Review of Contesting Constructed Indian-ness: The Intersection of the Frontier, Masculinity, and Whiteness in Native American Mascot Representations by Michael Taylor.

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2014-07-01
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Gish Hill, Christina
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World Languages and Cultures
The Department of World Languages and Cultures seeks to provide an understanding of other cultures through their languages, providing both linguistic proficiency and cultural literacy. Majors in French, German, and Spanish are offered, and other coursework is offered in Arabic, Chinese, Classical Greek, Latin, Portuguese, and Russian
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Michael Taylor opens his new book with a narrative describing his compelling observations of Salamanca City high school students at a pep rally in which a fellow student embodied their mascot, the Warriors. The plot thickens as we learn that the young man in the buckskin outfit is Seneca. Reading further, we gain a deep insight into the positionality of the ethnographer when he reveals that this encounter took place when he was still a high school student and that he is also Seneca. Taylor thus sets the stage for his analysis of the construction of an imagined Indian identity in the United States that has been adopted across the nation by both Euroamericans and occasionally Natives themselves. His study of Indian mascots is one of the most extensive to date, as he researches universities that gave up their Indian mascots early, such as Syracuse; universities that have intensely fought the pressure, such as Illinois and North Dakota; and schools that retain Indian mascots as a part of their relationships with local Native communities, such as his own high school on the Allegany Reservation as well as Florida State University. He combined archival sources with ethnography to present a rich set of materials describing each school's relationship with its mascot and its Native and non-Native students, employees, and local residents.

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This review is published as Gish-Hill, C. Review of Contesting Constructed Indian-ness: The Intersection of the Frontier, Masculinity, and Whiteness in Native American Mascot Representations by Michael Taylor. Journal of Anthropological Research 70(2): 317-318. Doi: 10.3998/jar.0521004.0070.206. Posted with permission.

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Wed Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2014
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