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LA ROCHE COLLEGE PROFESSOR, JOSHUA BELLIN, PH.D., PUBLISHES “NATIVE ACTS”
A NEW BOOK EXPLORING THE PERFORMANCE OF “INDIANNESS” IN NORTH AMERICA


12/7/2011

PITTSBURGH, Pennsylvania (December 7, 2011) – In a new book, edited by Dr. Joshua David Bellin, professor of English at La Roche College, and Laura L. Mielke, associate professor of English at Kansas University, Indian peoples emerge as active, vocal, embodied participants in cultural encounters whose performance powerfully shaped the course of early American history. In "Native Acts: Indian Performance, 1603-1832,” essays by historians, literary critics, anthropologists and folklorists provide the first broadly-based chronicle of the performance of “Indianness” by Natives in North America from the seventeenth through the early nineteenth century.

Long before the Boston Tea Party, where colonists staged a revolutionary act by masquerading as Indians, people looked to Native Americans for the symbols, imagery and acts that showed what it meant to be “American.” And for just as long, observers have largely overlooked the role Native peoples played in creating and enacting the Indian performances appropriated by European Americans. It is precisely this neglected notion of Native Americans “playing Indian” that “Native Acts” explores.

The authors’ careful and imaginative analysis of historical documents and performative traditions reveals an intricate history of intercultural exchange. “Native Acts” challenges any simple understanding of cultural “authenticity” even as it celebrates the dynamic role of performance in the American Indian pursuit of self-determination.

Joshua David Bellin is a professor of English at La Roche College. He is the author of several books including, “Medicine Bundle: Indian Sacred Performance and American Literature, 1824–1932.”

For more information, please contact Joshua Bellin, Ph.D., at 412-536-1217 or Joshua.bellin@laroche.edu.




About La Roche College: A private, Catholic, co-educational college north of Pittsburgh founded by the Sisters of Divine Providence in 1963, La Roche welcomes students of all religions, ethnic origins and talents. Undergraduates may choose from more than 50 majors, including the top 10 majors most in demand among today’s college students. La Roche combines a quality educational experience with clubs, athletics, social and community volunteer activities, spiritual well-being and more to prepare students for life in a constantly changing global society.


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