Hannah Elgin presents “To the Commons and Back? Registers of Reclamation at the Hopi Cultural Preservation Office”

Departmental Event

Start Date: Feb 21, 2020 - 12:00pm

Location: Hibben 105

Hannah McElgunn, PhD Candidate in the Departments of Anthropology and Linguistics at the University of Chicago will present her talk “To the Commons and Back? Registers of Reclamation at the Hopi Cultural Preservation Office”  this Friday, February 21 at 12 pm in Hibben 105. The event is free and open to the public.

In 1913, curators from the Field Columbian Museum of Chicago conducted their final collecting expedition to Hopi. Like many curators of this era, they scrambled to collect as much as possible before the supposedly inevitable disappearance of the Hopi way of life.  With the implementation of repatriation legislation in 1990, the hegemony stabilized by this narrative of linear decline has and continues to be troubled within the U.S. This talk considers the way that people with different epistemological commitments are reckoning with the aftermath of collecting expeditions. I trace both the historical accumulation of indigenous knowledge and contemporary efforts to reclaim it, focusing in particular on the ways advisors to the Hopi Cultural Preservation Office voice a distinctive mode of authority. I show that reclamation efforts do not undo the transformations that have occurred, but rather result in new modes of relating to the material being reclaimed.