American Indians in Popular Imagination

Thursday, Apr. 10, 2014 11:55 am

Philip Deloria, professor of history and Native American studies at the University of Michigan, will deliver a Scholars’ Convocation on “American Indians in the American Popular Imagination” at noon Wednesday, April 16, in Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center, Room 101. The talk, which is part of the Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar Program, is the final Scholars’ Convocation of the year.

The event is free and open to the public.

Philip Deloria is the associate dean of undergraduate education at the University of Michigan’s College of Literature, Science and the Arts, where he holds a joint appointment in the Department of American Culture and the Department of History. Deloria’s research focuses on issues of cultural representation, particularly concerning American Indian people, social and cultural relations in contact situations, and environmental and western American history.

Deloria is the author of two books:

  • Playing Indian examines how white Americans appropriated Indian traditions, images and clothing to shape national identity in different eras.
  • Indians in Unexpected Places challenges the seemingly static stereotype of American Indians by the “secret histories” of Native American people who helped shape modernity.

These books have been much honored: Indians in Unexpected Places received the John C. Ewers Prize in Ethnohistory from the Western History Association, and Playing Indian won a Gustavus Myers Outstanding Book Award. Deloria is also co-editor of the Blackwell Companion to American Indian History.

Deloria’s Convocation talk is sponsored by the Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar Program, which offers undergraduates the opportunity to spend time with some of America’s most distinguished scholars. The 13 men and women participating during 2013-14 will visit 100 colleges and universities with chapters of Phi Beta Kappa, spending two days on each campus and taking full part in the academic life of the institution. They will meet informally with students and faculty members, participate in classroom discussions and seminars, and give a public lecture open to the entire academic community. Now entering its 58th year, the Visiting Scholar Program has sent 611 Scholars on 5,004 two-day visits.