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University of Massachusetts Amherst

University of Massachusetts Amherst

English Department

Faculty Profiles: Ronald Welburn

Contact Information:

460 Bartlett Hall
Amherst, MA 0l003
p: 413-545-3694
f: 413-545-3880

Course Pages:
English 279 Course Syllabus


RON WELBURN (Gingaskin & Assateague/Cherokee/African American) is a Professor of English at the University of Massachusetts Amherst teaching American Literature surveys, critical writing, and undergraduate and graduate Native American literatures and American Studies courses. He also directs the undergraduate Native American Indian Studies Certificate Program. Welburn received a B.A. in both Psychology and English from Lincoln University (PA), an M.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Arizona, and a Ph.D. in American Studies from New York University. His research and teaching interests include ethnohistory of eastern Native America, postmodernism, cultural studies, and jazz studies.

A widely published poet, the latest of his six books is Coming Through Smoke and the Dreaming (Greenfield Review Press, 2000). One of his poems, "Yellow Wolf Spirit," first appeared in the special Native American issue of the journal Callaloo, from which it was selected by Adrienne Rich for inclusion in Best American Poetry 1996. His collection of essays, Roanoke and Wampum: Topics in Native American Heritage and Literatures (Peter Lang 2001), was co-winner of the Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers' Writer of the Year 2002 Award for Creative Prose: Nonfiction. An essay, "A Most Secret Identity: Native American Assimilation and Identity Resistance in African America," is included in Confounding the Color Line: Indian-Black Relations in Multidisciplinary Perspective, edited by James F. Brooks (Nebraska 2001). He reviews books for KRITIKUM and CHOICE, and has also published in MELUS and The Journal of American Culture. For over two decades Welburn published jazz and international music reviews in JazzTimes and other periodicals. He formerly coordinated the Jazz Oral History Project of the National Endowment for the Arts at the Institute of Jazz Studies at Rutgers University Newark.

Welburn has been a consultant and discussion leader for state arts and humanities councils in New York, Connecticut, and Massachusetts and for the Five College Public School Partnership. He chaired the Five College Native American Studies Committee from 1994-1998, and is a co-founding member of CISA (Center for the Interdisciplinary Study of the Americas). He joined MELUS in 1973 and is a member of the Association for the Study of American Indian Literatures. He and his wife were head dancers at the UMass Pow Wow in 2000.

Among his current projects are developing a profile of the obscure mixed- ancestry Native author of nineteenth century Hartford, Ann Plato; a study of Native Americans in jazz and early blues; and more poetry.

Ron Welburn
Bartlett 479
(413) 545-5518

For Native American Studies information contact:

(413) 577-1607