Ethnic Studies and Women's Studies. Eds. Johnnella Butler and John Walter. SUNY Press, 1990.
"The Indian as Purveyor of the Land: Avoiding Nostalgic Readings of the Way to Rainy Mountain." In Teaching N. Scott Momaday's Way to Rainy Mountain. Ed. Kenneth Roemer. New York: Modern Language Association, l988:132-137.
"Making Faces: Defiance and Humor in the Writings of Maria Campbell and James Welch." In The Native in American and Canadian Literature. Ed. Thomas King. Toronto: ECR Press, l988.
"The Devil's Domain: Leslie Silko's 'Storyteller.'" In Coyote Was Here: Essays on Contemporary Native American Literary and Political Mobilization. Ed. Bo Scholer. Aarhus, Denmark: Seklos Press, l984: 116-123. Reprinted in Leslie Marmon Silko: A Study of the Short Fiction. Ed. Helen Jaskoski. Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1998.
Contributions to Journals
“Lady Luck or Mother Earth: The Concept of Luck in Plains Indian Cultures.” Wicazo Sa Review (2000).
“Talking to the Animals and Taking Out the Trash: The Functions of American Indian Literature.” Wicazo Sa Review, Special Issue edited by Jace Weaver and Robert Warrior, 1999.
"The Indian America Loves to Love and Read." American Indian Quarterly Special Issue, (1997). 675-702.
Jointly with Shelli Fowler, Tiffany Ana Lopez, Caroline Chung Simpson, and Traise Yamamoto, "Negotiating Textual Terrain: A Conversation on Critical and Pedagogical Interventions in the Teaching of Ethnic Autobiography." Frontiers 17:2 (Fall 1996) 4-49.
"Meeting Grounds or 'Frontiers'?" in "Frontiers Reconsidered," Frontiers 17:3 (Winter 1996), 38-42.
- Cornell University 1992-1999
- University of Washington 1985-1992
Since 2008, I have been the project director for the University of Montana Native American Studies collaboration with the Sami Studies Center at the University of Tromso, Norway. The project director there is Bjorg Evjen, a historian of Sami people and a Sea Sami herself.