On Monday, April 7th, from 3:30-5:00 p.m., in 1210-11 McClung Tower, Professor Scott Richard Lyons will give a talk titled “Migration to Modernity: The Cosmopolitan Dimensions of George Copway’s Travel Writing.” George Copway (1818-1869), a.k.a. Kah-ge-ga-gah-bowh, was an Ojibwe writer and speaker during one of history’s most challenging periods for North American Indians: the removal era. Born in a wigwam in present-day Ontario, Copway wrote three books, published an Indian newspaper in New York City, and became Canada’s first literary celebrity in the United States. In 1850 he took a six-month tour of Europe and subsequently produced the first Indian-authored, full-length travel book: Running Sketches of Men and Places… (1851), a book that despite its apparent notability has never received sustained scholarly treatment. Lyons’ presentation will discuss Copway’s fascinating book in the context of nineteenth-century removal politics, international cosmopolitanism, and an evolving modernity, both his and ours, that Copway sought to embrace, but which ironically made him an ambiguous figure — ambiguous, that is, to us,
Scott Richard Lyons is Associate Professor of English and American Culture at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. The author of X-Marks: Native Signatures of Assent (University of Minnesota Press, 2010) and numerous essays on Native American literature, culture, and rhetoric, Lyons is currently working on two book projects concerning modernity and the transnational dimensions of Native American literature and culture. Currently he is the Hunting Family Fellow at the University of Michigan Institute for the Humanities.