Thesis ID: CBB845920115

A Science of Literature: Ethnology and the Collection of Indigenous Oral Traditions in the United States (2022)

unapi

Salazar, James (Advisor)
Puckett, James A (Author)


Salazar, James
Temple University
Publication date: 2022
Language: English


Publication Date: 2022
Physical Details: 347

In A Science of Literature, I examine how and why US ethnologists and popular authors of the nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries collected, read, and interpreted Indigenous oral traditions as works of literature. “Oral traditions” in this case refers to the narratives and songs that Indigenous peoples maintained mostly orally, and which variously served religious, historical, philosophical, educational, and entertainment purposes within Indigenous communities. I track how, through the collection process, Euro-American authors transformed oral traditions into “Indian oral literature,” (re)writing versions of oral traditions that aligned with Western literary categories and attitudes toward the “primitive.” For the most part, this reconceptualization, I argue, worked to discredit oral traditions as bodies of knowledge—as works of fiction and poetry, oral traditions became, in effect, untrue—and it supported removal and assimilation efforts in so far as it was used to shed light on a primitive Indian psychology, one that was naturally poetic, but not rational, not scientific. And yet many Indigenous writers, like George Copway and Zitkala-Ša, took advantage of the popularity of Indian oral literature to produce their own print collections of oral traditions. I analyze these collections as works of Indigenous “counter science.” I show how Indigenous writers, for example, moved from informant to ethnologist as they cited, summarized, and transcribed oral traditions as tribal records (histories, maps, deeds) and later as works of moral philosophy, thus explicitly contesting their interpretation as merely works of the imagination. Oral traditions, as I argue, have functioned as important resources to which Indigenous and non-Indigenous writers alike turned to validate scientific and literary practices, to contest the history of colonization, and to debate US-Indian relations.

...More
Citation URI
data.isiscb.org/p/isis/citation/CBB845920115

This citation is part of the Isis database.

Similar Citations

Article Duane W. Hamacher; (2020)
Native American traditions of Meteor Crater, Arizona: fact, fiction or appropriation? (/p/isis/citation/CBB247677821/) unapi

Thesis Peng, Rong-Bang; (2012)
Decolonizing Psychic Space: Remembering the Indigenous Psychology Movement in Taiwan (/p/isis/citation/CBB001567365/) unapi

Book John Ryan Fischer; (2017)
Cattle Colonialism: An Environmental History of the Conquest of California and Hawai'i (/p/isis/citation/CBB872040578/) unapi

Article Willmott, Cory; (2014)
Beavers and Sheep: Visual Appearance and Identity in Nineteenth-Century Algonquian-Anglo Relations (/p/isis/citation/CBB001201576/) unapi

Article Dana Luciano; (2022)
Unsettled Ground: Indigenous Prophecy, Geological Fantasy, and the New Madrid Earthquakes (/p/isis/citation/CBB222619910/) unapi

Thesis John Britton Seitz; (2019)
Science and the Steppe: Agronomists, Nomads, and the Settler Colony on the Kazakh Steppe, 1881-1917 (/p/isis/citation/CBB795090986/) unapi

Book Burnett, Kristin; (2010)
Taking Medicine: Women's Healing Work and Colonial Contact in Southern Alberta, 1880--1930 (/p/isis/citation/CBB001200675/) unapi

Article Alexandra Ludewig; (2023)
John Staer (1850–1933): the patronym behind Eucalyptus staeri, the Albany Blackbutt (/p/isis/citation/CBB991875492/) unapi

Thesis Christopher Steven Kindell; (2019)
The Sanitary Sieve: Public Health, Infectious Diseases, and the Urbanization of Honolulu, c. 1850–1914 (/p/isis/citation/CBB673158334/) unapi

Book Sarah Ann Pinto; (2018)
Lunatic Asylums in Colonial Bombay: Shackled Bodies, Unchained Minds (/p/isis/citation/CBB126077328/) unapi

Article Mohd Ashraf Wani; Rouf Ahmad Bhat; (2022)
Colonial masculinity and indigenous śikārī: a history of sport-hunting in Kashmir during Dogra rule (/p/isis/citation/CBB704971209/) unapi

Article Clapperton, Jonathan; (2013)
Naturalizing Race Relations: Conservation, Colonialism, and Spectacle at the Banff Indian Days (/p/isis/citation/CBB001550532/) unapi

Article Robert S. Fuller; Duane W. Hamacher; (2017)
Did Aboriginal Australians record a simultaneous eclipse and aurora in their oral traditions? (/p/isis/citation/CBB649641069/) unapi

Article D. W. Hamacher; Rubina R. Visuvanathan; (2018)
Twin Suns in Australian Aboriginal traditions (/p/isis/citation/CBB312099464/) unapi

Article Hamacher, Duane W.; Goldsmith, John; (2013)
Aboriginal Oral Traditions of Australian Impact Craters (/p/isis/citation/CBB001214526/) unapi

Book Duane Hamacher; (2022)
The First Astronomers: How Indigenous Elders read the stars (/p/isis/citation/CBB333531632/) unapi

Thesis Pinkoski, Marc; (2007)
Julian Steward and American Anthropology: The Science of Colonialism (/p/isis/citation/CBB001561518/) unapi

Book L'Estoile, Benoit de; Neiburg, Federico G.; Sigaud, Lygia; (2005)
Empires, Nations, and Natives: Anthropology and State-Making (/p/isis/citation/CBB000930046/) unapi

Authors & Contributors
Hamacher, Duane W.
L'Estoile, Benoît de
Andrews, James T.
Burnett, Kristin
Cameron, Fiona Ruth
Fuller, Robert S.
Journals
Journal of Astronomical History and Heritage
History and Anthropology
American Quarterly
Canadian Historical Review
Historical Records of Australian Science
Indian Journal of History of Science
Publishers
Allen & Unwin
Duke University Press
Palgrave Macmillan
UBC Press
Duquesne University
Iowa State University
Concepts
Indigenous peoples; indigeneity
Colonialism
Oral tradition; oral lore
Ethnology
Cultural anthropology
Cross-cultural interaction; cultural influence
People
Skinner, Henry Devenish
Steward, Julian
Time Periods
19th century
20th century, early
18th century
20th century
Medieval
Places
United States
Australia
Canada
France
Africa
Brazil
Comments

Be the first to comment!

{{ comment.created_by.username }} on {{ comment.created_on | date:'medium' }}

Log in or register to comment