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Title: The role of popular visual representation in the construction of North American Indian and Western alternative spiritual identities
Author: Welch, Christina Ann Mary
ISNI:       0000 0004 2670 791X
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Winchester
Date of Award: 2009
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This thesis explores the role of popular visual representation in the construction of North American Indian and Western Alternative Spiritual identities predominantly within Britain. The thesis falls into two related sections. The first is an ethnographic survey of Western Alternative Spiritual practitioners in the form of spiritual seekers and their North American Indian and non-Native teachers. The second is an analysis of popular visual representation of North American Indian peoples from 1851 to the present, with a focus on the World's Fairs and Wild West shows, colonial era ethnographic portraiture, Western-movies, Native and non-Native web sites, and museum exhibitions. The ethnographic field-work, conducted using participant-observation and guesthood informed conversation, provided the database for the imases analysed in section two, where post-structuralist critique highlights visual representation as an instrument of social power, while post- and de-colonial intertextual analysis foreground both colonialism in visual representation and the role of indigenous agency in identity construction. In contrast with the pervasive negation of indigenous agency in visual representation and identity construction, this thesis demonstrates that the stereotypical Plains-style Indian is not entirely a Western construct, and highlights the value of de-colonial research methodologies in visual representation and identity construction.
Supervisor: Stuart, Stuart ; Mulvey, Chris ; Harvey, Graham Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available