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Literary Reading: Ancient Stories Made Modern

Literary Reading: Ancient Stories Made Modern

Thursday, March 5, 2009

9 am

BW 512

For more information: Call 416-208-4769


The Jackman Humanities Institute Research Fellows Lecture Series presents "Ancient Stories Made Modern: Oral Storytelling and Local Historiography" with Julie Cruikshank.

Globally, ethnographic studies of oral traditions and histories now emphasize the human agency of narrators and the diverse strategies they employ in specific times and locations. Julie will discuss successive versions of one story, told by a senior Tagish storyteller in several contexts to differing audiences during six decades. Angela Sidney’s intentional deployment of this narrative to comment on family history in the modern world conveys her sharp insights about her changing subject position over time. She further acknowledges how conflict, consensus and hierarchy enter into historical representations. History is always and everywhere actively under construction. More than a decade after her death, her story has a continuing social life in public commentaries on northern Canadian land claims and self-governance agreements.

Julie Cruikshank's research focuses on practical and theoretical developments in oral tradition studies; specifically how competing forms of knowledge become enmeshed in struggles for legitimacy. Her ethnographic experience is rooted in the Yukon Territory, where she lived and worked for many years recording life stories with Athapaskan and Tlingit elders. She has also carried out comparative research in Alaska and Siberia. Her current work draws on theoretical trends linking the anthropology of memory with environmental anthropology. She is presently investigating historical and contemporary encounters among environmental earth sciences and indigenous oral traditions within the recently designated World Heritage Site that spans the borderlands of Yukon, northwest British Columbia, and Alaska.

For more information, call the AEP Office at 416.208.4769.


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