Standing Peachtree and Indigenous New Media

Spring 2019
Chelsea Murdock
ENGL 1102

Indigenous knowledges and stories are mapped onto the land beneath your feet and mediated through oral and material modes. Indigenous knowledges and stories continue to be sovereign, embodied through various methods of meaning-making. This course focuses on the rhetorical practices of Native/American Indian communities and how those practices “make” meaning within indigenous communities. Considering a continuum of meaning-making practices, from ancient (such as petroglyphs) to precontact (such as weaving, wintercounts) to postcontact (such as creative and academic writing, music, video games, apps, comic books, and
other multimedia compositions), this course seeks to honor multiple ways of knowing, particularly through the lens of the three Rs: respect, reciprocity, and relationality. This course also locates itself in local histories. Before Atlanta, there was Pakanahuili, or “Standing Peachtree.” This place was once located at where Peachtree Creek meets the Chattahoochee River— not too far from the Tech campus. Now, at that location, there stands a water treatment plant which provides water to the city. We will place institutional texts (such as archaeological reports and water works reports) into conversation with local oral histories and Indigenous rhetorical practices to constellate various ways that the story of Standing Peachtree has been, is, and could be mediated. Likewise, this focus in local land-based indigenous histories will foster conversations regarding sovereignty, survivance, and story. Who tells the stories? How are those stories told? In what ways do those stories demonstrate respect, reciprocity, and relationality as well as survivance and sovereignty? By partnering with local indigenous communities, this course will center their knowledges and stories (as little or as much as they are willing).

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