Long Way, Long Time: Learning and Living Aboriginal Culture in Tasmania.

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dc.contributor.author Berk, Christopher D. en_US
dc.date.accessioned 2014-10-13T18:19:14Z
dc.date.available NO_RESTRICTION en_US
dc.date.available 2014-10-13T18:19:14Z
dc.date.issued 2014 en_US
dc.date.submitted en_US
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/2027.42/108803
dc.description.abstract This dissertation focuses on the history and culture of the Tasmanian Aboriginal people. Specifically, it addresses the intricate relationship between disjuncture, cultural revitalization, public presentation, and legitimation. Historically presented as “Paleolithic Man” by prominent theorists like Charles Darwin and Edward Burnett Tylor, the Tasmanians were conceptualized as the “rudest” culture ever documented. They became an iconic case of savagery extinguished in the name of progress following their perceived extinction in 1876. Despite this powerful narrative of disappearance, the Tasmanian Aboriginal people have long been at the forefront of indigenous rights movements in Australia. My dissertation strives to explain why this is so. After analyzing the place of the Tasmanian Aboriginal people in social thought, I proceed to challenge the centrality of race in popular conceptions of indigeneity. I contend that, in Aboriginal Tasmania at least, racial purity is secondary to geographical and familial ties in the comparative evaluation of community status and social esteem. Next, I examine the ways in which the Tasmanian Aboriginal people have revived many elements of their “lost” culture, including material culture production (basketry, bark canoes, kelp water carriers, etc.) and language. The investigation of these processes of cultural revitalization, and how they interact with post-colonial and “unbroken” traditions, provides a valuable lens through which common understandings of continuity and hybridity are challenged and complicated. These articulations, and the ways in which they are formatted for public consumption in museum exhibits, heritage campaigns, and education programs, are emblematic of broader efforts to form connections in the face of notable gaps and separations. This “gap-work” highlights the continuity between the ancestors and today’s community. I argue many of these connections are compensatory; they compensate for gaps that cannot be closed. Alternatively, they highlight the productivity of disjuncture in the formation of emergent meanings and identities. All this work, through revitalization programs and other avenues, is informed by post-settlement identities shaped on the Bass Strait Islands and Tasmania proper. The present and the past connect and interact in compelling ways, defining contemporary Tasmanian Aboriginality in a dialectical manner. en_US
dc.language.iso en_US en_US
dc.subject Cultural Revitalization en_US
dc.subject Indigeneity en_US
dc.subject Australia en_US
dc.subject Settler Colonialism en_US
dc.subject Museum Studies en_US
dc.title Long Way, Long Time: Learning and Living Aboriginal Culture in Tasmania. en_US
dc.type Thesis en_US
dc.description.thesisdegreename PhD en_US
dc.description.thesisdegreediscipline Anthropology en_US
dc.description.thesisdegreegrantor University of Michigan, Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies en_US
dc.contributor.committeemember Shryock, Andrew J. en_US
dc.contributor.committeemember Silverman, Raymond A. en_US
dc.contributor.committeemember Meek, Barbra A. en_US
dc.contributor.committeemember Roberts, Elizabeth Fs en_US
dc.subject.hlbsecondlevel Anthropology and Archaeology en_US
dc.subject.hlbtoplevel Social Sciences en_US
dc.description.bitstreamurl http://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/bitstream/2027.42/108803/1/cberk_1.pdf
dc.owningcollname Dissertations and Theses (Ph.D. and Master's)
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