Mapping the Americas: The Transnational Politics of Contemporary Native Culture (Hardback)Shari M. Huhndorf (author)
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In Mapping the Americas, Shari M. Huhndorf tracks changing conceptions of Native culture as it increasingly transcends national boundaries and takes up vital concerns such as patriarchy, labor and environmental exploitation, the emergence of pan-Native urban communities, global imperialism, and the commodification of indigenous cultures.
While nationalism remains a dominant anticolonial strategy in indigenous contexts, Huhndorf examines the ways in which transnational indigenous politics have reshaped Native culture (especially novels, films, photography, and performance) in the United States and Canada since the 1980s. Mapping the Americas thus broadens the political paradigms that have dominated recent critical work in Native studies as well as the geographies that provide its focus, particularly through its engagement with the Arctic.
Among the manifestations of these new tendencies in Native culture that Huhndorf presents are Igloolik Isuma Productions, the Inuit company that has produced nearly forty films, including Atanarjuat, The Fast Runner; indigenous feminist playwrights; Leslie Marmon Silko's Almanac of the Dead; and the multimedia artist Shelley Niro. Huhndorf also addresses the neglect of Native America by champions of "postnationalist" American studies, which shifts attention away from ongoing colonial relationships between the United States and indigenous communities within its borders to U.S. imperial relations overseas.
This is a dangerous oversight, Huhndorf argues, because this neglect risks repeating the disavowal of imperialism that the new American studies takes to task. Parallel transnational tendencies in American studies and Native American studies have thus worked at cross-purposes: as pan-tribal alliances draw attention to U.S. internal colonialism and its connections to global imperialism, American studies deflects attention from these ongoing processes of conquest. Mapping the Americas addresses this neglect by considering what happens to American studies when you put Native studies at the center.
Publisher: Cornell University Press
Number of pages: 216
Weight: 482 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 20 mm
"Among the important interventions of Mapping the Americas, which focuses our attention on the emerging international dimension of Native American studies, is Shari M. Huhndorf's crucial argument that Native American studies should be the gateway to American studies."-Eric Cheyfitz, Ernest I. White Professor of American Studies and Humane Letters and Director, American Indian Program, Cornell University, author of The Poetics of Imperialism
"Long before Columbus arrived, the indigenous peoples of the Americas were transnational-their migrations, trade routes, and story sharing attest to this. After Columbus, additional layers of colonial and postcolonial transnationalism complicated this process in horrifically tragic ways but also in positive expressions of hybridization and sovereignty. In clear and convincing prose, Mapping the Americas places the complex dynamics of tribal transnationalism at the forefront of Native American and American studies. Shari M. Huhndorf addresses this multilayered process from appropriately multiple angles by examining the colonization of Alaska, Inuit media, transnational feminism-including a provocative reading of Spiderwoman Theater's Sun Moon and Feather-and the transnational, transtime visual narratives of Silko's Almanac of the Dead. Huhndorf concludes with a brilliant reading of the portraits, maps, and sculpture of Shelley Niro's installation The Border-a reading that incorporates Mohawk images and the importance of women while highlighting the turn to the transnational in post-1980 indigenous politics, art, and literature."-Kenneth M. Roemer, University of Texas at Arlington, coeditor, Cambridge Companion to Native American Literature
"Mapping the Americas provides a sustained critique of the transnational political movements that have reshaped global indigenous dynamics and altered the terrain of indigenous nationalist struggles in the Americas. Huhndorf shows how the tensions between transnational and national forms of indigenous resistance doubly implicate representational practices-by concurrently shaping the meanings of culture and by threatening to undermine Native political purposes. Mapping the Americas assesses these risks to argue for the critical importance of pan-tribal affiliations and counterhegemonic indigenous practices in the global era, especially those practices that unite communities across space, time, and culture to evoke forms of oppositional consciousness. This work boldly challenges us to think beyond nationalist paradigms in order to engage with cultural practices that have sustained indigenous communities in their ongoing struggles for decolonization. It represents an outstanding contribution to the emerging field of transnational indigenous cultural studies."-Cheryl Suzack, University of Victoria
"In this wise and wide-ranging book, Shari M. Huhndorf challenges truisms about contemporary Native nationalism in the arts while remaining respectful of the ideas that she asks us to rethink. She encourages us to recognize a transnationalism that carries particular weight for feminism, for communications technologies, for the visual arts and their dialogue with literature, for urban Native communities, and for contemporary anticolonial politics and alliances. Mapping the Americas extends Huhndorf's continuing project of bringing Eskimo and Inuit studies together with American Indian studies, and in that way and many other ways it offers a model of the alliance building that it invites us to study."-Robert Dale Parker, University of Illinois, author of The Invention of Native American Literature and The Sound the Stars Make Rushing through the Sky: The Writings of Jane Johnston Schoolcraft
"Covering a wide, and initially startling, range of materials, Shari M. Huhndorf's Mapping the Americas offers a powerful and much-needed reconsideration of recent trends in Native American studies, while also posing a timely challenge to American Studies scholars whose scholarship fails to account for the place of indigenity within the national imaginaries of the United States and Canada. By ranging far afield of the standard texts of Native American studies while placing each of the works she analyzes in the larger context of European colonization of the Americas, Huhndorf has produced what is destined to be a field-changing book."-Paula M. L. Moya, Stanford University, author of Learning from Experience: Minority Identities, Multicultural Struggles
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