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Since the 1800's, many European Americans have relied on Native Americans as models for their own national, racial, and gender identities. Displays of this impulse include world's fairs, fraternal organizations, and films such as Dances with Wolves. Shari M. Huhndorf uses cultural artifacts such as these to examine the phenomenon of "going native," showing its complex relations to social crises in the broader American society—including those posed by the rise of industrial capitalism, the completion of the military conquest of Native America, and feminist and civil rights activism. Huhndorf looks at several modern cultural manifestations of the desire of European Americans to emulate Native Americans. Some are quite pervasive, as is clear from the continuing, if controversial, existence of fraternal organizations for young and old which rely upon "Indian" costumes and rituals. Another fascinating example is the process by which Arctic travelers "went Eskimo," as Huhndorf describes in her readings of Robert Flaherty's travel narrative, My Eskimo Friends, and his documentary film, Nanook of the North. Huhndorf asserts that European Americans' appropriation of Native identities is not a thing of the past, and she takes a skeptical look at the "tribes" beloved of New Age devotees. Going Native shows how even seemingly harmless images of Native Americans can articulate and reinforce a range of power relations including slavery, patriarchy, and the continued oppression of Native Americans. Huhndorf reconsiders the cultural importance and political implications of the history of the impersonation of Indian identity in light of continuing debates over race, gender, and colonialism in American culture.
Huhndorf looks at modern cultural manifestations of the desire of European Americans to emulate Native Americans, showing how seemingly harmless images of Native Americans can articulate and reinforce a range of power relations including slavery, patriarchy, and oppression.
Since the 1800's, many European Americans have relied on Native Americans as models for their own national, racial, and gender identities. Displays of this impulse include world's fairs, fraternal organizations, and films such as Dances with Wolves. Shari M. Huhndorf uses cultural artifacts such as these to examine the phenomenon of "going native," showing its complex relations to social crises in the broader American society-including those posed by the rise of industrial capitalism, the completion of the military conquest of Native America, and feminist and civil rights activism. Huhndorf looks at several modern cultural manifestations of the desire of European Americans to emulate Native Americans. Some are quite pervasive, as is clear from the continuing, if controversial, existence of fraternal organizations for young and old which rely upon "Indian" costumes and rituals. Another fascinating example is the process by which Arctic travelers "went Eskimo," as Huhndorf describes in her readings of Robert Flaherty's travel narrative My Eskimo Friends and his documentary film Nanook of the North. Huhndorf asserts that European Americans' appropriation of Native identities is not a thing of the past, and she takes a skeptical look at the "tribes" beloved of New Age devotees. Going Native shows how even seemingly harmless images of Native Americans can articulate and reinforce a range of power relations including slavery, patriarchy, and the continued oppression of Native Americans. Huhndorf reconsiders the cultural importance and political implications of the history of the impersonation of Indian identity in light of continuing debates over race, gender, and colonialism in American culture.
"In discussing a wide array of legal, biological, and sociocultural definitions, Eva Garroutte documents how these have frequently been manipulated by the federal government, by tribal officials, and by Indian and non-Indian individuals to gain political, social, or economic advantage. Whether or not one agrees with her solutions, anyone seriously concerned with contemporary American Indian issues should read this book."—Garrick Bailey, editor of The Osage and the Invisible World "Real Indians is a remarkably candid, engaging, and compelling book. It tells the important and often controversial story of how 'Indian-ness' is negotiated in American culture by indigenous peoples, policy makers, and scholars."—Robert Wuthnow, author of Creative Spirituality "Eva Marie Garroutte has done an exemplary job of combining scholarly sources, personal accounts, interview data, and self-reflection to catalog and examine the ways in which individual and collective identities are asserted, negotiated, and revitalized. She invites readers to imagine an intellectual space where scholarly and traditional ways of knowing and telling come face to face in an epistemological landscape where the ‘traditions’ of social science and 'radical indigenism' can confront one another in constructive dialogue."—Joane Nagel, author of Race, Ethnicity, and Sexuality
In Members of the Tribe: Native America in the Jewish Imagination, author Rachel Rubinstein examines interventions by Jewish writers into an ongoing American fascination with the "imaginary Indian." Rubinstein argues that Jewish writers represented and identified with the figure of the American Indian differently than their white counterparts, as they found in this figure a mirror for their own anxieties about tribal and national belonging. Through a series of literary readings, Rubinstein traces a shifting and unstable dynamic of imagined Indian-Jewish kinship that can easily give way to opposition and, especially in the contemporary moment, competition. In the first chapter, "Playing Indian, Becoming American," Rubinstein explores the Jewish representations of Indians over the nineteenth century, through narratives of encounter and acts of theatricalization. In chapter 2, "Going Native, Becoming Modern," she examines literary modernism’s fascination with the Indian-poet and a series of Yiddish translations of Indian chants that appeared in the modernist journal Shriftn in the 1920s. In the third chapter, "Red Jews," Rubinstein considers the work of Jewish writers from the left, including Tillie Olsen, Michael Gold, Nathanael West, John Sanford, and Howard Fast, and in chapter 4, "Henry Roth, Native Son," Rubinstein focuses on Henry Roth’s complicated appeals to Indianness. The final chapter, "First Nations," addresses contemporary contestations between Jews and Indians over cultural and territorial sovereignty, in literary and political discourse as well as in museum spaces. As Rubinstein considers how Jews used the figure of the Indian to feel "at home" in the United States, she enriches ongoing discussions about the ways that Jews negotiated their identity in relation to other cultural groups. Students of Jewish studies and literature will enjoy the unique insights in Members of the Tribe.
Adams's study concludes with a revealing look at the revival of the freak show as live performance in the late 1980s and the 1990s. Celebrated by some, the freak show's recent return is less welcome to those who have traditionally been its victims. At the beginning of a new century, Adams sees it as a form of living history, a testament to the vibrancy and inventiveness of American popular culture, as well as its capacity for cruelty and injustice.
Since the end of the Mexican Revolution in 1917, the state has engaged in vigorous campaign to forge a unified national identity. Within the context of this effort, Indians are at once both denigrated and romanticized. Often marginalized, they are nonetheless subjects of constant national interest. Contradictory policies highlighting segregation, assimilation, modernization, and cultural preservation have alternately included and excluded MexicoÕs indigenous population from the stateÕs self-conscious efforts to shape its identity. Yet, until now, no single book has combined the various elements of this process to provide a comprehensive look at the Indian in MexicoÕs cultural imagination. Indigeneity in the Mexican Cultural Imagination offers a much-needed examination of this fickle relationship as it is seen through literature, ethnography, film and art. The book focuses on representations of indigenous peoples in post-revolutionary literary and intellectual history by examining key cultural texts. Using these analyses as a foundation, Analisa Taylor links her critique to national Indian policy, rights, and recent social movements in Southern Mexico. In addition, she moves beyond her analysis of indigenous peoples in general to take a gendered look at indigenous women ranging from the villainized Malinche to the highly romanticized and sexualized Zapotec women of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. The contradictory treatment of the Indian in MexicoÕs cultural imagination is not unique to that country alone. Rather, the situation there is representative of a phenomenon seen throughout the world. Though this book addresses indigeneity in Mexico specifically, it has far-reaching implications for the study of indigenaety across Latin America and beyond. Much like the late Edward SaidÕs Orientalism, this book provides a glimpse at the very real effects of literary and intellectual discourse on those living in the margins of society. This bookÕs interdisciplinary approach makes it an essential foundation for research in the fields of anthropology, history, literary critique, sociology, and cultural studies. While the book is ideal for a scholarly audience, the accessible writing and scope of the analysis make it of interest to lay audiences as well. It is a must-read for anyone seeking a deeper understanding of the politics of indigeneity in Mexico and beyond.
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