Expanding Materially-Instantiated Social & Spatial Relations: Almanac of the Dead as a Reconceptualization of History & Modernity

Laurie Rodrigues


My study engages Leslie Marmon Silko’s Almanac of the Dead (1991) with Thomas Edison’s short film, “Sioux Ghost Dance,” from Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show (c.1894). I will demonstrate how Almanac re-imagines traditional social and spatial arrangements, revealing the historically-specific space of social relations and re-announcing the spatial and temporal proportions of that space. The novel’s re-mapping of the Americas constitutes an alternatively-networked politics of pure antagonism that simultaneously betrays the discord of “coherent” networks and territorially-confined forms of modernity, but also the antagonism that belies the identitarian subject him/herself. This paper elaborates Almanac’s reading of capitalist networks and other Euro-American epistemologies as configuring a logic of stasis. Aligning Edison’s film with moments from the novel, I argue that such spatializations imagine actors within a blank space outside of history, figuring them as static scenery to the progress of modernity. Highlighting the virtual and material entanglement of spatial and social relations, Silko’s Almanac of the Dead asserts that social relations (as material practices) are limited to—and thus refigured by—the spatial formations that they actualize. The novel’s materialist strategy for resistance evades multiculturalism’s politicized and territorially-confined model of identity. Encountered in this manner, I argue that Silko’s novel performs a necessary re-configuration of alternatives to existing, static nationalisms and liberal multicultural identity politics.
Key words: Silko; Agonism; Epistemology; The Americas; Marxism; Territory; Identity Politics


Silko; Agonism; Epistemology; The Americas; Marxism; Territory; Identity Politics


Brown, W. (1995). States of injury: Power and freedom in late modernity. Princeton: Princeton UP.

Laclau, E. (1990). New reflections on the revolutions of our time. New York: Verso.

Ostler, J. (2004). The plains sioux and U.S. colonialism from Lewis and Clarke to wounded knee. Cambridge: Cambridge UP.

Silko, L.M. (1991). Almanac of the dead. New York: Simon & Schuster.

Deleuze, G. (1986). Cinema I: The movement image. Minneapolis: Minnesota UP.

Zizek, S. (2000). The ticklish subject: The absent center of political ontology. New York: Verso. ----. (2006). The parallax view. Cambridge: MIT Press.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3968/n


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c)

Share us to:   


Online Submissionhttp://cscanada.org/index.php/sll/submission/wizard


How to do online submission to another Journal?

If you have already registered in Journal A, then how can you submit another article to Journal B? It takes two steps to make it happen:

1. Register yourself in Journal B as an Author

Find the journal you want to submit to in CATEGORIES, click on “VIEW JOURNAL”, “Online Submissions”, “GO TO LOGIN” and “Edit My Profile”. Check “Author” on the “Edit Profile” page, then “Save”.

2. Submission

Go to “User Home”, and click on “Author” under the name of Journal B. You may start a New Submission by clicking on “CLICK HERE”.

We only use three mailboxes as follows to deal with issues about paper acceptance, payment and submission of electronic versions of our journals to databases: caooc@hotmail.com; sll@cscanada.net; sll@cscanada.org

 Articles published in Studies in Literature and Language are licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 (CC-BY).


Address: 1055 Rue Lucien-L'Allier, Unit #772, Montreal, QC H3G 3C4, Canada.
Telephone: 1-514-558 6138 
Website: Http://www.cscanada.net; Http://www.cscanada.org 
E-mailoffice@cscanada.net; office@cscanada.org; caooc@hotmail.com

Copyright © 2010 Canadian Academy of Oriental and Occidental Culture