Skip to main content

Susan Kalter

Professor, American Literature and Native American Studies
Stevenson Hall - STV 424J
Office Hours
Spring 2023 (if looking for a later semester, email me): TR at 4:50 p.m. (meet me in STV 348 or wait near STV 424J for my return from class) and by appointment by Zoom only on Wednesdays:
  • About
  • Education
  • Awards & Honors
  • Research

Current Courses

432.001Studies In Mid-Nineteenth Century American Literature & Cultures

130.001Survey Of American Literature

Teaching Interests & Areas

• Literary, cultural, and historical study of the United States and North America

• Native American studies/Native American literatures

• Ethnic studies, critical theories of race including critical race theory, post-colonial/anti-colonial/decolonial theory

• World literatures, especially African, Caribbean, and circum-Caribbean (Anglophone, Francophone, Hispanophone)

• New American literary history & the archival recovery of noncanonical American texts

• African American literatures

• Wilderness and the environment

Research Interests & Areas

• North American Literatures

• 18th, 19th and early 20th century literary and cultural studies

• Native American studies/Native American literatures

• Global, multi-ethnic intellectual histories & intellectual spheres of influence

• The histories of imperialism, colonization and de-colonization

• Oral traditions, non-alphabetic writing systems, and their relationship to alphabetic literacy and writing

• Philosophies of language

• Multiculturism, critical theories of race including critical race theory, post-colonial/anti-colonial/decolonial theory

Service to the University

Director & advisor, Interdisciplinary Program in Native American Studies (2007-present)

Co-Director & advisor, Interdisciplinary Program in Ethnic Studies (2018-present); sole director & advisor from 2007-2018

AMALI Curriculum Committee, 2019-present

University Curriculum Committee (elected, 2021-22)

• Vice Chair and liaison to the Academic Affairs Committee of the Academic Senate (elected, 2021-22)

Undergraduate Committee, Department of English (2000-02; Spring 2003; 2015-17; 2019-22; Chairperson, 2021-22)

Academic Senate (elected, 2006-21)

• Chair of the Senate (elected annually, 2014-21)

• Secretary of the Senate (elected annually, 2007-14)

• Member, Executive Committee (2007-21)

• Faculty Affairs Committee (Chair (elected) 2011-12; Member 2016-17, 2020-21)

• Member, Rules Committee (2019-20)

• Member, Planning and Finance Committee (2007-08, 2014-16, 2017-19)

• Member, Academic Affairs Committee (2013-14)

• Chair, Administrative Affairs and Budget Committee (elected, 2006-07, 2008-11, 2012-13)

• Chair, ASPT Equity ad hoc committee (2017-18)

• Chair, Academic Impact Fund ad hoc committee (2017-present)

• Chair, AFEGC Procedures working group (Summer 2017)

• Communications liaison to the Humanities faculty (2007-08, 2013-14)

Academic Planning Committee (member and liaison to the Academic Affairs Committee, 2013-14; ex-officio member, 2014-21; double member 2020-21)

Committee on Campus Communications to the Board of Trustees (2007-09, 2014-21; Chair, 2015-16, 2018-19)

Provost’s Advisory Council (ex-officio member, 2014-21)

Capital Planning and Budget Team (ex-officio member, 2014-21)

Chair, Council of Illinois University Senates (elected, 2014-21)

Data Stewardship and Information Technology Services Council (ex-officio member, 2015-21)

Compliance Working Group (2015-21)

Faculty Library Liaison, Department of English (2012-2020)

University Facilities Use Task Force, Fall 2018-Fall 2019

Research Proposal Review Committee, College of Arts and Sciences (2017-19)

Department Faculty Status Committee, Department of English (elected, 2017-19)

Provost’s ad hoc committee toward proposal for IDEAS (U.S. Diversity) Graduation Requirement (invited, 2017-18)

Chair, Search Committee for a tenure-track faculty position in English Education, Department of English (2017-18)

Educating Illinois/University Strategic Plan Taskforce, January 2017-May 2018

ISU Homepage Working Group (2016-18)

Advisor, Graduate Student Association, a Registered Student Organization (2013-18)

Leadership Initiative Admissions and Advisory Committee (March 2016-May 2017)

Enterprise Portal Steering Committee (2016-17)

Unmanned Aircraft Systems policy drafting team (2015-17)

Institutional Review Board Internal Procedures Revision Task Force (Spring 2016)

Higher Learning Commission Accreditation Steering Committee (ex-officio member, 2014-15)

English Education Committee, Department of English (2014-15)

Search Committee for a tenure-track faculty position in African Literatures and Cultures, Department of English (2013-14)

Diversity Committee, Department of English (2007-09, 2012-13)

Faculty Advisory Board for Diversity Advocacy (formerly Intercultural Programs and Services)/Native American student issues sub-committee (2004-11, co-founder)

Graduate Committee, Department of English (2009-10)

Faculty Mentor, University Scholars Program (2008-09)

Search Committee for the Chair of the Department of English, College of Arts and Sciences (elected, 2007-08)

Search Committee for a tenure-track faculty position in Global Literatures, Department of English (2007-08)

Advisor, Flatlanders Climbing Club, a Registered Student Organization (2006-08)

Member, Selection Committee, Student Involvement Awards (2007)

Global Literature Committee, College of Arts and Sciences (2006-07)

College Curriculum Committee, College of Arts and Sciences (2002-03; 2005-06)

Professional Growth Committee, Department of English (2005-06)

Department Council, Department of English (elected, 2003-2005)

Faculty Advisory Committee, Laboratory for Integrated Learning and Technology (2001-03)

Julia Visor Award (formerly the C.L.R. James/Malcolm X Award) Subcommittee, Department of English (2000-03)

Writing Committee, Department of English (Fall 2002)

Nominating Committee for Minority-Scholar-in-Residence Charlene Teters (2002)

Search Committee for a tenure-track faculty position in Mid-Nineteenth-Century American Literature, Department of English (2001-02)

Ph D Literature

University of California, San Diego 1999

MA Literature

University of California, San Diego 1997

BA English with interdisciplinary emphasis

Stanford University 1991

Faculty Research Award

$7000 toward translation and critical interpretation of a Québecois novel

Chairperson, Academic Senate of Illinois State University

Elected for seven consecutive annual terms from 2014 through

Outstanding College Service Award

College of Arts and Sciences

Outstanding Departmental Service Award

Department of English

University Leadership Initiative

Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Faculty Research Award

$3000 toward developing volumes of John Joseph Mathews' posthumous works

Summer Faculty Fellowship

$5,000 toward developing volumes of John Joseph Mathews' posthumous works

Pre-Tenure Faculty Initiative Grant

$2,500 toward Benjamin Franklin, Pennsylvania, and the First Nations

Summer Stipend, National Endowment for the Humanities

$5000 toward Benjamin Franklin, Pennsylvania, and the First Nations

New Faculty Initiative Grant

$2,500, working title “She’s going to adopt me and sivilize me and I can’t stand it”: Haunted literacies in Twain, Lhérisson, and Zitkala-Sa

Book, Authored

Mathews, John Joseph.  The Stories of John Joseph Mathews – an Osage Writer.  Edited, annotated & introduced by Susan Kalter.  Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2022.

Mathews, John Joseph.  Old Three Toes and Other Tales of Survival and Extinction.  Edited, annotated & with an afterword by Susan Kalter.  Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2015.

Mathews, John Joseph.  Twenty Thousand Mornings:  An Autobiography of John Joseph Mathews.  Edited, annotated & introduced by Susan Kalter.  Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2012.

Hsu, Hsuan and Susan Kalter, eds.  Two Texts by Edward Everett Hale:  “The Man without a Country” and Philip Nolan’s Friends.  Lanham, Maryland: Lexington Books, 2009.

Kalter, Susan, ed.  Benjamin Franklin, Pennsylvania, and the First Nations:  The Treaties of 1736-62.  Champaign: University of Illinois Press, 2006.

Brown, Barry, Christopher Conway, Rhett Gambol, Susan Kalter, Laura Ruberto, Tomas Taraborrelli, and Donald Wesling, eds. Bakhtin and the Nation. Bucknell Review 43.2 (1999). Introduction by Susan Kalter, Laura Ruberto, Tomas Taraborrelli and Donald Wesling.

Journal Article

Kalter, Susan. "A Savagist Abroad:  Anti-Colonial Theory and the Quiet Violence in Twain’s Western Oeuvre.”  Texas Studies in Literature and Language 53.1 (Spring 2011):  26-113.

Kalter, Susan.  “Clothing The Prairie in Furs:  The International Trade Contexts of Cooper’s Western Novel.”  Western American Literature 43.2 (Summer 2008):  148-178.

Kalter, Susan.  “A Student of Savage Thought:  The Ecological Ethic in Moby-Dick and Its Grounding in Native American Ideologies.”  ESQ:  A Journal of the American Renaissance 48.1-2 (2002):  1-40. 

Kalter, Susan. “Finding a Place for David Cusick in Native American Literary History.” MELUS: The Journal of the Society for the Study of the Multi-Ethnic Literature of the United States 27.3 (Fall 2002): 9-42.

Kalter, Susan. “John Joseph Mathews’ Reverse Ethnography: The Literary Dimensions of Wah’Kon-Tah.” SAIL 14.1 (Spring 2002): 26-50. Reprint in Native American Writing: Critical Assessments. Volume II. 2011.

Kalter, Susan. “ ‘America’s Histories’ Revisited: The Case of Tell Them They Lie.” American Indian Quarterly 25.3 (Summer 2001): 329-351.

Kalter, Susan. “ ‘Chickamauga’ as an Indian-Wars Narrative: The Relevance of Ambrose Bierce for a First-Nations-Centered Study of the Nineteenth Century.” Arizona Quarterly 56.4. (Winter 2001): 57-82. Reprint in Short Story Criticism, Vol. 244, 2017.

Kalter, Susan. “The Last of the Mohicans as Contemporary Theory: James Fenimore Cooper’s Philosophy of Language.” James Fenimore Cooper Society Miscellaneous Papers 11. (August 1999): 1-14.

Kalter, Susan. “The Path to Endless: Gary Snyder in the mid-1990s.” Texas Studies in Literature and Language 41.1 (Spring 1999): 16-46.


Interviews and Invited Talks

“An Interview with Susan Kalter.” Oral History Interview with Susan Kalter. Topic: The career and archive of John Joseph Mathews. Interview conducted by Karen Neurohr. Chicago. 30 June 2013. Spotlighting Oklahoma Oral History Project. Oklahoma Oral History Research Program, Edmon Low Library, Oklahoma State University, 2015:

“Condolence in Eighteenth-Century Treaty Making and Beyond: Franklin and the Language of International Diplomacy in Eastern North America.” Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of the American Indian, George Gustav Heye Center. New York City, New York. 10 March 2012.

“Key Topics around Edward Everett Hale’s Philip Nolan’s Friends.” Hale House Museum Planning Conference. Sponsored by the Pettaquamscutt Historical Society. Matunuck, Rhode Island. 19 July 2007.


Innocent, Antoine. Mimola: or, The Story of a Casket (1906), translation and afterword by Susan Kalter. Normal, Illinois: Undiscovered Americas Series, 2018:

Corneille, Pierre. Médée: Pierre Corneille's Medea (1635) in English translation. Bloomington, Illinois: Susan Kalter, publisher, 2016.