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Humanities Planning Group C. Richard King


Critical Culture, Gender and Race Studies

Playing with Indigeneity

Playing with Indigeneity offers a comparative assessment of racial play today. It concerns itself with public performances of the qualities associated with and ascribed to indigenous cultures and peoples. It builds upon established scholarly discussions of playing Indian, and nearly two decades of study by the author of American Indian mascots and popular representations of Native Americans, to ask new questions about the history and significance of Indians playing Indian. Playing with Indigeneity pivots around four themes: the ongoing significance of enactments of indigeneity, the racial politics of playing with inidgeneity, the transnational flow of such racial play, and the oppositional possibilities emergent from such stagings. It explores them through a series of case studies, which individually and collectively produce a more rounded account of how indigeneity and enactments of it matter. While anchored by more familiar US and Canadian examples, it also engages with cultural patterns and social practices in Australia, New Zealand, and Germany. Doing so encourages readings across and against–across national borders and stylistic boundaries, across continents and color lines, and against conventions and expectations. A monograph to be published by the University of Toronto Press will be among the key outcomes of the Fellowship.