Ph.D., University of Illinois
Born in the Land of Oz, Dr. King resided in Alaska and Portland before settling in Kansas City for his wonder years. Attending the University of Kansas, he earned a B.A. and an M.A. in cultural anthropology, but more importantly drank schnapps with Fishbone, celebrated a national championship in basketball, became obsessed with the writings of Foucault, flirted with undertaking fieldwork in Polynesia, and fell in love with a rare jewel, who continues to dazzle him with her wit and beauty. In 1992, he stepped off the yellow brick road, venturing to the University of Illinois. There, his engagements with Chief Illiniwek and cultural studies prompted him to devote his energies to critical race studies, indigenous issues, and social justice. He came to WSU after teaching at Drake University in Des Moines for six years.
Dr. King has written extensively on the changing position of Native Americans in post–Civil Rights America, the colonial legacies and postcolonial predicaments of American culture, and struggles over Indianness in public culture. His work has appeared a variety of journals, such as American Indian Culture and Research Journal, Journal of Sport and Social Issues, Sociology of Sport Journal, Journal of Sport Media, Public Historian, Qualitative Inquiry, and Cultural Studies/Critical Methodologies. He is the author/editor of several books, including Team Spirits: The Native American Mascot Controversy (a CHOICE 2001 Outstanding Academic Title), Postcolonial America, Animating Difference: Race, Gender, and Sexuality in Films for Children, Beyond Hate: White Power and Popular Culture, and most recently Redskins: Insult and Brand. He is completing a monograph on playing Indian today, particularly how indigenous people negotiate dominant misconceptions of them in contexts ranging from professional wrestling to performance art.
Dr. King’s research concentrates on the racial politics of culture. He is particularly interested in theories of race and racism, white supremacist movements and ideologies, and the forms of memory, representation, identity, and power animating race relations. He has explored these themes in the context of expressive culture (museums, sports, films, music) and political struggles (indigenous activism concerned with representation, naming, and history).
While continuing to think about the Native American mascot controversy, Dr. King has expanded his inquiry into the racialization of sporting worlds, examining on the one hand the rich heritage and lasting significance of athleticism in Native America, while on the other hand interrogating mainstream and extreme accounts of race and sport. More recently, he has moved his inquiry to address intersectionality in animated films and racism in children’s culture, the use and abuse of the Holocaust in contemporary politics, and white power and/as popular culture.
In spring 2018, Dr. King initiated a new ethnographic project in Austria. While serving as a Fulbright Professor of Cultural Studies at the University of Graz, he began researching formulations of identity, manifestations of xenophobia, the politics of memory, and the place of American culture in Austria today.
The intersections of race, culture, and power center the classes taught by Dr. King. He teaches many of the core courses in the comparative ethnic studies major, regularly offering courses in Native American studies and cultural studies. In the coming year, he will be integrating his Fulbright experience into his courses and designing new courses to offer a broader, more global perspective on race, ethnicity, and culture.
Contact Dr. King
- CES 101
- CES 291