Playing Ourselves: Interpreting Native Histories at Historic Reconstructions

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März 2007



Across North America, hundreds of reconstructed Oliving historyO sites, which traditionally presented history from a primarily European perspective, have hired Native staff in an attempt to communicate a broader view of the past. Playing Ourselves explores this major shift in representation, using detailed observations of five historic sites in the U.S. and Canada to both discuss the theoretical aspects of Native cultural performance and advise interpreters and their managers on how to more effectively present an inclusive history.


Chapter 1 Vignette: Ruth Christie Chapter 2 Introduction Chapter 3 1. Landscapes Chapter 4 2. Cosmologies Chapter 5 Vignette: Nokie Chapter 6 3. Anishinaabeg Chapter 7 Vignette: "What's This?" Chapter 8 4. Authenticities and Materialities Chapter 9 Vignette: Bob and Betty Visit Fort William Chapter 10 5. Visitors Chapter 11 6. Encounters and Borderlands Chapter 12 Vignette: Angelique Chapter 13 7. The Living and the Dead: Conclusions Chapter 15 References Cited


Laura Peers is lecturer in anthropology, curator of the Americas Collections at the Pitt River Museum, and fellow at Linacre College, University of Oxford.


The inclusion of Native American interpreters and their perspective has the potential to make significant changes to the manner in which First Nations/Native History is presented, and to the public's understanding of Native-white relations at fur trade and mission sites... Peers' study captures the complexities of how these histories are negotiated and produced, and provides insights on their impact at shaping the public's understanding of Native American history. -- Amy Lonetree, Portland State University Playing Ourselves offers a lively, sophisticated, and trenchant account of the movement to include Native interpreters and perspectives in living history museums in the U.S. and Canada. Focusing on five historical sites in the Great Lakes region, Peers reveals how stereotypes are both reproduced and subverted in encounters between visitors and Native interpreters. In its emphasis on the agency of indigenous interpreters, this book is a welcome contribution to the scholarly literature on cultural tourism, cultural performance, museum representation, and contemporary indigenous life. I look forward to sharing Playing Ourselves with my students in anthropology, performance studies, museum studies, and Native American Studies. -- Pauline Turner Strong, University of Texas at Austin, associate professor, University of Texas at Austin, author of American Indians and the American Imaginary ...the subject of the work is so fascinating and Peers' arguments so cogent that it needs to be on the "must read" list of anyone involved, however peripherally, in historic reconstructions. Muse, January/February 2008 Peer's extensive archival research and interviews with staff and visitors give us a better understanding of how Native histories are produced and negotiated...Playing Ourselves should be required reading for all museum studies students and professionals... -- White Wolf James Museum Magazine, May 2008 The author's methodology is consistent with the highest standards of anthropological practices. We are impessed with Peer's commitment to long-term analysis. This is one of the book's strengths. Peer's rapport with her informants, established through years of follow-up fieldwork, directly benefits the research and reader alike and helps create a sense of confidence in the content. This book is academic yet accessible, and we highly recommended it. Public Historian A much-needed analysis of the difficult tensions involved in cultural exchange, interpretation, and in our understanding of authority and power as they relate to ethnic and historic representation. -- Andrew Jolivette, San Francisco State University Peers' work is a valuable contribution to the literature on the representation of Native peoples... Peers' work is well-balanced, and readers from a variety of fields ... will find much here to appreciate. Museum Anthropology Review, October 2008 This is essentially a book about encounters: encounters between Native interpreters and visitors at historic sites, of course-but also encounters between differing preconceptions of history, between ways of life, between people and things, and between the present and the past. Laura Peers succeeds in exploring a number of questions concerning the development, aims, politics, agency, and multiple contexts and interpretations of the historical representations negotiated at these sites. A greatly enjoyable and very readable book. -- Sandra Dudley Great Plains Quarterly, Spring 2009 Peers has produced a very important analysis...There can be no question that Laura Peers' Playing Ourselves is worthy of serious attention from a wide range of material culture, historic site, museum, tourism, and both Native and non-Native practitioners. Material Culture Playing Ourselves speaks to the contemporary politics of representation across cultural divides... This book is mandatory reading for anyone interested in the complex negotiations that take place during processes of representing 'the Other' at cultural tourism sites and their implications for shifting power relationships. Anthropology Of Work Review
EAN: 9780759110625
ISBN: 075911062X
Untertitel: Sprache: Englisch.
Erscheinungsdatum: März 2007
Seitenanzahl: 207 Seiten
Format: kartoniert
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