MVSKOKE RESERVATION – A new edited volume of essays about Oklahoma history seeks to shed light on alternative Oklahoma stories. “We Belong to the Land: Dreamers, Outsiders, and Change-Makers in Oklahoma” is a forthcoming collection of essays that focuses on the histories in Oklahoma that are often left out or untold.
The volume will be edited by the Director of the Center for Poets and Writers at OSU-Tulsa, Dr. Lindsey Claire Smith, and University of Alberta Associate Professor of Modern Languages and Cultural Studies, Dr. Russell Cobb. The volume was inspired by the work of David D. Joyce’s “Alternative Oklahoma” that looked at the history of Oklahoma through its populist, and often radical political past.
Speaking with Mvskoke Media’s LiveWire, Dr. Cobb explained, “What we really want to do is feature just that idea of alternative Oklahoma and people who are working in community, who are doing, taking action steps to make Oklahoma a better place to live… tell stories that people don’t know about and would benefit from knowing. ”
Cobb and Smith want their work to go past the common images of Oklahoma history, the ones that pop up in scholarship and media that are heavy with stylized stereotypes. “We have such a rich place with so many other stories, peoples that have been either forgotten or deliberately erased from our state’s history. So anyone who can speak to those stories, you have a unique story to tell.”
The work will focus on changemakers in the state that have committed themselves to improving their communities and the futures of Oklahomans. While the editors are focusing on untold stories and histories, the objective is really about Oklahoma futures. As Cobb furthered, “And I think one of the goals we have is to really keep it focused on the future, not just the past as well.”
While the submission deadline for “We Belong to the Land: Dreamers, Outsiders, and Change-Makers in Oklahoma” was Nov 1, Smith and Cobb are still considering submissions. The essays and other contributions must be well researched and fact-checked. While the volume is academic in nature, they are clear that the work is open to anyone with a unique story to tell.
Cobb explained, “What we’re really after are storytellers. And people who really know how, who are rooted in community, are rooted in history and can speak to a particular kind of story. It doesn’t necessarily have to follow all the footnotes and whatever kind of style guide. But as long as you have that and you can speak to it and you’re passionate about it, I think it would make for a nice contribution.”
For information on the submission process and contribution overview, visit Call for Contributors