Across North America, hundreds of reconstructed 'living history' 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. Drawing on anthropology, history, cultural performance, cross-cultural encounters, material culture theory, and public history, author Laura Peers examines 'living history' sites as locations of cultural performance where core beliefs about society, cross-cultural relationships, and history are performed. In the process, she emphasizes how choices made in the communication of history can both challenge these core beliefs about the past and improve cross-cultural relations in the present.
|Publisher:||Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.|
|Series:||American Association for State and Local History Series|
|Edition description:||New Edition|
|Product dimensions:||6.09(w) x 9.14(h) x 0.50(d)|
About the Author
Laura Peers is lecturer in anthropology, curator of the Americas Collections at the Pitt River Museum, and fellow at Linacre College, University of Oxford.
Table of Contents
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
What People are Saying About This
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.
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.
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.
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