Eric Cheyfitz is the Ernest I. White Professor of American Studies and Humane Letters at Cornell University, where he teaches American literatures, American Indian literatures, and federal Indian law. He is the author of three books: The Transparent: Sexual Politics in the Language of Emerson (1981); The Poetics of Imperialism: Translation and Colonization from The Tempest to Tarzan (1991, 1997); and The (Post)Colonial Construction of Indian Country: U.S. American Indian Literatures and Federal Indian Law, which appears as Part I of his edited volume, The Columbia Guide to American Indian Literatures of the United States since 1945 (2006). In addition to these books he has published numerous essays in the fields of law, literature, cultural and postcolonial studies. His most recent publication is an essay, “What Is A Just Society? Native American Philosophies and the Limits of Capitalism’s Imagination,” which appeared in Sovereignty, Indigeneity, and the Law, a special issue of South Atlantic Quarterly (110:2, Spring 2011), which he also co-edited.
In addition to his scholarly publications, Cheyfitz has been the director of Cornell’s American Indian Program and the faculty coordinator for the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Program at Cornell. He has been an op-ed columnist for the newspaper, Indian Country Today, has appeared in the award-winning documentary film on Western Shoshone land rights, Our Land, Our Life (2007), as well as on public radio, where he has discussed issues of academic freedom, federal Indian law, and Native American literatures. He has served as an expert witness in the academic freedom case of Ward Churchill, and in cases involving Indian rights. Throughout his career, his focus has been to connect his scholarship and teaching to progressive social action.