Mark Rifkin

Mark Rifkin

Office: 3129
Phone: 336-334-4323



Ph.D. University of Pennsylvania-2003
M.A. University of Pennsylvania-1999
B.A. Rutgers University-1996

Research Interests

Dr. Rifkin’s research primarily focuses on Native American writing and politics from the eighteenth century onward, exploring the ways that Indigenous peoples have negotiated U.S. racial and imperial formations. His work explores the roles of gender, sexuality, affect, and eroticism in those processes, addressing legal and administrative frameworks, textual representations, and forms of everyday experience.

Selected Publications

  • Beyond Settler Time: Temporal Sovereignty and Indigenous Self-Determination, Duke University Press, 2017.
  • Settler Common Sense: Queerness and Everyday Colonialism in the American Renaissance, University of Minnesota Press, 2014.
  • The Erotics of Sovereignty: Queer Native Writing in the Era of Self-Determination, University of Minnesota Press, 2012.
  • When Did Indians Become Straight?: Kinship, The History of Sexuality, and Native Sovereignty, Oxford University Press, 2011.
  • Sexuality, Nationality, Indigeneity (special issue of GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies, co-edited with Daniel Heath Justice and Bethany Schneider, 16.1-2, 2010).
  • Manifesting America: The Imperial Construction of U.S. National Space, Oxford University Press, 2009.
  • “Around 1978: Family, Culture, and Race in the Federal Production of Indianness,” Critically Sovereign: Indigenous Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies, ed. Joanne Barker, Duke University Press (forthcoming 2017).
  • “Indigeneity, Apartheid, Palestine: On the Transit of Political Metaphors,” Cultural Critique(forthcoming 2017).
  • “Indigenous is to Queer as…: Queer Cautions for Indigenous Studies,” Sources and Methods in Indigenous Studies, eds. Jean O’Brien and Chris Andersen, Routledge (forthcoming 2017).
  • “‘But is it literary?’: Generalist Racisms, Disciplinary Insularity, and the Limits of Too-Big-to-Fail Thinking,” J19: A Journal of Nineteenth-Century Americanists 4.1 (2016): 130-135.
  • “Finding Voice in Changing Times: The Politics of Native Self-Representation through Removal and Allotment,” Routledge Companion to Native American Literature.  Ed. Deborah Madsen.  New York: Routledge, 2015.  146-156.
  • “The Duration of the Land: The Queerness of Spacetime in Sundown,” Studies in American Indian Literatures 27.1 (2015): 33-69.
  • “The Silence of Ely S. Parker: The Emancipation Sublime and the Limits of Settler Memory,” Native American and Indigenous Studies 1.2 (2014): 1-43.
  • “Queering Indigenous Pasts, or Temporalities of Tradition and Settlement,” Oxford Companion to Indigenous American Literatures.  Eds. Daniel Heath Justice and James Cox. New York: Oxford University Press, 2014. 137-151.
  • “Making Peoples into Populations: The Racial Limits of Tribal Sovereignty,” Theorizing Native Studies, eds. Audra Simpson and Andrea Smith, Duke University Press, 2014. 149-187.
  • “The Frontier as (Movable) Space of Exception, ” Settler Colonial Studies 4.2 (2014): 176-180.
  • “Shadows of Mashantucket: William Apess and the Representation of Pequot Place,” American Literature 84.4 (2012): 691-714.
  • “Settler States of Feeling: National Belonging and the Erasure of Native American Presence,”Blackwell Companion to American Literary Studies, eds. Robert Levine and Caroline Levander.  New York: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011.  342-355.
  • “Remapping the Family of Nations: The Geopolitics of Kinship in Hendrick Aupaumut’s ‘A Short Narration’,” Studies in American Indian Literature 22.4 (2010): 1-31.
  • “Indigenizing Agamben: Rethinking Sovereignty in Light of the ‘Peculiar’ Status of Native Peoples,” Cultural Critique 72 (Fall 2009): 88-124.
  • “‘For the wrongs of our poor bleeding country’: Sensation, Class, and Empire in Ridge’s Joaquín Murieta,” Arizona Quarterly 65.2 (2009): 27-56.
  • “Native Nationality and the Contemporary Queer: Tradition, Sexuality, and History in Drowning in Fire,” American Indian Quarterly 32.4 (2008): 443-470.
  • “Documenting Tradition: Territoriality and Textuality in Black Hawk’s Narrative,” American Literature 80.4 (2008): 677-705.
  • “Debt and the Transnationalization of Hawai`i,” American Quarterly 60.1 (2008): 43-66.
  • “‘A home made sacred by protecting laws’: Black Activist Homemaking and Geographies of Citizenship in Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl,” differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies 18.2 (2007): 72-102.
  • “Romancing Kinship: A Queer Reading of Indian Education and Zitkala-Sa’s American Indian Stories,” GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies 12.1 (2006): 27-59.
  • “Representing the Cherokee Nation: Subaltern Studies and Native American Sovereignty,”boundary 2 32.3 (2005): 47-80.

Awards and Honors

  • Best Subsequent Book in Native American and Indigenous Studies for 2011 (for When Did Indians Become Straight?), Native American and Indigenous Studies Association, 2013.
  • John Hope Franklin Prize for best book in American Studies for 2011 (for When Did Indians Become Straight?), American Studies Association, 2012.
  • Regular Faculty Grant, UNCG, 2012.
  • Summer Excellence Research Award, UNCG, 2012.
  • Best Special Issue, award from the Council of Editors of Learned Journals for Sexuality, Nationality, Indigeneity, 2010.
  • Don D. Walker Award for the Best Essay in Western American Literary Studies for “Documenting Tradition: Territoriality and Textuality in Black Hawk’s Narrative,” Western Literature Association, 2008.
  • New Faculty Grant, UNCG, 2009.
  • Faculty Development Grant, Skidmore College, 2006
  • Postdoctoral fellowship, Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture, University of Chicago, 2004-2005
  • Diane Hunter Dissertation Prize, English Department, University of Pennsylvania, 2004


The State of Things: When Did Indians Become Straight?