Re-Reading Ishi's Story
Interpreting Representation in Three Worlds
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Rereading Ishi’s Story offers a manifesto of sorts through a critical reading of an anthropological classic, Theodora Kroeber’s 1961 book, Ishi in Two Worlds: A Biography of the Last Wild Indian in North America.
The heart of the analysis involves a five-play cycle, built around Gerald Vizenor’s trickster-survivance model. It gives Ishi a voice he never had in Kroeber’s book and imagines an Ishi who was not the happy warrior in Kroeber’s book. The author follows the story line in Kroeber’s book, focusing on key events as recounted by Alfred Kroeber and his associates Saxton Pope and Thomas Waterman. Chapter 1 tells Ishi’s story in his own words; Chapter 2 retells Ishi’s capture narrative, which includes the recording of his story of the wood ducks; Chapter 3 builds on stories told about Ishi by Zumwalt Jr.; Chapter 4 criticizes Kroeber and associates for making Ishi return to his homeland, asking him to ‘play’ Indian; and Chapter 5 takes up his death and the recovery of his brain. The concluding chapters address repatriation practices, genocide, Indigenous ethics, discourses of forgiveness, and a performance autoethnography ethic for this new century, returning to the Kroebers and their autoethnographic practices.
This book continues a four-volume project on Native Americans, the postmodern Wild West shows, museums, violence, genocide, and the modern U.S. American use of the Native American in a collective search for an authentic identity (Denzin, 2015, 2013, 2011, 2008). It will be of great interest to scholars and students of qualitative inquiry, anthropology, and Native American studies.
Table of Contents
Part One Chapter 1. You Can Call Me Ishi: The Story of a Trickster Chapter 2. Ishi and the Wood Ducks, Part 2, or Ishi, the Assimilated Indian Chapter 3. Ishi the Happy Warrior in Golden Gate Park Chapter 4. Ishi in the Wilderness: Anatomy of a Life and a Death (1861-1916) Chapter 5. Ishi’s Brain: The Trickster’s Revenge; Part Two Chapter 6. Ishi’s Ethics Chapter 7. Ishi Comes Home
Norman K. Denzin is distinguished emeritus research professor of communications at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA. He is the author, coauthor, or coeditor of more than 50 books and 200 professional articles and chapters. He is the past president of the Midwest Sociological Society and the Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction. He is the founding president of the International Association of Qualitative Inquiry (2005–) and director of the International Center of Qualitative Inquiry (2005–). He is the past editor of The Sociological Quarterly, founding coeditor of Qualitative Inquiry, and founding editor of Cultural Studies–Critical Methodologies, International Review of Qualitative Research, and Studies in Symbolic Interaction: A Research Annual.