[Msa-discuss] CFP: American Studies Association 2014 Annual Meeting

Johnston, Carrie cjohnston at mail.smu.edu
Mon Jan 20 17:56:32 EST 2014

Dear Colleagues,

We are seeking proposals for the American Studies Association panel described below. Please send abstracts to Carrie Johnston (cjohnston at smu) and Sigrid Cordell (scordell at umich.edu) by Sunday, January 26.

“The ‘Pre-Occupation’ of the American West”

Ethnography is inextricable from any narrative we might tell about the development of the West at the turn of the twentieth century. The professionalization of anthropology played a key role in the describing and documenting a notion of vanishing cultures--in particular, Native American cultures--which, in turn, could be marketed as tourist attractions. Salvage Ethnography (to use Jacob Gruber’s term) was fundamental to creating a culturally rich image of the West, as well as to relaying a sense of urgency about visiting a rapidly changing landscape. As a result, the region’s indigenous populations were packaged as “pre-occupants,” relics of an earlier, idyllic—but ultimately lost—period of U.S. history. This panel seeks to explore Anglo Americans’ preoccupation with indigenous cultures as the West’s earliest and vanishing “occupants,” and the resulting manifestations of this fascination in popular culture, art, literature, photography, journalism, and/or cultural tourism.

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