Joseph Genetin-Pilawa and Agathe Cabau

Henry Mosler, La Captive Blanche. The White Captive, reproduction of the painting exhibited at the 1888 Paris Salon.
Henry Mosler, La Captive Blanche. The White Captive, reproduction of the painting exhibited at the 1888 Paris Salon.
Viewing the Capitol Dome from NMAI, 2010.
Viewing the Capitol Dome from NMAI, 2010.
Center for American Indian Studies Programs
American Indian Studies Seminar Series
Wednesday, March 14, 2012

5:30 - 7:30 pm

TFL

This seminar is co-sponsored by the Center for American History and Culture

The Federal City and Indigenous Space: Imaging and Imagining Colonialism in Nineteenth-Century Washington DC
Joe Genetin-Pilawa, Illinois College
This seminar is co-sponsored by the Center for American History and Culture

This paper examines the visual, symbolic and actual Native presence in 19th-century Washington DC, and seeks to reconstruct how Indigenous people experienced the Federal City. I argue that the very presence of Indians in the nation’s capital challenged colonial narratives—often expressed in art, architecture, and literature—that sought to cast Native people as savage, primitive, and vanishing.  Focusing on the lived experiences of Native diplomats and delegates in Washington, I contribute to the emerging literature on “hidden” urban Indian history and place-based narratives, and provide an historical component to the proliferation of critical studies of Indigenous space in Washington DC that followed the opening of the National Museum of the American Indian on the National Mall.

Native American representations at the Paris Salons and French Great Exhibitions from 1800 to 1914
Agathe Cabau, University Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne

Native Americans as a subject of artistic representations at the Paris Salons and French Great exhibitions of 1855, 1868, 1878 and 1900, question the nineteenth century visual culture as well as the impact of literature on arts and the artists’ itinerancies.
Paintings and sculptures illustrate the inevitable victory of Christian civilization over Indians and their refusal of a “civilized” culture. Artists achieve their dramatic tension by drawing upon the viewer’s fascination for the conventional image of Native Americans as the mysterious and threatening Other.

My paper will explore more precisely the appeal of the captivity theme exhibited by American and European artists. The narratives of white captives taken by Indians published in widely read newspapers surrounded the works of art. Moreover, it draws a visual culture of the United States history and literature in nineteenth century Paris. Questions of race, gender, desire, and fear will be raised from the study of various works of art.

AIS seminar papers are pre-circulated electronically two weeks prior to the seminar date. Email mcnickle@newberry.org to request a copy of the paper. Please do not request a paper unless you plan to attend.