2020 Distinguished Lecture in Anthropology, by Philip J. Deloria “New Pasts and Presents: Thoughts on Commemoration and Temporality”
The Anthropology Department hosted the 2020 Distinguished Lecture in Anthropology, by Philip J. Deloria, virtually on Thursday, December 17. Deloria presented the topic, “New Pasts and Presents: Thoughts on Commemoration and Temporality”.
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Laurel Kendall: Good afternoon. I'm Laurel Kendall, I chair the anthropology division at the American Museum of Natural History and it is my most pleasant task to welcome you to this year's Distinguished Lecture in anthropology.
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Laurel Kendall: We need this year in virtual space but space imagined as the American Museum of Natural History and in that spirit, I want to acknowledge the linear line, I'll pay people on whose ancestral lands. We work and dream.
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Laurel Kendall: Now one silver lining of this virtual format is that we could accommodate so many of you who want to hear our distinguished lecturer Philip de loria
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Laurel Kendall: As part of a continuing conversation about the big tasks that we face as museum anthropologists in the 21st century.
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Laurel Kendall: You will have questions. I'm sure lots of questions. Please enter your questions into the show and time available, we will get to them.
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Laurel Kendall: I'm going to turn the virtual microphone over to my longtime colleague, Dr. David hearse Thomas, who is now senior curator in residence Dave has noon. Dr. Gloria for a very long time and will give us a very full. Some introduction. Thanks, Dave.
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David Thomas: Thank you. Laurel and it's certainly my pleasure.
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David Thomas: I first met Phil loria about 30 years ago we had both been hired by n Ballantine with a couple of others to do a book for Ted Turner.
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David Thomas: We all turn I just started out on CNN and we all went down there and that was first time we met there were five authors on this.
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David Thomas: Film being of Dakota descent was the only Indian involved. So of course he got listed last, that's the way things worked so we produced a book called The Native Americans and Illustrated History
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David Thomas: It was an Illustrated History and it was beautiful. It was a terrific book that I think we were all proud of just the way it turned out.
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David Thomas: Now about this point Ted Turner is starting to think about producing movies. And this became a prime candidate for some something in Turner productions until the then Mrs. Turner Jane Fonda
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David Thomas: read our book.
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David Thomas: And she looked at it and here are stories that are complicated. There's some red on red violence here.
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David Thomas: There are some things going on on the race that aren't so pretty about Indian politics. Well, I think what happened was we were writing about Indians that weren't noble enough for Jane Fonda. So we got fired.
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David Thomas: The book was published. They went on and produced what I thought was a decidedly lukewarm.
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David Thomas: series that we weren't involved with now in that process. I had a chance to talk to Phil about his dissertation and he explained it to me. I was fascinated. It was published at the Yale University Press. A few years later, playing Indians.
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David Thomas: This is a story that starts with the Boston Tea Party and runs through Lewis Henry Morgan.
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David Thomas: And gets into the New Age hippies that Phil ran into in when he grew up in Colorado, and later when he was attending Yale.
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David Thomas: The problem was it caught me in the middle because I'm an Eagle Scout. I was a member of the Order of the arrow I tanned my own Buck skin. I made my own beadwork. And I was in a dance troupe with Russell Means of all people.
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David Thomas: What's this deal about playing Indian well it's a different way, certainly for me and for a lot of people of looking at the Indian role in United States history.
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David Thomas: Before this was about stories about the land and treaties and genocide and acculturation and the things that anthropologist make a living about
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David Thomas: This was different. This was a national narrative. And it wasn't just about the misappropriation of Indian identities poor what DeLorean was doing is actually questioning the notion of fixed identities in the first place.
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David Thomas: It's like what anthropologist do forever is talk about the role of masks in society you wear a mask. You can be whoever you want
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David Thomas: And what Phil is asking you can do that, but who's the real me behind that mask. He followed up in a book called Indians and unexpected places. And he flipped the script.
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David Thomas: Here you've got your confronted with Geronimo sitting behind the wheels of a Cadillac something just seemed wrong about that picture and Phil is built on that. Here are the people who should have vanished. And this isn't such an easy takeaway in American history.
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David Thomas: The 20th century put Native people in impossible positions and it was they were victims of modernity and Phil was exploring that ambiguity.
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David Thomas: We're going to hear more about his newest book today becoming Mary Sally. It's about Susan DeLorean he'll explain
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David Thomas: His his relation to his great aunt and how she was also related in an anthropological way to France boas and her sister Ella Doria
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David Thomas: In this case, Phil is going to be telling us about in the ended, how to make American art indigenous and it's taking Indian notice into the American mass culture part of that very fabric.
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David Thomas: Which is still not a common perception. This is going to drive the identity people police crazy inviting that we we look at things in this different way.
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David Thomas: So it's my pleasure to introduce to you today, Dr. Phil. Phil up to loria he was on the faculty for six years at the University of Colorado University of Michigan for about 15
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David Thomas: He is now at Harvard University. The lever at Salt install Professor of History. He's the first tenured professor of Native American indigenous studies at Harvard.
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David Thomas: He's on the board of the National Museum of the American Indian Head of the repatriation group. He's a member of the American Academy of Arts and Science and I guess in a couple of years. He's going to become the president of the Organization of American historians
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David Thomas: Feel the Lord has recently been described as, quote, perhaps the world's leading thinker on American Indian communities and we're lucky because Phil describes himself as a museum person.
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David Thomas: We're lucky there because he was involved in our Theodore Roosevelt exhibition and the video that goes with it.
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David Thomas: The story on that is very much a work in progress, as we all know, and there's nothing to update about that except that it's in the works. So as
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David Thomas: The American Museum of Natural History is rethinking our relationships with descendant and constituent communities.
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David Thomas: We're really lucky to hear today and before and hopefully in the future, the voice of filled. GLORIA he's helped us in the past, and we hope he'll help us in the future.
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David Thomas: It's my pleasure to introduce his lecture to you today. It's called New pasts and presence thoughts on commemoration and temporality, Dr. Gloria.
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Phillip Deloria: THANK YOU SO MUCH. Dave for that that incredibly generous introduction. I mean, I was thinking back to our history.
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Phillip Deloria: As well and thinking about that moment when they flew all of us into Atlanta and they brought us into a Ted Turner conference room with a table that you could land a plane on and then he gave us a 30 page publishing contract and
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Phillip Deloria: You know, everybody else was a, you know, was a senior person and I was a grad student and trying to finish that dissertation.
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Phillip Deloria: You know, it was, it was quite a while ago. I also want to sort of just invoke that the Kota value and virtue of humility. I am certainly not the world's foremost authority on much of anything.
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Phillip Deloria: If anything, you know, I'm sort of, I'm an American Studies person. And in that sense, I'm a bit of a dilemma talked. I kind of bounced around between different kinds of things. And for the fun pieces of my last project art projects has been kind of retooling myself as an as an art historian
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Phillip Deloria: I want to begin by saying that I'm coming to you today from Northern Michigan from our territory.
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Phillip Deloria: And my electronic signals, I suspect, you're passing through Harvard and through Massachusetts territory on their way to learn, not a territory in Israel know everywhere. We're at is indigenous territory in one way or another. So I want to start by talking about
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Phillip Deloria: This book and a little bit about art. And so to do that. I'm going to actually begin by sharing my screen. And we're all just going to hope that it works.
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Phillip Deloria: Laurel, I can see you. Can you just not at me. Make sure that it's good, it's good. All right, great. Thanks so much.
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Phillip Deloria: So the late 1920s. My great aunt Susan Gloria working under the name Mary slowly began a product or project of modernist portraiture, it would eventually culminate in an idiosyncratic collection of three part works, each one. The complex representation of a single individual.
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Phillip Deloria: By the time she had been in the effort sometime in the mid 1940s. Sally had created 134 of these triptychs well over 400 individual drawings
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Phillip Deloria: Made with colored pencil on paper. These were the materials of the poor vernacular artist, which is what she was, she called each portrait a personality print
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Phillip Deloria: Although they were not prints in the traditional sense, but rather original drawings. The images were loaded with hints and clues about each person's personality.
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Phillip Deloria: Framed visually at the place where representation that symbolism.
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Phillip Deloria: Here for example now can Campbell world Speed Racer who drove a series of really super cool looking cars you seen the lower right there call called the bluebird also boats as well.
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Phillip Deloria: And you can see what she's done an image is that she has placed this bird is blue bird.
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Phillip Deloria: Which is a bird with four wheels at an exhaust kind of area at the crossing of to speed tracks and see Malcolm's sir Malcolm's driving goggles sort of
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Phillip Deloria: Interest, you know, interlaced in between these few tracks and colored circles kind of the dreams of speed, which turned in the second image into
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Phillip Deloria: The middle. The middle panel into a kind of Celtic electronic speed and then into a sort of interestingly over determine arts and crafts see kind of Thunderbird sort of look
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Phillip Deloria: And just another example here. Dr de facto her image over here on the right.
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Phillip Deloria: Knowing that the doctor Defoe is the person who delivered the Dion quintuplets and then became their legal guardian and created a place called Queensland there in the lower left, you can make some sense of her image the fives series of five.
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Phillip Deloria: Images of growth and nurture that curiously shaped building in that little bubble up there in the top right. As you can see,
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Phillip Deloria: Is actually the form in the shape of the buildings of Queensland and then again reworked into these beautiful symmetrical can rotational cemetery kinds of patterns.
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Phillip Deloria: And then another interesting kind of barn panel that sort of speaks of multiple kinds of visual vocabularies interests and influences
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Phillip Deloria: So she was working, as I said, the place where representation met symbolism and then met symmetrical pattern. And then finally met abstraction.
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Phillip Deloria: They drew on the native women's arts traditions of the Great Plains, things like part flesh painting quill work and beadwork quilting. Even the move into the men's pictorial traditions made by women at Standing Rock in the early 20th century.
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Phillip Deloria: He also drew on modernist forms Art Deco Art Nouveau industrial design mural painting in this case you can see the sort of segmented kind of neural strategies of Diego Rivera.
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Phillip Deloria: silhouetted sort of figures of modern society of there and Douglas. She had access to the works of both of these artists, by the way.
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Phillip Deloria: And in particular, in the modernist can in the works of the ideas of the abstract portrait most visible to us today.
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Phillip Deloria: In what's called the poster portrait series done by Charles did move the most famous of these, I saw the figure five and golden image that some of you may know, but I've chosen to actually
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Phillip Deloria: Put them in this image of Gertrude Stein here. The two of them both. Did your to Stein and they also both in Eugene O'Neill.
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Phillip Deloria: Interestingly, you can see where Sally has taken Stein's roses roses roses rose and current converted into Visual kinds of forums.
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Phillip Deloria: The images often reflected her background and Episcopal Church and they drew quite heavily from American popular culture, the comics, the movies. The radio and music.
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Phillip Deloria: So this works were mounted for view, maybe three times for a single day each in the Indian schools at Planned Europe, South Dakota and pipe stone Minnesota
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Phillip Deloria: Once for women's club in Wisconsin, perhaps for a single evening sealed up in a gray box. They were passed after suddenly died to her sister to her brother to her mother to me. And now to you.
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Phillip Deloria: Silly was, I think, quite brilliant. She had an eye for the visual pun.
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Phillip Deloria: Both of the top handles and these images kind of encapsulate that on the
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Phillip Deloria: Left side, the Indian church. You can see that it looks like these native women are entering into the sort of flaps have a teepee the full to the TP but
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Phillip Deloria: Looking more closely, you realize that this is a priest sort of holding the headless priest, I might add, holding up these purple row. So there's this doubling
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Phillip Deloria: Going on Indian women entering the TV becoming the church moving forward into the light and the rainbow at the back of the TV.
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Phillip Deloria: And yet the Tp is actually the sheltering ropes at the church itself on the right you can see this really interesting kind of figure of Bishop hair, who is figure does across
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Phillip Deloria: As a man, if you look at the split legs at the bottom, but also as a bird. If you look at the Clipped Wings at the top. And this, of course, reflects the names that Lakota Dakota people gave him the color Tucson.
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Phillip Deloria: So she's really interested in these kinds of puns and these these interesting visual sort of strategies.
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Phillip Deloria: But also had an intuitive and perhaps a sort of physiological sense of the synesthesia strategies of sensory crossover, particularly when it came to the relations between color and sound really prominent in in this work.
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Phillip Deloria: The more that you know about her subjects, the more sense that you can make her images. And this is, to my mind, one of the
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Phillip Deloria: Most Beautiful. And one of my favorites. And I've just taken in sort of reshuffled the order here, you can see that the panel on the left is the top panel the panel on the right is the middle panel on
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Phillip Deloria: The bottom panel below I spent a lot of time kind of puzzling out what this was. I couldn't figure it out the top panel, um,
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Phillip Deloria: You know, is it, it's more than abstraction right there musical notes, I can. You can tell that there's a sort of trailer bites kind of figure right symmetrically split down the middle of the page with these two pink is kind of functioning is
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Phillip Deloria: You know functioning as a notes here are these notes functioning, his eyes. It's kind of arms yellow arms sort of sticking out.
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Phillip Deloria: If you allow that to sort of remain in the foreground of the image. It's very hard to make sense of it.
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Phillip Deloria: But doing some research on Lawrence tibbetts who is a popular singer opera singer.
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Phillip Deloria: Discovered as is often the case with these images, the more you know, the more sense. You can make them that he had this little cabin in this place called Tedesco Canyon.
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Phillip Deloria: Outside of Los Angeles and then to medical care and had a little stage little amphitheater. He would go and stand on the stage and sing opera and the notes would resonate out of the canyon.
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Phillip Deloria: And knowing that suddenly take that trilobite in reverse it. That's the interior space of a canyon.
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Phillip Deloria: Those kind of horizontal lines sort of off here, you know, our sedimentary rocks and suddenly you can see the Pacific Ocean kind of lingering out there.
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Phillip Deloria: In the far background with super interesting about this image is what then she's done in the second panel, which is to take that
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Phillip Deloria: Picture that particular picture, flip it upside down and put it inside this little Easter egg kinds of forums, each one kind of representing that image. If you look at the bottom of the
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Phillip Deloria: Interior of any one of those easter eggs. You see the blue of the ocean. And then you can see the sedimentary rocks and notes flying around as if she had taken a camera obscura
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Phillip Deloria: Perhaps right instead of taking that little pinhole
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Phillip Deloria: Projected the image and then was looking at. So one of the things that I have discovered about this art over time is that there's just so much interesting stuff going on, quirky intellectual exercises and puzzles.
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Phillip Deloria: signs and symbols. The end up taking taking shape here. So she was a keen observer.
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Phillip Deloria: And indeed I friend her project is being have a piece with the culture and personality anthropology of the 1930s, taken together.
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Phillip Deloria: These images make up what I think of as a ethnography of American life and culture perform from the outside by a Native American intellectual with a keen eye and with the tools to think about ethnography itself.
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Phillip Deloria: So Mary Sally. Let's call her Susie to loria for the next few moments spent her life in the company of her sister Ella Doria
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Phillip Deloria: Dakota linguist ethnography informants collaborator, they could never quite figure out what she was Margaret Mead actually said that explicitly
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Phillip Deloria: Hard to figure out how to locate her, but she worked over the course of her career with Franz Boas, and Ruth Benedict and then turn later in life to Margaret Mead for mentorship.
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Phillip Deloria: And assistance and I do want to take this as a brief opportunity to just sort of suggests a slight genealogy to have just a few of the ties between the American Museum of Natural History and the story of family, which makes me W grateful to be with you here today.
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Phillip Deloria: So as Benedict was formulating culture and personality, anthropology, Ella and Susie we're passing through the edges of her circle.
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Phillip Deloria: Though it is worth remembering that Susie began her own arts and culture project six years before Benedict published patterns of culture. So when I look at these these middle panels. I actually think of sort of structures of culture.
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Phillip Deloria: You know, and I am lead and I talk much more about this in the book to sort of think about what the developmental sequence of these three panels might be from the bottom to the top from the top to the bottom where the meanings of of those kinds of things.
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Phillip Deloria: It is compelling art and I commend it to your further exploration. This book makes a great holiday gift. So I've heard
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Phillip Deloria: I tried to give you this context for Mary Sally's work because I want to use too late breaking insights that I took out of it to launch us into an angular but somewhat different conversation about time in about memory work.
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Phillip Deloria: And I want to walk us through a whole bunch of different sort of ways of thinking about time that I don't fully understand myself.
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Phillip Deloria: I'm just going to confess that up front. So the first insight was about commemoration
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Phillip Deloria: Well, these works are experienced today as small research projects so many of the subjects that lapsed into anonymity. We really need to figure out who they are. Before we can make sense of the images.
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Phillip Deloria: The audience that Sally imagine for herself would have understood the visual references or most of them.
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Phillip Deloria: Would have read them as essential qualities that define the individuals, they were signs and as much as they were puzzles, at least for the audience that she that she was thinking of. So we think about Billy Burke.
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Phillip Deloria: We might have to Google her quickly. And when we do, we realized that she was Glenda, the good witch and the Wizard of Oz and suddenly
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Phillip Deloria: After coming off of a long career in the stage. Suddenly we can see the top image and is giving us her stage career personally and arch rainbow kind of an audience in the
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Phillip Deloria: Lower corners. But those floating bubbles in which go into the good which sort of interest Munchkin Land on to meet up with Dorothy.
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Phillip Deloria: Sort of transformed in that little panel and then a sort of native woodlands floral kind of motif right to represent that floral kind of land.
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Phillip Deloria: You know if much command. So this is what I'm talking about here right there puzzles. They're also science and particularly for people who know these and could read them.
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Phillip Deloria: In a single letter slowly actually give the project and name. She called them the looter personality prints Luca special shade of red and the Lakota language had a rich history for her.
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Phillip Deloria: It was founded her grandmother's name pay homage to entertain. How do to in red. Red crane woman. It was a color founding given names.
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Phillip Deloria: Meaningful for honoring people it carried connotations of aesthetic practice, particularly around quill work the highest of the planes women's arts, which itself had sacred dimensions.
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Phillip Deloria: So to name the word gluten. In other words, was to claim it as something special. I think so. We came to realize I came to realize
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Phillip Deloria: Was not simply making portraits of American pop culture celebrities, as did her great grandfather Thomas selling one of the prominent preeminent portraits artists of antebellum of the optimal us
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Phillip Deloria: She was engaged in something more right a Dakota practice of honoring and of commemoration as an aesthetic act these pictures were something like the mnemonic images on Winter Count meant to call forth memory which is in fact the literal definition of commemoration
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Phillip Deloria: Indeed, my effort to retrieve for work has meant a retrospective and retroactive reenactment of those commemoration Florence tibbott I'm hoping will be remembered differently by those who have seen Marisol this image.
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Phillip Deloria: The second insight was about temporality, it has something to do with the distinction between retrospective, which is to say, looking back and retroactive a newly legible effect that begins from a date in the past date that was not previously relevant
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Phillip Deloria: I argue that Sillies images ought to be canonical both to American and Native American art history, but I was asking us, not simply to look back at them. But to understand them as active causal agents in history that unfolded after they were made.
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Phillip Deloria: So this was an impossible ask how can the images have had any effect on subsequent art in history if no one ever saw them.
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Phillip Deloria: It seems that they can only change the way that we saw all that subsequent art.
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Phillip Deloria: In other words, it was a canonical kind of question except I found myself not quit, believing it to be so easy.
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Phillip Deloria: What if the triptychs both had and had not changed the art that followed.
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Phillip Deloria: So I do a kind of curious analogy to Brunello tours, but we have never been modern there a late breaking awareness that the logic structuring modernity distinguish distinctions between nature and culture, for example, that that logic did not hold and had never held
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Phillip Deloria: This new awareness, then had the curious effect of retroactively erasing that thing we'd called modernity, even after we live through it named it, it's such debated it endlessly.
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Phillip Deloria: I made this particular an analytical kind of argument as a gesture puzzle. A little conundrum, on which to in the book to ask people to think about it causes a bit
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Phillip Deloria: But the puzzle also reflected my own sense of temporal displacement
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Phillip Deloria: The gray box of drawings. I had observed preserved for me, the smell of the 1930s, literally, the smell of the 1930s, as
00:25:15.810 --> 00:25:21.930
Phillip Deloria: All of us who work in archives. Understand that sort of sense of helping archival of the archival scent of documents.
00:25:22.800 --> 00:25:36.090
Phillip Deloria: In essence, one can enter time in this curious in sensorial way and such alternative experiences of time might well reflect the complicated temporality of Mary solely her sister.
00:25:36.630 --> 00:25:54.360
Phillip Deloria: And the Dakota people they kept as their kin and company and you're all Ella herself was in the thick of an effort to reclaim and vivify alive, six or seven or more decades old. She lived deeply in an ethnographic present that was itself a different time.
00:25:55.590 --> 00:26:03.030
Phillip Deloria: And for anyone wishing to pursue the far edge of this family's engagement with temporality, and you further I will note that my experiences with the box coincided
00:26:03.480 --> 00:26:08.250
Phillip Deloria: With the posthumous editing of one of my father's last books eg young and the SU traditions.
00:26:09.000 --> 00:26:21.120
Phillip Deloria: In which he tried to read the powers of Dakota Lakota medicine people through the time space conundrums of quantum physics, arguing that these two systems were describing more or less the same thing.
00:26:24.660 --> 00:26:28.320
Phillip Deloria: I'm going to stop sharing and hope that I can go back and share a little bit later.
00:26:31.830 --> 00:26:36.810
Phillip Deloria: So talking about my subtitle thoughts on it is sometimes in my inclination
00:26:37.320 --> 00:26:44.850
Phillip Deloria: To shake my head when I hear that somebody will be sharing their thoughts on something, it says suggested what's coming is going to be too loosely structured
00:26:45.210 --> 00:26:52.920
Phillip Deloria: That it will be reflections more than argument possessed perhaps have a certain casual disorder, maybe even a disrespect for the audience.
00:26:53.580 --> 00:27:09.600
Phillip Deloria: As a historian, I'm more used to disciplining my students and myself in the opposite direction toward a world of linear time when it produces sequence and chronology and in turn seems to produce cause and effect and US analysis and argument.
00:27:10.650 --> 00:27:14.790
Phillip Deloria: But it seems to me that everywhere these days time is out of joint
00:27:15.540 --> 00:27:25.140
Phillip Deloria: We know that analysis and argument have actually lost much of their power. Does that say something about the temporality of cause and effect. One thing happen. Another thing resulted
00:27:26.010 --> 00:27:38.310
Phillip Deloria: That bet seems a little off these days. And it's not just the weirdness of temporal experience in a time of pandemic that is to blame our sense of history and historicity I think it's noticeably askew
00:27:39.390 --> 00:27:44.790
Phillip Deloria: Somebody asked you to bear with my own disjointed miss and forgive me for offering a few more puzzles and answers.
00:27:45.840 --> 00:27:50.850
Phillip Deloria: Of course to authorize my disorder. And I'm also going to invoke the spirit of Walter Benjamin
00:27:51.240 --> 00:27:57.720
Phillip Deloria: That profit of temporality on hinge often mobilized when one wants to take a deep dive into non linear thinking
00:27:58.110 --> 00:28:06.960
Phillip Deloria: So I want to think about deep time temporality, I want to think about aesthetic or art time temporality, and I want to think about sort of Benny minion kind of mystic time temporality
00:28:08.070 --> 00:28:16.830
Phillip Deloria: Then it seems to experience multiple kinds of temporality, he wrote for instance of Edenic time the primal moment when language was onomatopoetic
00:28:17.700 --> 00:28:29.100
Phillip Deloria: And the universe connected up such that you could read one part of it constellation of stars of the entrails of the beast and perceive a meaningful non sensuous similarity to another part
00:28:30.270 --> 00:28:38.940
Phillip Deloria: He wants to critique of historicist time that linear temporality, the generated a pile of dump of catastrophe and in equity.
00:28:39.900 --> 00:28:46.020
Phillip Deloria: And then there was also redemptive time threading backwards from the revelation. At the end of history.
00:28:46.500 --> 00:28:54.300
Phillip Deloria: In which all things can be know that moment when all can be know that temporality, because it was eminent present in all times and places.
00:28:54.840 --> 00:29:01.860
Phillip Deloria: Could appear, even in the midst of historic this time flashing up, for instance, at the moment of danger as he famously said,
00:29:02.550 --> 00:29:15.540
Phillip Deloria: So then you mean as far as I can tell, it was a guy who saw those flashes. The rest of us, not so much. So his challenge was to materialize his own temporarily expansive vision for later readers.
00:29:16.470 --> 00:29:36.090
Phillip Deloria: He tried to do so through constellations right objects aphorisms gestures placed in an assemblage into creating the conditions for a flash of redemptive time in the present. It was perhaps like Mary Sally's personality prints a kind of aesthetic project plus
00:29:37.470 --> 00:29:41.850
Phillip Deloria: I don't anticipate that today will have a collective flashing up of insight at the moment of danger.
00:29:42.930 --> 00:29:48.450
Phillip Deloria: But one could drink right a constellation. So that's what I mean by thoughts on
00:29:57.750 --> 00:30:01.350
Phillip Deloria: And I'm going to share my screen again and hope that it works.
00:30:03.900 --> 00:30:15.210
Phillip Deloria: So Mary Sillies images marked individuals for honoring and collective memory. In that sense, they were meant to serve a commemorative function to create a structure, remember it.
00:30:16.110 --> 00:30:24.780
Phillip Deloria: And that commemoration was inextricable from the art. The monument to an event the commemorative portrait, the mnemonic device. The memorial to a tragedy.
00:30:25.350 --> 00:30:33.480
Phillip Deloria: So often, these markers are linked to an aesthetic impulse one designed to aid in skewing time and repositioning the past
00:30:34.440 --> 00:30:43.590
Phillip Deloria: This aesthetic impulse highlights and enhances the fact that messing around with time and memory is a fundamentally an effective kind of experience.
00:30:44.490 --> 00:31:00.600
Phillip Deloria: I felt this effect with somewhat more precision just fall in relation to the Jacob Lawrence series struggle from the history of American people, which I was fortunate to engage in the good company with the Mesoamerican when curator Sylvia yet and my Harvard colleague, Joel, the poor.
00:31:01.740 --> 00:31:09.720
Phillip Deloria: Laws took aim at United States history in its standard mythic standard mythic narrative forums ideological structures.
00:31:10.140 --> 00:31:19.170
Phillip Deloria: Consolidate through commemorative things like Plymouth Rock the Boston Freedom Trail, which was operational in 1953 the year before. Lawrence began a series
00:31:19.710 --> 00:31:28.500
Phillip Deloria: The various monuments to the war of independence and 1812 and paintings of Washington Crossing the Delaware and the Constitutional Convention statues of course these things.
00:31:29.340 --> 00:31:40.140
Phillip Deloria: If he couldn't take down those statues Lawrence could at least try to retell the stories to D naturalize the old versions to offer a new set of commemoration callings into memory.
00:31:42.210 --> 00:32:01.320
Phillip Deloria: For me, and perhaps for others. This commemoration required a mental and emotional play with at least for moments in time intertwined and yet quite distinct first there was the historical time being represented in this case the revolution in the early republic.
00:32:03.180 --> 00:32:13.050
Phillip Deloria: Second, there was the moment in which the images were produced between 1954 and 56 the heart of the civil rights movement, including Brown v Board school desegregation struggles
00:32:13.530 --> 00:32:23.970
Phillip Deloria: The political hysteria McCarthy and the Red Scare and of course my own interest though unremarked by Lawrence and the termination of tribal governments and massive relocation of American Indian people to cities.
00:32:25.320 --> 00:32:37.620
Phillip Deloria: Third, there's a time in which the images are viewed call it the present and forth there is the moment of the future if we believe that art can shape what is to follow.
00:32:38.580 --> 00:32:47.430
Phillip Deloria: Then we have to project Lawrence's art Mary solace as well out of its past and its present into a dream of the epoch to come
00:32:48.870 --> 00:33:07.170
Phillip Deloria: Lawrence image or let's say a commemorative statue in Benjamin's terms constantly it's multiple temporality, there's an event a marker of the event and encounter with the marker, a future consequence experienced in some ways simultaneously.
00:33:09.240 --> 00:33:18.420
Phillip Deloria: So what if you were to break them apart through an act of imaginative will say, you might situate yourself in one moment in peer out at the others.
00:33:18.810 --> 00:33:30.090
Phillip Deloria: Sitting in 1955, for instance, one might understand the Lord's images in ways that collapsed temporal difference between Lawrence as well in our own right. The shrunk time
00:33:31.050 --> 00:33:39.690
Phillip Deloria: an uncanny recognition of similarity that might lead you to make an argument about structure, something that many of my colleagues in the historical fields are thinking about these days.
00:33:40.890 --> 00:33:51.930
Phillip Deloria: Then, as now, United States faced a racial reckoning. Then, as now cynical politicians, use the system to destroy American democracy. Then, as now.
00:33:52.650 --> 00:34:12.840
Phillip Deloria: And wow, you might find yourself asking has time actually passed. Of course it has. But what was it worth details and bodies might change, but the basic structure repeats itself. And if the structure did not change was that Lawrence's dream of the future, or was it the end of history.
00:34:14.550 --> 00:34:21.840
Phillip Deloria: We can ask such questions is operations of the kind of mystical logic which you cannot tell, I kind of like doing
00:34:22.710 --> 00:34:35.880
Phillip Deloria: But it seems more likely that they also operate it might be may be more useful to say that the also operating in perhaps more powerfully at the less intentional level in the realm of feeling emotion and effort right the connect up with the sort of experiences of art.
00:34:37.080 --> 00:34:44.670
Phillip Deloria: The meeting of the aesthetic and the commemorative them do not proceed without demanding temporal imagination, which is kind of hard to puzzle out
00:34:45.030 --> 00:34:56.850
Phillip Deloria: And emotional engagement not puzzle that much of all but certainly felt and strongly should we be surprised when people freak out when paintings recast a familiar story or when a statue falls.
00:34:58.770 --> 00:35:17.850
Phillip Deloria: For. It's not that we have to see our statues as art though that is the common defense of them, but that they function, something like the art of someone like Jacob Lawrence social and political markers, to be sure, but also evocative an effective conjures of temporality and historicity
00:35:20.160 --> 00:35:26.580
Phillip Deloria: Confession. So let's be clear. I am no fan of Christopher Columbus or the celebration of Columbus Day.
00:35:27.570 --> 00:35:36.810
Phillip Deloria: But looking at images of toppled Columbus statues this summer at least 33 of them produce more complicated feelings, then I might have anticipated.
00:35:37.590 --> 00:35:49.770
Phillip Deloria: Seeing a human form decapitated or lying dead in the street rope around its neck people kicking at it. I couldn't help but feel that the pictures showed a kind of ritual murder in progress and I had to ask was, I down with that.
00:35:51.270 --> 00:36:07.530
Phillip Deloria: iconoclasm as Joseph Kerner reminds us is the most extreme response to a thing not moving it not modifying it not retelling it but destroying an act grounded in the most intense of human distinctions, the dissociation of friend from enemy.
00:36:08.580 --> 00:36:25.020
Phillip Deloria: Whatever my judgment of Columbus, there is a tiny bit of humaneness that attaches to the stone or bronze representation. It's what gives the tear down its power and negating active destructive other thing that is also an affirmative act of collective selfhood
00:36:26.070 --> 00:36:39.540
Phillip Deloria: Of course, the Columbia statues themselves are also accept collective sell food as we know they have a lot to do with the Italian American efforts to resist anti immigrant discrimination, often with racial character in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
00:36:42.000 --> 00:36:52.080
Phillip Deloria: So not long ago a friend posted me a thought problem that you've all probably been asked at one time or another. If you could go back in time and kill Hitler and prevent the Holocaust, would you
00:36:53.190 --> 00:36:58.050
Phillip Deloria: And there's obviously right answer, and it's yes if I could I change that particular history.
00:36:59.220 --> 00:37:13.770
Phillip Deloria: But the conversation then to to challenging terms to questions about temporality structure and individual agency. What is the story called The other was like a little bit ridiculous actually or it having difficulty origins. Let me say it like that.
00:37:15.240 --> 00:37:28.080
Phillip Deloria: The ladder. Maybe the reason I'm saying ridiculous is because it began with this 2008 film or 2018 film I saw on an airplane that will be used to fly and back when one would pick a kind of a film that you wouldn't ordinarily look at
00:37:29.340 --> 00:37:36.690
Phillip Deloria: The film was called the man who killed Hitler and then the Bigfoot and having spent time in the northwest coast, also a Boy Scout like David Thomas
00:37:37.560 --> 00:37:46.380
Phillip Deloria: I had acquired a lot of interest in the Bigfoot. And so there was one of the sub premises of this improbable film is that after its hero.
00:37:46.920 --> 00:37:54.120
Phillip Deloria: Especially with sanctions assess a special operations assassin kills Hiller the German simply replace him with a double
00:37:54.720 --> 00:38:03.690
Phillip Deloria: Americans kill that double two and then another one, killing Hitler, the protagonist concludes could not actually alter this history.
00:38:04.440 --> 00:38:14.820
Phillip Deloria: It was an argument that history could not be reduced to one man that required something else larger forces spirit of the age structure, those kinds of things.
00:38:15.690 --> 00:38:26.490
Phillip Deloria: Second term, my friend. Ask. Okay. Would you go back and kill Columbus. And what about quartets and bizarre core nada de Soto, the whole lot of those companies, the doors.
00:38:28.140 --> 00:38:33.240
Phillip Deloria: Well, perhaps it was just the direction of the conversation at that point. But it seemed to me then that thinking killing Columbus.
00:38:33.750 --> 00:38:41.100
Phillip Deloria: removing any of those individuals from actual history might also take me to that weird temporal place in which history was not change.
00:38:41.580 --> 00:38:47.160
Phillip Deloria: But rather repetitious structure where larger forces overwhelmed individual actors.
00:38:47.820 --> 00:39:01.920
Phillip Deloria: Biological exchange was going to play out existing systems with Atlantic slavery were likely to be important to the indigenous peoples in the Americas Columbus had a plan for native slave trade and executed in some manner, but much of that history proved to be structural
00:39:03.180 --> 00:39:06.750
Phillip Deloria: So what did the statues commemorate at the end of the day, Columbus.
00:39:08.070 --> 00:39:18.030
Phillip Deloria: Or what Roland Bart one's called Italian this city a mythic aspect that could be achieved by a picture of a string bag filled with good cheese, some bread and a bottle of Chianti
00:39:19.590 --> 00:39:29.910
Phillip Deloria: When it came to Columbus Americans wanted to debate on the first of those for temporal moments I recognized in Jacob Lawrence his work that is on the history
00:39:31.350 --> 00:39:43.290
Phillip Deloria: And that debate rested on attention between the commemoration calling to memory individual and the knowledge and effect attached to structures and larger forces.
00:39:43.890 --> 00:39:54.780
Phillip Deloria: The time was compressed in askew is the old way of seeing Columbus right as a courageous Italian explorer worthy of commemoration all of course when Columbus was Columbus. That one wasn't really Italy.
00:39:56.400 --> 00:40:02.700
Phillip Deloria: And then there's a new way as the marker of a moment of disaster for pretty much everyone in the Americas and Africa.
00:40:04.740 --> 00:40:11.760
Phillip Deloria: Well, here's the tentative premise present day sense of temporality and historicity our own time out of joint
00:40:12.450 --> 00:40:19.050
Phillip Deloria: Is prime has primed us to ask questions about structure and forces as much as to engage individuals.
00:40:19.590 --> 00:40:28.290
Phillip Deloria: The structural depth of black and brown people then and then and then and now, pushes us to such a temporality
00:40:28.890 --> 00:40:35.520
Phillip Deloria: The structural sameness of the cars rural state, the post reconstruction chain game. The slave Covell
00:40:36.180 --> 00:40:55.710
Phillip Deloria: pushes us to a temporality of repetition and sameness, the death rates of Native people in covert in 1980 the 1880s 1838 1770s, the 16th century pushes us to think structure repetition larger forces. And people wonder how to commemorate to call forth memory of these things.
00:40:57.330 --> 00:41:12.240
Phillip Deloria: Curiously, it seems to become hard to understand a remember the second temporality, the moment of the erection of the first Columbus statues as a response to anti Italian hostility precipitated by the lynching of 11 Italian American men in New Orleans in 1891
00:41:13.470 --> 00:41:17.520
Phillip Deloria: But this is odd, it's odd to me. Where did that history go
00:41:18.840 --> 00:41:24.120
Phillip Deloria: Even people fighting to preserve Columbus statues don't often stop to narrate this history.
00:41:25.170 --> 00:41:38.700
Phillip Deloria: The rationale for the original commemoration has seemingly been forgotten, leaving behind impoverished generic arguments about pride or what are essentially new arguments about the old achievements of Columbus, the individual
00:41:40.110 --> 00:41:50.640
Phillip Deloria: Neither is I'm sorry to say, Hold up very well against the new reading of the president which Columbus, not only inaugurated regime of slavery in depth, but does. So as an eager participant.
00:41:51.690 --> 00:42:01.080
Phillip Deloria: The temporality that neither iconoclasts or economy. I kind of file seem to contemplate very much is that of the future of which I'll say that more in a bit.
00:42:02.520 --> 00:42:04.740
Phillip Deloria: So, how to make sense of it all.
00:42:05.790 --> 00:42:07.110
Phillip Deloria: It might be useful here.
00:42:10.290 --> 00:42:11.610
Phillip Deloria: To return
00:42:15.180 --> 00:42:21.480
Phillip Deloria: To Joseph Kerner in your particular his reworking of the thinking of a law regal from the early 20th century.
00:42:22.110 --> 00:42:39.840
Phillip Deloria: They distinguish between two kinds of monuments, the intentional monument is commemorative as an old and familiar human practice aims to keep single human beings are human deeds or beings alive in the minds of future generations. So think of a Columbus monument erected in Spain in 1493
00:42:41.790 --> 00:42:49.800
Phillip Deloria: The so called historical monument might have started as an intentional monument. The over time, the importance of its context, meaning and memory faded away.
00:42:50.220 --> 00:42:53.910
Phillip Deloria: What came to matter was it's historicity sense of history.
00:42:54.420 --> 00:43:09.150
Phillip Deloria: As likely the historical monument was not built for commemoration but it's a statement of values for a contemporary audience as well. For example, the often mass produced Confederate monuments of the 1920s or Columbus statue raised in the early 20th century.
00:43:10.290 --> 00:43:19.230
Phillip Deloria: These things come with the passage of time to memorialize the era that built them requiring preservation and inspiring a particular kind of piety.
00:43:20.670 --> 00:43:28.860
Phillip Deloria: They lose their traction get hazy and their meanings become valuable because they have been valued, though no one quite remembers why
00:43:29.850 --> 00:43:38.250
Phillip Deloria: Is that meeting attenuates the aesthetic resurfaces as a critical value one of the recaptures the experience of an effect.
00:43:38.880 --> 00:43:52.410
Phillip Deloria: created out of the mingling often unconscious of those four modes of temporality indeed from the 19th century on Kerner suggests icons monuments memorials and commemorations became wrapped up in the world of the aesthetic and that thing called art.
00:43:54.120 --> 00:43:55.680
Phillip Deloria: Well, you can see, I suspect.
00:43:58.020 --> 00:43:59.340
Phillip Deloria: We're all of this has been leading
00:44:00.660 --> 00:44:10.830
Phillip Deloria: To the entrance Pavilion at the American Museum of Natural History The Theodore Roosevelt statue TR sitting boldly Australia's horse to native figure in Africa gun barrel below and behind him.
00:44:11.460 --> 00:44:18.480
Phillip Deloria: Was explicitly commemorative when it was built meant to mark and individual figure note his achievements call his presence to memory.
00:44:19.500 --> 00:44:25.110
Phillip Deloria: As many before me have pointed out, it is a lovely piece of art beautifully executed.
00:44:27.480 --> 00:44:32.460
Phillip Deloria: The classic form and proportion. You can fall in love with this Roosevelt, when you look at
00:44:33.570 --> 00:44:46.170
Phillip Deloria: It's got a lot of narrative cues. Also, in that the forecourt is a complicated representational space casting Roosevelt in a number of roles conservationist humanitarian scholars scientists arrangements sold your author and so on.
00:44:46.860 --> 00:44:56.010
Phillip Deloria: He surrounded by animals, a company by Lewis and Clark Daniel Boone john James Audubon all these things in to evoke the temporality of Roosevelt's a moment.
00:44:56.790 --> 00:45:05.880
Phillip Deloria: Even a stylistically the capture the slightly more later moment of the commemoration and of course we stand in the present and look and maybe imagine the future.
00:45:07.080 --> 00:45:19.500
Phillip Deloria: In the present moment, however, the aesthetic form of the statue and I do mean the actual form a pleasing and familiar triangular shape right CLASSIC SHAPE. Sorry, I just dropped a book.
00:45:21.240 --> 00:45:30.900
Phillip Deloria: Form suggests history understood as structure, yet again, an elevated white man prefer that preside over survival others.
00:45:31.410 --> 00:45:41.910
Phillip Deloria: And those others cannot help it frame the same problem as the Columbus statues that people's the Americans in Africa suffered the hurts of this history Columbus and Roosevelt benefited from them.
00:45:42.870 --> 00:45:48.660
Phillip Deloria: Indeed, when the sculptor James Earl Fraser helpfully suggests that the Indian and African figure should be read allegorical
00:45:50.910 --> 00:46:00.870
Phillip Deloria: Something that many folks who, you know, kind of love the statute has sort of taken as a kind of anchor point for defending it and maybe not wrongly so um
00:46:01.530 --> 00:46:09.000
Phillip Deloria: But for me, when when the suggestion is, these should be read allegorical this question of individual and historical commemoration kind of smacks me in the face.
00:46:09.660 --> 00:46:23.850
Phillip Deloria: There is no suggestion that we should read Roosevelt himself allegory ugly, right, we're meant to read him to to realism. If we did read him allegorical we might be talking more about imperialism and domination.
00:46:26.580 --> 00:46:33.300
Phillip Deloria: I described the statue is he. And it may be that it's itchiness run something like this.
00:46:33.840 --> 00:46:40.830
Phillip Deloria: Mixing realism and allegory, maybe doesn't really work so well it blurs the aims of the commemorative and the historical monument together.
00:46:41.250 --> 00:46:49.590
Phillip Deloria: And these things come to a point of crisis, when we start crossing temporality itchiness reflects my an effective emotional response to the statute.
00:46:50.070 --> 00:47:01.320
Phillip Deloria: It's distinct from an historical critique of Roosevelt or Frazier, the museum or the City, New York, the whole way through. Does the discussion I now see, I've actually found the itchiness, to be the most interesting thing about it.
00:47:02.910 --> 00:47:10.920
Phillip Deloria: Commemorative monuments have that tendency to disappear to slide into forgetfulness as just part of the landscape. And then to reemerge as flashpoints
00:47:11.520 --> 00:47:17.160
Phillip Deloria: Perhaps it is Colonel argues, it's not that they're forgotten, but that they wait in the unconscious quite potent
00:47:17.730 --> 00:47:38.100
Phillip Deloria: Hence, he says, extreme responses for and against that they suddenly Ignite in states of exception, such as civil war, the iconoclast who break monuments and iconic kind of files, who Clinton both reactivate what always obtained, namely belonging to a collectivity to a culture.
00:47:39.870 --> 00:47:46.140
Phillip Deloria: United States may not be exactly in a state of civil war, but we close enough to it to understand corners caution.
00:47:46.680 --> 00:47:59.820
Phillip Deloria: Understanding the curious itchiness of a statute might be far too subtle to participate. Any loud argument among insecure activities commemoration in memory might be beside the point where they be exactly the point.
00:48:00.990 --> 00:48:02.820
Phillip Deloria: And that can only lead us to one place
00:48:04.020 --> 00:48:05.250
Phillip Deloria: The Washington football team.
00:48:06.270 --> 00:48:09.120
Phillip Deloria: Willing to go to war for an image until it wasn't
00:48:10.410 --> 00:48:18.570
Phillip Deloria: The Washington team adopted, it's our word name in 1933 to differentiate itself from the Boston Braves as part of the business of changing home fields.
00:48:19.290 --> 00:48:35.790
Phillip Deloria: And carry the new name when it relocated to the nation's capital. A few years later, there's no original temporal moment being commented or commemorated here no actual Washington Crossing the Delaware moment only a dim and complicated haze of myth, an ideology about American Indian people
00:48:36.900 --> 00:48:44.250
Phillip Deloria: Nor is the second temporal moment part of the conversation. No one paid any serious attention to the creation of the name of the mascot until later.
00:48:45.330 --> 00:48:52.830
Phillip Deloria: What unfolded around the team name was a temporality historicity that remained in an eternally present moment for several decades.
00:48:53.520 --> 00:49:00.540
Phillip Deloria: Will never change the name owner Dan Snyder insisted in a statement that also seem to deny the possibility of a future time
00:49:01.500 --> 00:49:12.450
Phillip Deloria: Its history them were also is false, including the fiction that the name was meant to commemorate Lone Star deeds and early coach who was thought to be an Indian though he wasn't much of his life was a racial mastery.
00:49:13.830 --> 00:49:23.880
Phillip Deloria: And yeah, if the name lived only in a timeless present the team did not hesitate to invoke the idea of the past a past that needed to be called back to collective memory.
00:49:24.930 --> 00:49:33.810
Phillip Deloria: In defending its name Washington took all sports teams down a crazy road arguing passionately that a team name.
00:49:34.470 --> 00:49:38.730
Phillip Deloria: Was somehow commemorative that it was something like a statue or work of art.
00:49:39.060 --> 00:49:51.060
Phillip Deloria: That it was meant to honor someone or something. And that's something over time, more from Lone Star deeds to native warrior values or other such claims all post hoc justifications for what was
00:49:52.020 --> 00:50:00.270
Phillip Deloria: Anyone being honest about this understood that most teams had no interest in honoring lions or tigers red or white colored socks.
00:50:00.750 --> 00:50:09.900
Phillip Deloria: Twins are Yankees Broncos are mariners are rocking the Washington team still close the idea of becoming the warriors to somehow honor the US military
00:50:10.560 --> 00:50:20.970
Phillip Deloria: As if that was really much of an honoring so this honoring is false. It's not a commemorative memory. It's a fictional invented tradition one aimed at mobilizing shared culture and community.
00:50:22.650 --> 00:50:33.870
Phillip Deloria: And I think this is not just a trivial thing about sports teams, I think it is part of the larger lesson here sports teams have a positive function in the world at their best, they create a shared sense of community.
00:50:34.410 --> 00:50:42.360
Phillip Deloria: Civil War is reduced to friendly rivalry vernacular creativity flourishes in the aesthetic realm is fan culture. Turns out new ideas.
00:50:43.080 --> 00:50:55.140
Phillip Deloria: Sports teams have it easy. Really, which is why the resistance to change it so frustrated that resistance, the refusal to adopt names and symbols that unified, which is not that hard.
00:50:55.980 --> 00:51:16.380
Phillip Deloria: Marks the recalcitrant team as a negation of what is socially possible a misuse of the trust and commitment of its fans a mobilization of powerful asset couches commemoration which is crystallized not as service to community, but as an incitement to small Civil War, who has it hard.
00:51:17.940 --> 00:51:28.440
Phillip Deloria: The keepers of the individual commemorative monuments that have aged into historical ones, perhaps, where the temporality and historicity now refuses alignment with those of the past.
00:51:29.340 --> 00:51:34.560
Phillip Deloria: When we realized that the tongue of Roosevelt is not our time. The James Earl Frazier's time is not our time.
00:51:35.040 --> 00:51:44.010
Phillip Deloria: That these things are not part of a smooth continuous history that leads to the now we're thrown out of joint and into an ontological and epistemological crisis.
00:51:44.760 --> 00:51:55.110
Phillip Deloria: Multiple temporality shifting values shaky memories new histories, as opposed to figures of stability commemorative markers turn out to be deeply unstable. What is the week.
00:51:55.680 --> 00:52:07.320
Phillip Deloria: How did it come to be. So how do we know how can we trust what we think. How can we reduce the responsible to those multiple paths, who got left out. Is there salvage or repair to be had.
00:52:08.370 --> 00:52:13.770
Phillip Deloria: How can we be a positive force in our community rather than an occasion for small civil wars.
00:52:15.420 --> 00:52:24.270
Phillip Deloria: I've been reading Joseph Carter's piece on iconoclast and because I find myself serving on not one, but two committees contemplating these questions in the context of Harvard
00:52:24.870 --> 00:52:29.220
Phillip Deloria: A physical space they can easily put one into temporal and emotional disarray.
00:52:30.090 --> 00:52:36.960
Phillip Deloria: Because all reviewers pals did right through town Washington did sleep here American higher education change to that we don't often remember that part.
00:52:37.410 --> 00:52:45.120
Phillip Deloria: The whole place is either commemorative or historical aesthetic or monumental in that it combines them all. So no one's tearing down the john Harvard statue.
00:52:46.050 --> 00:52:57.600
Phillip Deloria: But what about all those names on the buildings. What about all that art on the wall. The bus in the faculty room, the giant picture of Teddy Roosevelt. And until recently, looking over your shoulder when you were giving a talk and the Thompson room with the Barclays Center.
00:52:59.100 --> 00:53:05.130
Phillip Deloria: Are tasked to date has been to read a surprising number of reports from similar committees that other universities.
00:53:05.640 --> 00:53:19.200
Phillip Deloria: Most are quite pragmatic establishing balancing tests and centering educational mission is the root for various criteria, taken together, though, one can see too philosophical pads unfolding and they will not surprise you.
00:53:20.760 --> 00:53:29.160
Phillip Deloria: The first rest on a conservative philosophy and I say this is the best traditional, conservative is the past matters, the bar for change should be set high
00:53:29.550 --> 00:53:40.950
Phillip Deloria: Commemoration matters, the criteria for rethinking should set your first on the moment of a life or an event and the moment that produced the marker, the statute, the building name.
00:53:41.700 --> 00:53:46.050
Phillip Deloria: So discussions are going to start with Roosevelt and Frazier and then turn to the present in the future.
00:53:47.040 --> 00:53:58.110
Phillip Deloria: The second adopt the philosophy of change the temporality is of the present and the future matter and there is brewed should have you found an adaptation responsiveness service to the new
00:53:58.920 --> 00:54:07.590
Phillip Deloria: Discussions are going to start with the experiences of students in that problematically named door. Think about Yale's Calvin College, for instance. Now, Grace Hopper.
00:54:08.160 --> 00:54:17.610
Phillip Deloria: Or visitors who pass the Roosevelt statue and do a double take. From there, right, these folks will then look back to consider the past. Legacy
00:54:18.120 --> 00:54:25.140
Phillip Deloria: Well, the best of these reports acknowledges these different inclinations and they devise strategies for putting them in balance dialogue.
00:54:25.830 --> 00:54:41.070
Phillip Deloria: They focus on rigorous process inclusive deliberation and the elevation of higher values fairness honesty justice as primary guys. Well, nothing is perfect in this world, but I'd be happy to have them serve as models for how we we think about taking up this hard work.
00:54:43.230 --> 00:54:57.330
Phillip Deloria: I refuse, though, to ask you to sit through a quasi mystical meditation on temporal craziness and end with a kind of happy American constitutionalism particularly at this moment in our history. And so one last thought on time.
00:54:58.440 --> 00:55:03.900
Phillip Deloria: I was lucky. A few years ago to teach a big history class with my colleague, Cameron gimbal you
00:55:06.840 --> 00:55:13.860
Phillip Deloria: The book that fell over. Is this book, big ideas. I just want to pitch it to you as well, really interesting and good book.
00:55:14.610 --> 00:55:21.570
Phillip Deloria: So imagine history. Big History mentioned history being taken over by physicist or the scientists geologists chemists cosmologists
00:55:21.930 --> 00:55:28.770
Phillip Deloria: Your temporal canvas is 13.8 billion years, and you have a clear beginning point which most historians don't get the Big Bang.
00:55:29.640 --> 00:55:34.770
Phillip Deloria: you pursue history until that moment in the gym future when the universe winds down into cold entropy
00:55:35.550 --> 00:55:41.340
Phillip Deloria: Somewhere in the middle of Big History you enter the realm of deep history not quite the same thing.
00:55:42.060 --> 00:55:49.260
Phillip Deloria: Imagine history being taken over by physical anthropologist archaeologist evolutionary biologist ethno botanist geo archaeologists
00:55:49.860 --> 00:55:56.610
Phillip Deloria: Your temporal canvas is maybe 4 million years. And you can front. The interesting question of when and how humans became human
00:55:57.390 --> 00:56:01.890
Phillip Deloria: These are fantastic amazing meetings of the fields of history in various sciences.
00:56:02.730 --> 00:56:13.710
Phillip Deloria: They require a massive stretching of the temporal imagination, not the same as the sort of four modes that I tried to extract from Jacob. Lawrence, not the same as sort of this Benny minion mystical time right
00:56:14.220 --> 00:56:26.520
Phillip Deloria: Right, but a stretching of our temporal imagination as, for example, when are scientists we scale the history of the universe to a football field and allow you to think of human history as a tiny little blade of grass, you're the far gold.
00:56:27.900 --> 00:56:42.600
Phillip Deloria: digging deep histories of captivated. A lot of people have linked you go in the airport. If we ever do that again. There they are in the airport bookstore and, of course, Bill Gates is always ready to blurb a book by Jared Diamond or you've all know Harare, and why
00:56:44.250 --> 00:56:57.060
Phillip Deloria: Books such histories, it seems to me, stretch our temporal sense of the past in order to help think the unthinkable of the Anthropocene those hyper objects that are just too big to get one's head around.
00:56:58.500 --> 00:57:08.190
Phillip Deloria: Some large part of anthropocentric grief, a very real thing stems from loss, the real lots of plants, animals ice land.
00:57:09.240 --> 00:57:16.470
Phillip Deloria: Some part of that grief stems from the temporal displacement of the Anthropocene to sit in the present and anticipate the future.
00:57:17.160 --> 00:57:33.150
Phillip Deloria: Such that one ought to act in the present going through this labor only to not act in the present is in fact a form of devastation that causes grief and some part of the grief. I think also stems from the impossibility of grasping time at scale.
00:57:34.740 --> 00:57:42.780
Phillip Deloria: If commemoration is the human skilled meaning of temporality our collectivity and the aesthetic directed at the past
00:57:43.830 --> 00:57:52.650
Phillip Deloria: Is there an equivalent meeting beyond human scale time that can be directed at the future if we were married. Sally in 1938
00:57:53.250 --> 00:58:01.590
Phillip Deloria: Could we imagine making an art, it would be unseen for 70 years and yet transformative of the time between now and then.
00:58:02.250 --> 00:58:15.300
Phillip Deloria: If we can picture ourselves 70 years hence. Can we imagine looking back over our shoulders that we to made an art, the commemoration an effective effort in here and now that was transformative for the future.
00:58:16.320 --> 00:58:18.540
Phillip Deloria: Without a shelf stuff. Thank you all so much.
00:58:23.460 --> 00:58:41.880
Laurel Kendall: Thank you so much. Philip I can't hear all the applause that that talk garnered. We have a question in the queue. And we'll, we'll start with this is from Nieves this as a day. No.
00:58:42.720 --> 00:58:53.910
Laurel Kendall: In 2018 at the location of the most important of Blackfoot ceremonies in hundred and 30 years and in the middle of the sacred TP circle.
00:58:54.270 --> 00:59:07.410
Laurel Kendall: There was a Ramada whose shade was printed with the Washington football team logo. It was the family of the Blackfoot artists to design the logo based on the photo of a Black Chief
00:59:07.890 --> 00:59:22.170
Laurel Kendall: Memory work, I suggest is localized and multi scale or what do you think this, sir. Okay, your temper different temporality is coming together for you. Can you play with that one for us.
00:59:23.490 --> 00:59:36.510
Phillip Deloria: Yeah i mean i think i mean you know the the simple answer right. Is that is the Indian country is a complicated place. And there's a lot of people who have a lot of different opinions and all of these kinds of things. Um, but it also, I think, is the case that
00:59:37.830 --> 00:59:38.370
Phillip Deloria: You know,
00:59:39.570 --> 00:59:41.220
Phillip Deloria: Useful symbols.
00:59:42.540 --> 00:59:52.380
Phillip Deloria: Useful signs things that generate and can generate multiple kinds of effects end up having a kind of fluidity and flexibility, you know, around them.
00:59:53.340 --> 01:00:01.020
Phillip Deloria: I'm a believer in the sort of cultural politics of this, the large scale cultural politics, but I think you can say that, well, recognizing
01:00:01.440 --> 01:00:11.850
Phillip Deloria: Other kinds of scale. So multi scale. I think it's exactly exactly the word you know even folks were interested in the cultural politics around mascots, you know, are not willing to say
01:00:12.990 --> 01:00:18.570
Phillip Deloria: That that should supersede tribal sovereignty in the case of, say, the Florida Seminoles or the or the US.
01:00:19.530 --> 01:00:26.790
Phillip Deloria: Or I think dropping down to the even more local scale right to say that that should supersede things that happened on the local level with
01:00:27.060 --> 01:00:38.790
Phillip Deloria: With other kinds of people. So this is, I think, one of these moments where like thinking structure puts you in one place, thinking person or event or locality might put you in a in a somewhat different place. So I'm going to agree with you.
01:00:41.580 --> 01:00:54.810
Laurel Kendall: Okay, um, the chat is empty, I, I find this very, very hard to believe I'm, I'm going to pose a question then.
01:00:56.400 --> 01:01:12.150
Laurel Kendall: I think this is really casting this in terms of pasts committed commemorative pasts and I'm the past of the moment of when the statute goes up and thinking to the future.
01:01:13.080 --> 01:01:21.000
Laurel Kendall: Is it should we then I mean you see us are very monumental places we put something up. And then, oh my gosh, that's out of date.
01:01:22.290 --> 01:01:35.280
Laurel Kendall: Should we be thinking in terms of the fluidity. The change ability of our structure should we be thinking in the understanding that things are always going to be different and that we don't build in bronze.
01:01:37.530 --> 01:01:44.310
Phillip Deloria: This has been one of the super interesting things in reading these reports now, not many universities say this, but a few do
01:01:45.210 --> 01:01:49.890
Phillip Deloria: Say, what would it look like if we just change a lot of names very frequently.
01:01:50.340 --> 01:01:59.040
Phillip Deloria: Right. What if buildings actually changed their name on a fairly regular basis. Right. What if a donor base building was forced to change it and say 15 years
01:01:59.700 --> 01:02:09.660
Phillip Deloria: You know what, if an honorific was going to change in 25 years or, you know, I mean, the time scale is a little variable, right, but the philosophy is quite different, which is to say
01:02:10.260 --> 01:02:18.420
Phillip Deloria: You know, I mean, oftentimes with museums with other institutions. Right. We think we have erected something and it doesn't have an end date right it's just going to stay
01:02:19.260 --> 01:02:27.210
Phillip Deloria: You know, but what if we actually built an institutional culture that was around change. I think it's a very, very hard thing for universities to even contemplate
01:02:27.990 --> 01:02:40.230
Phillip Deloria: And as I said, not many of them are actually sort of putting these kinds of things into writing but a few of them are. And I think it raises the question for all of us. Right. What would it look like to sort of adopt a sort of change philosophy.
01:02:41.580 --> 01:02:48.810
Phillip Deloria: Would it lower the stakes on all this stuff. Of course it would right if everything was changing quite often, would it be
01:02:50.040 --> 01:03:03.840
Phillip Deloria: more responsive to present moments probably would. It just engender more fights. Maybe it would I so I don't. This is something where I don't actually quite know what the answer to this question is, but, um, you know, yeah.
01:03:05.940 --> 01:03:09.480
Laurel Kendall: Thank you. That's, that's really helpful. Um,
01:03:11.460 --> 01:03:17.160
Laurel Kendall: Oh, alright. Let's see, we've got a few more questions in the queue.
01:03:22.110 --> 01:03:22.830
Laurel Kendall: Alright.
01:03:25.440 --> 01:03:29.370
Laurel Kendall: First, let's see, I'm William throwaway
01:03:30.390 --> 01:03:34.800
Laurel Kendall: He says he couldn't use the word redskin any comment.
01:03:37.980 --> 01:03:39.780
Laurel Kendall: Any temporality in the hall.
01:03:41.550 --> 01:03:44.670
Phillip Deloria: Yeah, I mean I, you know, this is, again, I think where
01:03:46.920 --> 01:03:52.920
Phillip Deloria: You know, as a historian, you could historic size this word and have a whole lengthy sort of conversations about it. Right. But in a lot of
01:03:53.940 --> 01:04:01.890
Phillip Deloria: A lot of ways was mattering at this particular moment is the sort of weight and the force of the argument that has been made against the Washington football team.
01:04:02.760 --> 01:04:08.190
Phillip Deloria: You know, and what's been curious and paradoxical about it, right, is if you say, you know, the R word
01:04:08.700 --> 01:04:15.660
Phillip Deloria: If you say this is a racist word and then the team changes its name on the basis of the being a racist where what we see in Kansas City, for example, is folks saying
01:04:15.870 --> 01:04:28.590
Phillip Deloria: Yeah but chiefs, that's not a racist word and therefore, you know, we go forward. So there's a kind of contemporary politics of the whole thing. I think that, you know, for me has to sort of led me to say like, that's not a word. I'm going to use
01:04:29.640 --> 01:04:32.130
Phillip Deloria: You know, I'm just, I'm just not
01:04:35.010 --> 01:04:37.170
Phillip Deloria: Yeah, period. I think
01:04:38.460 --> 01:04:46.320
Laurel Kendall: Okay, thank you. Um, this is from Ivan gaskill it's more of a comment, but you may want to comment on the comment.
01:04:46.800 --> 01:05:03.240
Laurel Kendall: He says, I remember Phillippi Montebello, former director of emit telling me that in perpetuity at the Metropolitan Museum. It's 30 years. In other words, the name of donors is sits on a gallery wall.
01:05:05.310 --> 01:05:06.750
Phillip Deloria: Yeah, I mean I think
01:05:08.070 --> 01:05:17.910
Phillip Deloria: One of the interesting things about this conversation is at what point is that sort of a quiet cultural practice and at what point is it an explicitly framed and articulated policy.
01:05:18.960 --> 01:05:23.370
Phillip Deloria: You know, and that may change the way that a donor whose name is going on a wall, actually.
01:05:23.610 --> 01:05:32.700
Phillip Deloria: You know thinks about things about things and one of the things that's been interesting for me. And this is looking at, you know, two instances at the university, Michigan. You know, I taught for a long, long time. One was the CC little building
01:05:34.020 --> 01:05:37.560
Phillip Deloria: You know, and CC little was president of university for a couple years, and
01:05:39.510 --> 01:05:42.900
Phillip Deloria: You know, it sort of uneventful guy unexceptional
01:05:43.920 --> 01:05:47.940
Phillip Deloria: They named a building after him i. And it turns out, then he's eugenicist
01:05:48.720 --> 01:05:57.120
Phillip Deloria: But what's the like the world's worst you Genesis, you know, he was sort of a run of the mill eugenicist right but then of course then they discover something else about him right
01:05:57.480 --> 01:06:04.290
Phillip Deloria: He was a shill for the tobacco industry at the end of his career. And so there becomes a really interesting question. Right. Is it is it
01:06:05.400 --> 01:06:11.160
Phillip Deloria: Are you adding these things up. Like, is it the weight of a career that becomes balanced it becomes the sort of
01:06:11.730 --> 01:06:19.980
Phillip Deloria: That seems really kind of odd. You know, in a way, I mean it's it's the gray zone. It makes all of these questions kind of hard. The other building was named after David Denison who is the
01:06:20.250 --> 01:06:24.540
Phillip Deloria: Chair of the chemistry department and a moment when they were building a lot of buildings and they didn't have enough names.
01:06:25.410 --> 01:06:36.660
Phillip Deloria: And then they got a donor to do a reverberation the donor wanted his name on the building and all of a sudden you've got those kinds of, you know, negotiations, you know, happening so I you know
01:06:39.180 --> 01:06:49.320
Phillip Deloria: I think I think where it becomes challenging is when you say it, you know, when you say this is our policy after 25 years we're going to take a donor name off a building or 50 years or 75 years
01:06:49.710 --> 01:06:56.730
Phillip Deloria: You know all things are up for grabs. That doesn't square with the way that philanthropy is developed, you know, the United States over time.
01:07:00.300 --> 01:07:12.390
Laurel Kendall: Okay, thanks. Um, alright, this one you might have some things to say, and I would also invite comment Dave Thomas. This is from Midas saucer.
01:07:12.870 --> 01:07:25.980
Laurel Kendall: You talked about Roosevelt, the Roosevelt statue was representing a memorial to Roosevelt, but can you place it historically in a moment in US history, similar to the way you discuss Columbus.
01:07:28.950 --> 01:07:32.850
Phillip Deloria: Hmm, that's a good question. I mean, you know, there's a temptation to say
01:07:33.240 --> 01:07:41.160
Phillip Deloria: You know, boy, all those Confederate statues that go up in the 1920s and the Roosevelt thing is happening at the same time and they should be have a piece of each other. I actually don't.
01:07:41.700 --> 01:07:44.640
Phillip Deloria: Think that that is quite the right way to see it. I mean,
01:07:45.210 --> 01:08:00.150
Phillip Deloria: You know, my understanding of this, the statue is really commemorative. I mean, it's really like Roosevelt dies and we start thinking, what are we going to do to memorialize him and then and it all unfolds. From there, and there's a very, very kind of direct, sort of, you know, kind of thread.
01:08:01.320 --> 01:08:05.280
Phillip Deloria: So it may be that there's a sort of like we could talk about the sort of the
01:08:06.360 --> 01:08:15.570
Phillip Deloria: Statue raising that happens in the early 20th century and the sort of commemorative cultures, you know, of the 20th century. And I think it is part and parcel of that the choice to make a statue.
01:08:16.110 --> 01:08:21.540
Phillip Deloria: Let's say, rather than an abstract kind of Memorial, that's something that, you know, comes to us somewhat later.
01:08:22.170 --> 01:08:33.660
Phillip Deloria: But so that I would say within that statuary culture of the early 20th century. It is really useful to kind of parse out in separate different kinds of strands. This is where the commemorative the individual commemorative kind of argument.
01:08:34.320 --> 01:08:43.950
Phillip Deloria: I think is somewhat useful. I found those categories, a little slippery right of the commemorative and the historical kind of thing. But this is a moment where maybe it makes more more sense.
01:08:46.140 --> 01:08:50.640
Laurel Kendall: Okay, um, Dave, do you want to add to that you're muted.
01:08:54.300 --> 01:08:54.960
Phillip Deloria: you're muted.
01:08:55.470 --> 01:08:56.550
Laurel Kendall: muted. Yeah.
01:08:58.770 --> 01:09:01.050
David Thomas: I'd like to weigh in. Just a slight bit
01:09:02.070 --> 01:09:05.430
David Thomas: Since since we're doing so much with the sports analogies.
01:09:06.660 --> 01:09:14.160
David Thomas: Let me use home run to just talk about what Phil just said, I think he was able to put
01:09:15.210 --> 01:09:29.970
David Thomas: The struggles that we're going through at the American Museum and such a larger context, not just statue wise but the rest of it. I just, we were we're we're thrilled to have you here as our distinguished lecturer.
01:09:31.500 --> 01:09:47.160
David Thomas: The, the part specifically about the statue. I guess the DR statue that concerns me a little bit, and I have to think more about what Phil had to say. But it's a conflation of
01:09:48.240 --> 01:10:02.670
David Thomas: The issue of creating the statue itself and what surrounded that and there is a eugenics background to it. But when you take the statue down in this particular year in
01:10:04.530 --> 01:10:15.270
David Thomas: Are you making a negative statement about the value of the conservation efforts that TR stands for in many communities. Now I know that
01:10:16.110 --> 01:10:37.020
David Thomas: I know TR and there's in creating national parks and the rest of the land that he saved in this country, which I think is a good thing. It's also worth looking at where that land came from which is Indian country. So there's a downside there. So, but just taking down the statue in 2020
01:10:38.610 --> 01:10:44.340
David Thomas: To me, my concern is, it looks so much like it's a reapplication of what's happening.
01:10:44.790 --> 01:11:01.500
David Thomas: To the way we're approaching and environment and conservation and the rest of it. And I like the way that that you phrase this as we move forward. Each of the statements as a temporary ality associated with it. So thanks.
01:11:04.350 --> 01:11:13.710
Laurel Kendall: Thank you both. Okay. We have one more question, which will probably be our final question from Marion Howard.
01:11:14.190 --> 01:11:25.290
Laurel Kendall: I grew up adoring the Indian next to Roosevelt. He looks so proud and in tune with Roosevelt saving the American wilderness reflection on the last comments.
01:11:25.830 --> 01:11:35.730
Laurel Kendall: What should we do with this gorgeous statue now from the M and H perspective, we don't know what's happening to all of the statues.
01:11:36.570 --> 01:11:50.940
Laurel Kendall: But maybe Philip could offer his speculation. What would you like to know if you if you could have all your temporality is lined up the way and pointing toward a future. What should the future of that statue be
01:11:52.890 --> 01:12:04.110
Phillip Deloria: You know, I'm at Michigan. We had these dioramas these these these wonderfully executed little diagram is, you know, but, you know, they really Indians in will shoe boxes right and
01:12:05.130 --> 01:12:13.860
Phillip Deloria: Every kid in Ann Arbor public schools had gone to museum and seeing these things and they were below right there below but they were they were they were problematic, right.
01:12:15.210 --> 01:12:26.130
Phillip Deloria: So we took them off site. We took them out of the museum but we move them into a place where we curated them. And I think, you know, this is my sense of this is like this is not
01:12:27.300 --> 01:12:39.750
Phillip Deloria: This should not be about sort of destroying something. It should be about curating our history, right. This is an archival kind of statement. At this point, and I think it needs to be treated and valued, you know, as, as such.
01:12:40.800 --> 01:12:46.530
Phillip Deloria: You know, there was a way to think. I mean, when we first started talking about the statue, you know, my first inclination was
01:12:47.490 --> 01:12:51.030
Phillip Deloria: Let's be additive rather than subtracted right let's add more art.
01:12:51.660 --> 01:13:01.260
Phillip Deloria: Let's get the coolest African sculptor and the coolest smartest native sculptor and let's give them the rest of the plaza, and let them do sculptural things which are responses, right to the statue.
01:13:02.070 --> 01:13:08.520
Phillip Deloria: And then let's just, you know, curate, you know, to get the heck out of the place, right, um, you know,
01:13:09.750 --> 01:13:18.960
Phillip Deloria: Doesn't seem like that's really, you know, kind of doable or tenable. Um, but it does seem to me that there is a way to think about statues like this other kinds of things.
01:13:19.860 --> 01:13:27.180
Phillip Deloria: Moving into an alternative space, which becomes an archival and curatorial kind of space where they are treated with a certain amount of respect as historical
01:13:27.780 --> 01:13:36.870
Phillip Deloria: You know objects as opposed to ideological kinds of statements that are functioning ideologically in the here and now. That's the thing that I think is
01:13:37.170 --> 01:13:47.760
Phillip Deloria: That's the trouble. But the trouble is not that their historical trouble is the way that they are you know kind of read used mobilized representational, you know, in the, you know, in the here and now.
01:13:48.420 --> 01:13:55.740
Phillip Deloria: I mean, I found myself quite persuaded when when folks in the Roosevelt family said, you know, we of course want to have Teddy Roosevelt remembered
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Phillip Deloria: We still want to have remembered like this in this particular, you know, kind of, kind of way. So, but I think what would happen in a curatorial archival kind of context is we would engage all of those temporality right
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Phillip Deloria: We would ask, why was the statute move, we would ask, how did the sculptor. Think about the statue, we would ask what was Teddy Roosevelt thinking we were thinking we would ask, how do we, you know, care, take this going forward. All of those four temporality would be at play, you know, at once.
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David Thomas: Let me just add a quick comment and and this is by way of our friends is an shown Harjo
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David Thomas: Who received the Presidential Award, a few years ago Suzanne's take on this is we've got to save the statue someplace, because we're going to save at the evidence.
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David Thomas: About what happened, saving the evidence, I think is an is a great negative argument that becomes a positive argument for why we don't destroy the past
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Laurel Kendall: Okay, I think, time wise. We've already kept the filter loria from another meeting and I'm so grateful to you for all you've shared with us this afternoon.
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Laurel Kendall: A lot of excitement around the things you had to say a conversation that we hope will continue with you going forward.
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Laurel Kendall: And I want to wish everybody a safe restful holiday season, a good year. And may we be gathering again under different circumstances next year. So thanks a lot. Thanks a million.
Lecture Description: Commemoration touches simultaneously upon at least four temporalities: the moment of a life or event, the moment of a marker or text, the moment of an encounter, and the anticipation of a future consequence. Commemoration interweaves (not always easily) issues surrounding remembrance, honor, values, community and power. Is it any wonder that our memory work is so out of joint? Names and statues, art and symbols—these things constellate around themselves multiple temporalities, shifting values, shaky memories, and new histories. As figures of stability, they are deeply unstable. Considering a range of cases—Mary Sully’s personality prints, Jacob Lawrence’s American Struggle series, sports mascots, the American Museum of Natural History’s Equestrian Statue of Theodore Roosevelt, campus re-namings, among others—this talk will contemplate the uncertainty of temporality that lingers amidst the seeming certainties of iconoclasm and commemoration alike.