UVic
Regular Faculty Member

Dr. Christopher Teuton

Dr. Christopher Teuton

Dr. Christopher B. Teuton joined the University of Victoria Department of English in 2010 as an Associate Professor of English. He is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation and teaches Indigenous Literature, Multicultural Literature, and American Literature. Dr. Teuton is author of Deep Waters: the Textual Continuum in American Indian Literature (University of Nebraska Press, 2010) as well as co-editor and co-author of Reasoning Together: the Native Critics Collective (University of Oklahoma Press, 2008). He spent 2009-10 as the Katrin H. Lamon Fellow at the School for Advanced Research on the Human Experience in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where he completed Cherokee Stories of the Turtle Island Liars' Club, a collection of contemporary Cherokee oral traditional stories Dr. Teuton recorded and transcribed with four of his elders from the Cherokee Nation and United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians (under advance contract with the University of North Carolina Press).

Dr. Teuton's research methodology is grounded in the concept of praxis: a mutual commitment to theory and practice in developing Indigenous knowledge and art. His Indigenous literary studies scholarship develops critical theoretical concepts that may shape the discipline to better reflect both academic and community-based discursive concerns. His present scholarly manuscript, The Cycle of Removal and Return: A Symbolic Geography of Indigenous Literature, offers a model for understanding the evolving narrative patterns that chart the literal and figurative movements of characters and plots in Indigenous literature. Dr. Teuton is currently working as a consultant with the Cherokee Nation to develop a Cherokee Nation K-12 educational curriculum.

Selected Faculty Publications

Deep Waters: the Textual Continuum in American Indian Literature

University of Nebraska Press, 2010

Weaving connections between indigenous modes of oral storytelling, visual depiction, and contemporary American Indian literature, Deep Waters demonstrates the continuing relationship between traditional and contemporary Native American systems of creative representation and signification. Christopher B. Teuton begins with a study of Mesoamerican writings, Dine sand paintings, and Haudenosaunee wampum belts. He proposes a theory of how and why indigenous oral and graphic means of recording thought are interdependent, their functions and purposes determined by social, political, and cultural contexts.

The center of this book examines four key works of contemporary American Indian literature by N. Scott Momaday, Gerald Vizenor, Ray A. Young Bear, and Robert J. Conley. Through a textually grounded exploration of what Teuton calls the oral impulse, the graphic impulse, and the critical impulse, we see how and why various types of contemporary Native literary production are interrelated and draw upon long-standing indigenous methods of creative representation. Teuton breaks down the disabling binary of orality and literacy, offering readers a cogent, historically informed theory of indigenous textuality that allows for deeper readings of Native American cultural and literary expression.

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Reasoning Together: the Native Critics Collective

University of Oklahoma Press, 2008

A paradigm shift in American Indian literary criticism

This collectively authored volume celebrates a group of Native critics performing community in a lively, rigorous, sometimes contentious dialogue that challenges the aesthetics of individual literary representation.

Janice Acoose infuses a Cree reading of Canadian Cree literature with a creative turn to Cree language; Lisa Brooks looks at eighteenth- and early-nineteenth-century Native writers and discovers little-known networks among them; Tol Foster argues for a regional approach to Native studies that can include unlikely subjects such as Will Rogers; LeAnne Howe creates a fictional character, Embarrassed Grief, whose problematic authenticity opens up literary debates; Daniel Heath Justice takes on two prominent critics who see mixed-blood identities differently than he does in relation to kinship; Phillip Carroll Morgan uncovers written Choctaw literary criticism from the 1830s on the subject of oral performance; Kimberly Roppolo advocates an intertribal rhetoric that can form a linguistic foundation for criticism. Cheryl Suzack situates feminist theories within Native culture with an eye to applying them to subjugated groups across Indian Country; Christopher B. Teuton organizes Native literary criticism into three modes based on community awareness; Sean Teuton opens up new sites for literary performance inside prisons with Native inmates; Robert Warrior wants literary analysis to consider the challenges of eroticism; Craig S. Womack introduces the book by historicizing book-length Native-authored criticism published between 1986 and 1997, and he concludes the volume with an essay on theorizing experience.

Reasoning Together proposes nothing less than a paradigm shift in American Indian literary criticism, closing the gap between theory and activism by situating Native literature in real-life experiences and tribal histories. It is an accessible collection that will suit a wide range of coursesand will educate and energize anyone engaged in criticism of Native literature.

"Reasoning Together: the Native Critics Collective, a new collection by Native literary critics, is one of the most important theoretical works to emerge out of the study of Aboriginal literature." Kristina Fagan, University of Saskatchewan

"Too often in Native American Studies we pay lip service to the need for collaborative work. These writers actually do it." Jace Weaver, University of Georgia

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"The Cycle of Removal and Return: A Symbolic Geography of Indigenous Literature." Canadian Journal of Native Studies. Special Issue: What We Do, What We Are: Responsible, Ethical, and Indigenous-Centered Literary Criticisms. 29.1 & 2 (2009): 45-64.