In Dialogue with Mary Kathryn Nagle, playwright of Sovereignty

On Wednesday, February 7, at 5pm, Professor Naomi Mezey (Law Center) will be in conversation with the playwright and Georgetown alumna Mary Kathryn Nagle (COL ’05) whose daring new play Sovereignty debuts at Arena Stage as the fourth production in the company’s Power Plays initiative. The discussion will be moderated by Professor Ricardo Ortiz. This event is supported through the Arena Stage/Georgetown University/Andrew R. Ammerman F’72 Partnership, and in participation with GU Gender + Justice Initiative.


Sovereignty travels the intersections of personal and political truths, historic and present struggles. Sarah Ridge Polson, a young Cherokee lawyer fighting to restore her Nation’s jurisdiction, must confront the ever-present ghosts of her grandfathers. With shadows stretching from 1830s Cherokee Nation (now present-day Georgia) and Andrew Jackson’s White House to the Cherokee Nation in present-day Oklahoma, Sovereignty asks how high the flames of anger can rise before they ultimately consume the truth.


Mary Kathryn Nagleis an enrolled citizen of the Cherokee Nation. She currently serves as the executive director of the Yale Indigenous Performing Arts Program. She is also a partner at Pipestem Law, P.C., where she works to protect tribal sovereignty and the inherent right of Indian Nations to protect their women and children from domestic violence and sexual assault. She has authored numerous briefs in federal appellate courts, including the United States Supreme Court. She has received commissions from Arena Stage; The Rose Theater in Omaha, Nebraska; Portland Center Stage; Denver Center; and Yale Repertory. Her other plays include Manahatta, Return to Niobrara, Mnisose, Diamonds, Waaxe’s Law, Sliver of a Full Moon, My Father’s Bones, Miss Lead and Fairly Traceable. She is an alumna of Georgetown College, Class of 2005 in Justice and Peace Studies.


Naomi Mezey is a leading scholar of law and culture.  Her writings include articles on the role of law in the formation and recognition of identity, including gender and sexuality.  Her teaching fields include Civil Procedure, Jurisprudence, Legislation, Gender and Sexuality Law and Policy, and Nationalism.  Professor Mezey received a J.D. from Stanford Law School and an M.A. in American Studies from the University of Minnesota.  Prior to coming to Georgetown, Professor Mezey served as a law clerk to Judge Marilyn Hall Patel of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California and as a Legislative Aide to former Senator Alan Cranston


Ricardo Ortíz is an associate professor of U.S. Latino literature and culture and chair of the Department of English.