Representation and Politics: Contesting Histories of the Iroquois

Essay Excerpt

The issue we studied, as well as the very process of researching and writing this article, have been controversial.3 We rejected, and continue to reject, the attempts made by participants to place us on one side or the other of the controversy; we advocate for neither the position of traditionalist Indian writers of the guide norforits non-native critics. But we are not neutral. We argue for dialogue and against an adversarial, either/or framing of the issue. We propose that if this conflict were to be understood not in terms of the truth of history but in terms of the incommensurability of the different conceptual matrices brought to the debate over publicly representing history, options other than the current state of mistrust and anger might appear. This is not to deny that there is truth, or that there are better and worse ways to gain access to the truth of historical events, but rather to shift the focus of analysis from the content of history to the politics of representation.(Landsman and Ciborski, 426)

About the Author

Gail Heidi Landsman (Ph.D., Catholic University) is Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Albany, SUNY, where she teaches courses in gender, reproduction, and disability.  She is the author of numerous book chapters, articles in peer-reviewed journals, and a previous book Sovereignty and Symbol.  She is also the mother of three children, one of whom has cerebral palsy.

Sara Ciborski was a professor of anthropology at the University of Albany, SUNY. Her areas of interest included gender and sexuality studies, experts and expert knowledge, culture, power, identity, and more.

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