“Let the Indian Paint His Own Picture”: Alice Fletcher and Cultural Representation Paradoxes

Date: 

Thursday, November 30, 2017, 6:00pm

Location: 

Geological Lecture Hall, 24 Oxford Street, Cambridge

Robert Baron, Director, Folk Arts Program, New York State Council on the Arts

Pioneering Peabody anthropologist Alice Fletcher researched and advocated for Native Americans at a time of massive threats to their cultures. Her approaches to advocacy prefigured by a century the dialogic turn that brought about joint creation of cultural representations by anthropologists and the communities they study. She supported Native rights, but also promoted a now-discredited “civilization” agenda. Robert Baron will compare Fletcher’s approaches to those of contemporary public folklorists who equip communities to research and present their own traditions. His lecture will explore how scholars can best share authority with communities and facilitate cultural self-determination.

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