PULLMAN, Wash. — Arnold Krupat, an original and respected critic in Native American studies, will discuss “Native American Oral Narratives: A Look at Some Trickster Tales” at 7:30 p.m., April 3, in the Fine Arts Auditorium on the Washington State University campus.
Krupat teaches American and Native American literature in the global studies program at Sarah Lawrence College. Since receiving his doctoral degree from Columbia University, he has established himself as a scholar, writer and lecturer on Native American culture and literature.
Oral storytelling was and continues to be a vital and sustaining element of Native American cultures, Krupat says. This rich and varied narrative tradition contains several types of similar stories, including the Trickster tales.
Trickster tales tell people how to act property by showing them the absurd and sometimes disastrous consequences that ensue when someone — the Trickster in the form of Coyote, Rabbit, Raven or Spider — behaves in the wrong way. In his talk, Krupat will look at both traditional oral Trickster tales and what he describes as “the curious phenomenon of the contemporary revival of interest in Trickster as a particularly apt figure for an age of postmodern ironies.”
His interest in oral tradition focuses on its effect, influence or appearance in textual forms. In April of 1999, in a program for the public radio series “What’s the Word,” he discussed the use of oral storytelling in Leslie Marmon Silko’s work. He also has written about the cultural context of Alexie Sherman’s work.
Krupat co-edited the Smithsonian Institution Press Series, Studies in Native American Literature for six years. He also has received numerous fellowships and awards including three National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowships for College Teachers and is the author of two novels.
The Visual, Performing and Literary Arts Committee’s 2001-2002 “Storytelling/Telling Stories” series is made possible with support from Compton Union, the Honors College, the College of Liberal Arts, the Museum of Art, the Office of the President and the Office of Student Programs.
For more information, contact Marty Mullen (509) 335-2313.