Michael SnyderProfessor of English
Division of English and Humanities
Native American Literature
Introduction to Literature
Introduction to Philosophy
PhD English, University of Oklahoma
MA English, University of Colorado Boulder
BA English, Haverford College, Pennsylvania
Semester abroad, University College, University of London
Dr. Snyder very much enjoys working closely with student writers and readers, cultivating critical discourse and self-expression, and fostering appreciation and critical study of literature and culture. Snyder’s specialty areas include twentieth-century and contemporary American literature and culture, Native American Studies, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Indigenous Studies, Composition and Rhetoric, American Studies, Cultural Studies, Creative Writing, and Film Studies.
Snyder’s current research focuses on two twentieth-century authors. John Joseph Mathews (1894-1979) was a mixedblood Osage writer who was born in Pawhuska, Indian Territory. After becoming a flight school instructor during World War I and earning a degree from Oxford University and traveling in Europe in the 1920s, Mathews lived much of his life on the prairie outside of the Osage Nation capitol on his allotment land, in his stone cabin he called The Blackjacks. Mathews wrote of his tribal history, the ecology of the tallgrass prairie, and his own fascinating life.
Novelist and playwright James Purdy (1914-2009) was a Midwestern gay exile from Ohio who lived in New York City. Purdy’s edgy and powerful work, although controversial, was praised by some of the twentieth century’s greatest literary minds. Purdy was the subject of Snyder’s doctoral dissertation at OU. A publishing event, The Complete Short Stories of James Purdy (Norton/Liveright 2013, intro by John Waters) acknowledges: “Scholar Michael Snyder, PhD, helped to set forth correct and long-missing biographical information, permitting an understanding of Purdy’s creative process and development in the context of his full body of work” (725).
Snyder enjoys presenting his research at academic conferences all over North America from Albuquerque to Saskatoon, especially those focused on Native American Studies and American literature. He was a grant recipient and participant in the NEH American History and Culture Workshop, Legacies and Landmarks of the Lower Plains Indians at various sites in Nebraska, the Omaha Nation, and Kansas.
Snyder has published book chapters in edited collections such as Gerald Vizenor: Texts and Contexts (University of New Mexico Press), Across Cultures/Across Borders: Canadian Aboriginal and Native American Literatures (Broadview), and The Poetry and Poetics of Gerald Vizenor (UNM P), and has penned numerous book reviews for journals and magazines. He has published a dozen peer-reviewed critical articles in scholarly journals including SAIL: Studies in American Indian Literatures, Critique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction, Chronicles of Oklahoma, and Huxley Annual.
In his spare time Professor Snyder enjoys creative writing; his poetry has been published in the anthology Ain't Nobody that Can Sing Like Me: New Oklahoma Writing (Ed. Jeanetta Calhoun-Mish, Mongrel Empire Press), and in several literary magazines. Snyder is also a music fan and record collector who enjoys jazz, 1960s rock and pop, shoegaze, post-punk, and indie. A veteran of underground music scenes, Snyder plays a little guitar and drums when he is not writing, researching, grading, or parenting. Snyder wrote album and book reviews for Skyscraper—once a zine, then a print magazine, now online—for over a decade. Before OCCC, Dr. Snyder taught at the University of Oklahoma and at Aims Community College, Loveland Campus, Colorado.