William R Seaburg
Study of special topics in interdisciplinary arts and sciences. Prerequisite: BIS 300.
WINTER QUARTER 2008 - BIS 490D
EXOTICS AT HOME: AMERICANS STUDYING AMERICANS From the 1880's until the beginning of WWII, considerable fieldwork was directed at those segments of America's population that were considered marginal to--and problematic for--mainstream Americans, primarily Native Americans and African Americans. Both groups were interviewed, photographed, measured, tested, exhibited, and written about as research subjects. They were also creatively imagined in literature and other arts. This course will explore a sampling of the methodologies employed in, and the intellectual, political, and racial agendas that justified the construction of Indians, Blacks, and interred Japanese-Americans as appropriate objects of the dominant culture's gaze. Of special interest will be the recruitment by anthropologists such as Franz Boas of Native peoples (e.g., George Hunt, William Jones, Ella Deloria) and Blacks (e.g., Zora Neale Hurston) to investigate their own cultures and how these culture brokers positioned themselves vis-a-vis the dominant and their own cultures.
A second thrust of the course will be to look at a variety of evidentiary sources used by anthropologists and others in the construction of ethnographies and ethnohistories, such as photographs, Indian census rolls, correspondence, diaries, fieldnotes, oral traditions, oral history transcripts, movie news reels, and the like. We will look at such sources from an archivist's perspective and from a user's perspective, emphasizing the importance of provenance information and the unavoidability of interpretation.
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