Gina Caison is an assistant professor of English at Georgia State University where she teaches courses in American literature, southern literature, Native American literatures, and documentary practices. Her book Red States: Indigeneity, Settler Colonialism, and Southern Studies was published in 2018 from UGA Press, and her co-edited collection Small-Screen Souths: Region, Identity, and the Cultural Politics of Television (2017) is available from LSU Press. In addition to these projects, Dr. Caison’s work has appeared in academic journals including The Global South, Mississippi Quarterly, The Simms Review, and PMLA. She has also been a short-term research fellow at the American Antiquarian Society and the Southern Historical Collection, and she has participated in NEH-sponsored programs at the Newberry Library, UNC-Chapel Hill’s American Indian Center, and Georgia College & State University’s Flannery O’Connor Collection. She is producer and host of the weekly podcast About South.
Red States: Indigeneity, Settler Colonialism, and Souther Studies
Red States uses a regional focus in order to examine the tenets of white southern nativism and Indigenous resistance to colonialism in the U.S. South. Gina Caison argues that popular misconceptions of Native American identity in the U.S. South can be understood by tracing how non-Native audiences in the region came to imagine indigeneity through the presentation of specious histories presented in regional literary texts, and she examines how Indigenous people work against these narratives to maintain sovereign land claims in their home spaces through their own literary and cultural productions. As Caison demonstrates, these conversations in the U.S. South have consequences for how present-day conservative political discourses resonate across the United States. Assembling a newly constituted archive that includes regional theatrical and musical performances, pre-Civil War literatures, and contemporary novels, Caison illuminates the U.S. South’s continued investment in settler colonialism and the continued Indigenous resistance to this paradigm. Ultimately, she concludes that the region is indeed made up of red states, but perhaps not in the way readers initially imagine.