Penn Anthropology Colloquium: Margaret Bruchac, 'Consorting With Savages' (1/13/2012)

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During the early twentieth century, a cadre of highly influential white male scholars---Franz Boas, Frank Speck, and William Fenton, among others---dominated the field of American anthropology. These scholars asserted intellectual authority over their research, yet their unpublished correspondence reveals the agency of Indigenous gatekeepers---including George Hunt (Tlingit), Gladys Tantaquidgeon (Mohegan), and Jesse Cornplanter (Seneca), among others---who assisted, resisted, and otherwise complicated processes of ethnographic exchange. The protocols of these encounters shaped emerging anthropological theory and practice, and provoked disputes over representation and ownership that continue to resonate in contemporary discourse around constructions of knowledge from Indigenous collections.