Trading Identities

SKU: 077351807X

Ruth B. Phillips
Grade Levels:
College, University
Book Type:
McGill Queen's Press

Sale price$49.95


Trading Identities: The Souvenir in Native North American Art from the Northeast, 1700-1900 examines a variety of art forms produced by First Nations in northeastern North America for sale to travellers and tourists during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The First Nations of the woodlands were the first in North America to experience economic and social marginalization and, in consequence, the first to rely on the production of commodities for the tourist trade. Foreshadowing many continental and global patterns of artistic production now being addressed in the contexts of postmodernism and postcolonialism, these hybrid art forms combine indigenous materials and techniques such as quillwork, moosehair embroidery, birchbark, and basketry with Euro-American genres and styles. Tourist art of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries is generally of high quality and great aesthetic interest. Yet scholars have largely ignored these objects because their incorporation of Euro-North American influences, in both forms and motifs, has led to their dismissal as commercial, acculturated, and inauthentic. This exclusive location of authenticity and value in an idealized past silences the creative responses of Aboriginal people to repressive official policies of directed acculturation and denies their full participation in historical modernity. An innovative combination of fieldwork, art historical analysis, and historical contextualization, this study is the first rigorous comparison of First Nations souvenir production with a wide range of Euro-American decorative arts and home crafts to identify the sources of object types and styles and revealing the innovative difference displayed by Aboriginal trade wares. Images newly uncovered in archives and travel literature - including depictions of First Nations vendors and makers - illustrate the book, along with never before displayed or published objects from museum collections in Europe and North America. Ruth B. Phillips is director of the Museum of Anthropology and professor of fine art and anthropology, University of British Columbia.

You may also like

Recently viewed