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Analogues and Kinship: A Talking Circle

March 10 at 10:30 am - 3:00 pm

analogues and kinship flyer

Colloquium for Early Medieval Studies
Indigenous Futures / Medieval Pasts

“Analogues and Kinship: A Talking Circle”

Co-hosted by Tarren Andrews (Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, Yale University), Gage Diabo (Kanien’kehá:ka, Concordia University), Emma Hitchcock (Columbia University), and Stephen Yeager (Concordia University)

Sponsored by CEMS, Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty Advancement, Medieval & Renaissance Studies, Department of English and Comparative Literature, University Seminar on Medieval Studies, Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity


This CEMS talking circle and workshop facilitates a broad discussion about the politics, power structures, and potentials of thinking about medieval pasts in concert with Indigenous futures. Analogues are a key category of evidence in medieval literary studies. When parallels between phrases, imagery, or narrative elements in stories are specific enough that they do not seem to be merely conventional, they empower us to make claims about the shared histories of texts and traditions, and so also about connections in and between the cultural milieux that produced them. Analogic arguments narrativize not only the historical relationships between texts in the past but also political relationships between nations in the present. The studies of analogues so common to medieval studies are always in this sense studies of kinship, between not only medieval peoples but also their modern descendants.The specific example of an analogue we proceed from is between the Great Law of Peace and the Bible. In his discussion of the Great Law, Kayanesenh Paul Williams (2018) acknowledges the parallels between the figures of the Peacemaker and Christ, and between the story of the Peacemaker’s conception and the story of the Annunciation. Such parallels have played a central role in the discussions of the Great Law that have aimed to evaluate its challenges to settler epistemologies of history. Our Circle will ask participants to think critically about the political traps of such comparisons. What might a methodology look like that would enable us to consider analogues like this one in such a way that speaks truly and productively to the interrelationship between European, Haudenosaunee, and other Indigenous peoples?The first half of the day the primary circle members—Tarren Andrews (Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes), Gage Diabo (Kanien’kehá:ka), Emma Hitchcock, and Stephen Yeager—will share thoughts and engage in a conversation about the above prompt. After a lunch break, the circle will expand to include all participants in the ongoing conversation. A full discussion prompt and recommended readings will be shared with registrants as pdfs.


March 10
10:30 am - 3:00 pm