Scientific article

The Making of (Native) Americans: Suturing and Citizenship in the Scene of Education

Published inParallax, vol. 60, no. Contours of Learning: On Spivak, p. 32-45
Publication date2011

Louise Erdrich's novel The Painted Drum (2005) introduces a minor character who bears a scar across her lips, the mark of her punishment for speaking her tribal language whilst a student at an Indian boarding school. The wounding and suturing of the Native body offers a figuration of Spivak's subaltern but, more importantly, suggests the ways in which the Native other is constituted as the concept-metaphor of the 'Indian' through foundational texts of the US like the Constitution. This essay brings together the Native scene of education with Gayatri Spivak's 1990 essay, 'The Making of Americans, the Teaching of English, and the Future of Culture Studies,' to explore the concept of suturing and the possibilities for ethical intervention in relation to issues of state interpellation, nationalist ideologies, and postcolonial pedagogies. The historical programme of Native assimilation, in part through education, stages a suturing of the subject into a colonial fantasy of 'reality.' But when voices speak in more than one language within the same speech act, discursive sutures burst and Derridean 'mouth-wounds' open to new articulations of pain and also of meaning.

  • Native education
  • Assimilation
  • Nationalism
  • Race
  • Gayatri Spivak
  • Postcolonialism
Citation (ISO format)
MADSEN, Deborah Lea. The Making of (Native) Americans: Suturing and Citizenship in the Scene of Education. In: Parallax, 2011, vol. 60, p. 32–45.
Main files (1)
Article (Published version)
  • PID : unige:20354
ISSN of the journal1353-4645

Technical informations

Creation05/11/2012 10:24:00 AM
First validation05/11/2012 10:24:00 AM
Update time03/14/2023 5:29:17 PM
Status update03/14/2023 5:29:16 PM
Last indexation01/15/2024 11:35:21 PM
All rights reserved by Archive ouverte UNIGE and the University of GenevaunigeBlack