Melanie B. Taylor

Dartmouth Faculty In the Classroom and Beyond

This is the third in a three-part series about professors and their work. Here’s a look at part one and part two.

Melanie Benson Taylor
Associate Professor of Native American Studies

I’m currently writing a book called Faulkner’s Doom, which revisits the entire canon of this American literary giant to reassess the centrality of indigenous tropes in his world and work. Like many influential American authors, Faulkner doesn’t portray Native peoples as “real” Indians—and my work is not designed to indict him for that, or even to set the record straight about what “real” Mississippi Chickasaws were like. Instead, I’m interested in figuring out why writers like Faulkner (and Hemingway, Cather, even Toni Morrison) return so often to Native American themes.

Panel Features Distinguished Native American Writers

As Associate Professor Melanie Benson Taylor was helping line up speakers for a Native American studies event in April, she had a realization.

“I noticed how many of the speakers are authors on my syllabus for my spring term course,” says Benson Taylor, who teaches Native American literature this term. “It’s amazing. The impact that will have on students is extraordinary.”

As part of the 40th anniversary of the Native American Studies Program at Dartmouth, four Native American writers and a scholar of Native writing will take part in a panel discussion next week. Linda Hogan, Helen Hoy, Stephen Graham Jones, Thomas King, and David Treuer will participate in a discussion titled, “Telling Lives: Native American Writing in the 21st Century.” The panel, free and open to the public, begins at 4 p.m. on April 5 in Moore Hall’s Filene Auditorium. There will be a book signing afterward.