Mark Minch (enrolled member of the Susanville Indian Rancheria in Northern California) was the Andrew W. Mellon postdoctoral fellow in Native American Studies at Wesleyan University 2014-2016. He is currently an assistant professor of Indigenous Studies in the Department of English at UC Riverside as well as a Mellon Sawyer postdoctoral fellow at Tufts University, 2016-2017.
Minch earned his PhD in Rhetoric at the University of California, Berkeley under the advisement of Trinh T. Minh-ha. He holds a BA in Philosophy with Honors from California State University, Chico. He has a Designated Emphasis in Women, Gender and Sexuality and a Minor in Creative Writing. Mark’s research puts Native American and Indigenous critical theories into conversation with the California Indian post-apocalypse; the art, science and politics of cultural revitalization; the relationship between sovereignty and indigeneity; theories and practices of representation and gesture; and the decolonization of knowledge, culture, and the land.
Focusing primarily on Native California, with ramifications for other Indigenous regions, Minch’s book manuscript in-progress, Native Revitalizations: Transcriptions and Gestures of Cultural Return, explores the ontological and political implications of current cultural revitalization efforts. The project asks: How can individualized and humanized bodies ethically be reconnected to the neglected and shameful detritus of settler colonial knowledge production without falling into the traps of (1) modernizing heritage and (2) an organicist model of revitalization that risks cooptation by the state in the form of biocultural management? This is a serious dilemma that requires some way of assessing cultural life differently.
Minch is also working on a project that explores the auto-archiving practices of the Tá⦁yi mà a/Kóyo⦁mkàwi Maidu Artist Frank Day. Frank Day was a liminal figure in many ways, to both his community and his wider California context, and yet he was also very central to many of the discourses produced in relation to California Indians during his lifetime. His use of figurative painting and self-recording to document Maidu lifeways, landscapes, and stories created a complicated relationship between representation and gesture, one not easily subsumed under the aesthetic or ethnographic categories that dominated discussion of Native American cultural and knowledge production.
While on fellowship at Wesleyan, Minch taught several new courses including: “Earth Ear: Ethnomusicology, Soundscapes, and the Native American Archive”; “Museumizing: ‘Science’, Stories and the Arts of Native Americans”; “Ethnography and Native American Literature: Performativity and the Archive”; and “Forgetting, Denying, and Archiving: A Hemispheric Perspective on Memory and Violence.”
Minch has presented his work at the California Indian Conference, the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association Conference, and the International Conference on the Inclusive Museum.
CV and course syllabi available upon request.