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Saturday, May 3 • 4:30pm - 5:30pm
Hidden in Plain Sight: Facilitating Discovery in Material Culture Resource Collections

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Sponsored by Washington Art Library Resources Committee (WALRC)


Provenance, Pedigree, and Poverty: Challenging Museumologists Discourse on Navajo Textile History- Kathy M'Closkey, Adjunct Associate Professor, University of Windsor (presented by Kathy Edwards)
Indigenous Visual Culture at OCAD University Library: Diffusing the Discourses of Power- Daniel Payne, Head Instructional Services, Dorothy H. Hoover Library, OCAD University

Kathy Edwards, Research & Collection Development Librarian, Gunnin Architecture Library, Clemson University

This session will discuss ways in which libraries can facilitate discovery of unknown primary and secondary resources relevant to research in indigenous material culture collections.

In 1996, the Heard Museum (Phoenix, AZ), sponsored the symposium and exhibition “Inventing the Southwest: The Fred Harvey Company and Native American Art.” Founded in 1876, the Company managed the restaurants and dining cars for the Santa Fe Railroad. A publication featuring essays from twenty contributors accompanied the show. Although sixty percent of the papers dealt with important stakeholders involved with marketing Native American collectibles, none of the authors accessed information from the Company’s Indian Department ledger books containing thousands of entries related to the purchase and disposition of Native American creations acquired after 1900. Yet these primary documents were housed directly above the symposium’s location--in the Museum’s library.

Can post-colonial voices be heard within an institutional forum founded in a colonial past? Michel Foucault’s Archaeology of Knowledge (L'archéologie du savoir, 1969) offers an indictment of hegemonic environments constructed by institutions that use codified discursive practices to arbitrarily impose a hierarchical order onto the world of knowledge based on values, norms and assumptions unique to their own cultural vantage point. For libraries using subject classification schemes such as Library of Congress system, criticisms of this nature seem deeply provoking. Concerns of this nature became prescient at OCAD University with the introduction of the Indigenous Visual Culture (INVC) program, a degree stream that offers either major or minor courses of study. Founded by the university’s School of Interdisciplinary Studies, the INVC curriculum encompasses courses from all three OCAD U faculties of Art, Design and Liberal Arts & Sciences. In addition to new course offerings, each faculty has revised selected pre-existing courses to include components of aboriginal ways of understanding and knowing, leading to a meaningful integration of course objectives where indigenous perspectives permeate all aspects of the university’s curriculum.

Saturday May 3, 2014 4:30pm - 5:30pm EDT
Room: Bulfinch/Renwick Grand Hyatt 1000 H Street NW, Washington DC 20001

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