The Challenge of Indigenous Peoples
Spectacle or Politics?
Barbara Glowczewski et Rosita Henry (ed.)
Oxford, The Bardwell Press, 2011, 300 p.
This book is concerned with the ways in which Indigenous peoples express their cultural and social identities in art and politics. Based on field research and practical initiatives with Indigenous peoples in Australia, Oceania, Asia and Siberia, it provides chapters on contemporary creative and political practices.
The authors, who include young anthropologists and artists, explore a range of performative and artistic contexts in which Indigenous people work to legitimate their singular existences through the networks they form with others. Their art, music, dance and ritual provide new and emergent forms of indigeneity, and are woven into political strategies for making their cultures travel across the world. "This is the first work to take performance and performativity really seriously in indigenous studies. These essays make visible complex negotiations of identity, power and place that completely revise received ideas of circumscribed, backward looking natives. Indigeneity here is all about mobility and inventiveness — concrete, difficult engagements with power and possibility at local, national, regional, and global scales. It is an active process of both staying grounded and going somewhere in post-modernity."
– Professor James Clifford, University of California, Santa Cruz
"While the artistic and cultural traditions of indigenous and traditional local peoples from disparate places around the world are constantly recruited into a global hybridity of fashion, media, scholarship and political movements, scholars such as those who have contributed to this excellent book, have looked beyond the mere surface to deeper meanings, history, social complexities and agency in the highly specific cases discussed here.
My colleagues, Glowczewski, Henry, De Largy Healy and Morvan, write about situations I know well, and have thought about deeply. Yet, their work reveals new ways of thinking about these issues that surprise and delight me. If you want to better understand the resonance of ancient traditions in the modern world, this book is the one."
– Professor Marcia Langton, University of Melbourne