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Katy Chiles

Katy ChilesDepartment of English
Ph.D., Northwestern University
Project:  Raced Collaboration in Antebellum America: The Idea of Authorship and Early African American and Native American Literature

Raced Collaboration is the first comprehensive study of the crucial role that collaboration played in early African American and Native American literatures.  This project tells the rich story of how African Americans and Native Americans—often against significant odds—produced English language texts, such as memoirs, novels, and slave narratives, through collaboration with persons of many races in antebellum America.  Raced Collaboration investigates the remarkable ways that these writers collaborated—including dictating, editing, transcribing, compiling, translating, and printing.  This project opens up new understandings of primary works whose collaborative form has become a constraint on further literary study.  It reconstructs the composition and publication histories of these texts; examines how the material form of their publication shaped their meaning; and interprets how the texts comment on their existence as collaborative works.  In addressing the broader issue of authorship, this project deepens our appreciation of the role of African Americans and Native Americans in antebellum American print culture.

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