Sarah Rivett is professor of English and American studies at Princeton University. She works at the intersection of early American and Atlantic literature and Indigenous studies. She is the author of The Science of the Soul in Colonial New England (2011) and Unscripted America: Indigenous Languages and the Origins of a Literary Nation (Oxford University Press, 2017). She has published articles on religion, witchcraft, Enlightenment, gender and conversion, and early American historiography. Her articles include studies of Native American language texts, colonial-Indigenous language encounters, and the impact of Indigenous languages on 18th-century religious and intellectual culture. She is currently writing a book on the raven as a literary symbol from the Book of Genesis to Edgar Allan Poe and from the classical stories of the Haida, Tlingit and other Indigenous literatures of the Pacific West to contemporary Indigenous theorizations of the raven as a metaphor for social justice. Tentatively titled “Raven’s Land”, this book rereads American literary history through raven stories that contest U.S. settler colonialism by disrupting origin myths and exceptionalist temporalities. Raven stories invoke an alternative meta-narrative of American history that links myth time to secular history, past to present and future, and humans to post-human possibilities including new forms of kinship and other-than-human relationships.
Professor of English and American Studies
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