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The Postmodern and the Postindian: The Poetics and the Politics of The Tricksters of Liberty Iping Liang National Taiwan Normal University March 27, 2009.

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Presentation on theme: "The Postmodern and the Postindian: The Poetics and the Politics of The Tricksters of Liberty Iping Liang National Taiwan Normal University March 27, 2009."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Postmodern and the Postindian: The Poetics and the Politics of The Tricksters of Liberty Iping Liang National Taiwan Normal University March 27, 2009

2 Outline 1. the postmodern turn 2. the postindian turn 3. The Trickster of Liberty: Tribal Heirs to a Wild Baronage (1989) 4. Conclusion

3 by way of seeing

4 Mona Lisa (1503)

5 Mona Lisa at the Louvre

6 Modern Modern generally means something that is "up-to-date," "new," or from the present time. new the present time the immediate moment novel; fashionable

7 Modern Art beginning in the 1860s Édouard Manet Le déjeuner sur l’herbe, 1863 making new getting out of the studio; going to nature turning away from the nobilities going to the ordinary


9 Impressionism Claude Monet Impression: Sunrise, 1872 bold, broken, and visible brushwork open composition ordinary objects nuances of the light the glance of a moment (impression) impression, not realism of the sight

10 Impression: Sunrise (Claude Monet, 1872)

11 The Stroll (Claude Monet, 1875)

12 Saint-Lazare Station (Claude Monet, 1877)

13 Water Lilies (Claude Monet, 1903)

14 Late Impressionism Self-Portrait (Vincent van Gogh, 1889)

15 Late Impressionism Van Gogh’s Room at Arles (Vincent van Gogh, 1889)

16 Late Impressionism The Starry Night (Vincent van Gogh, 1889)

17 A Pair of Shoes (1887)


19 Fredric Jameson Born in Ohio in 1934; went to Germany after college; studied European philosophy and got his Ph. D. from Yale, focusing on Sartre and existentialism Turned to Marxist and the postmodern studies after 1970; currently teaching at Duke University

20 Marxism and Form: Twentieth Century Dialectical Theories of Literature (1971)

21 The Political Unconscious: Narrative as a Socially Symbolic Act (1981)

22 Postmodernism or the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism (1991)

23 The Scream Edvard Munch (1893)

24 In the age of the postmodern, aesthetic production is integrated with commodity production 。 The design of postmodern architecture is connected with transnational capitals. depthlessness (loss of historicity)

25 In the postmodern age, the notion of historicity is under siege. pastiche vs. parody flatness vs. depth horizontal vs. vertical metonymy vs. metaphor repetition vs. condensation fragmentation vs. totalization

26 Commodification of Van Gogh

27 Art? Commodity? (Murakami Takashi)

28 LV’s designed by M. Takashi

29 Postmodern architecture at home with fashion: TOD’s flagship headquarter in Tokyo

30 MIKIMOTO in Tokyo by Ito Toyoo ( 伊東豐雄 )

31 Postmodern: Collage Barbara Kruger

32 Postmodern: Collage Barbara Kruger

33 Postmodern: Collage / Irony Barbara Kruger

34 Untitled (1991)

35 One Hundred Cans Andy Warhol, 1962

36 Campbell’s Tomato Soup Can, 1962

37 Elizabeth Taylor, Red, 1964

38 Marilyn Monroe, Green, 1967

39 Mao, 1972

40 Postmodern: Challenge Uniqueness Marilyn Monroe

41 Postmodern: Challenge Uniqueness Che Guevara

42 Postmodern: Depthless Art Campbell soup cans

43 parody vs. pastiche

44 The Persistence of Memory (Salvador Dali, 1931)

45 Postmodern: appropriation with a twist

46 A Pair of Shoes (1887)

47 Diamond Dust Shoes by Andy Warhol (1980)

48 The Two Mysteries (René Magritte, 1966)

49 Ceci n’est pas une pipe René Magritte (1928)

50 Gerald Vizenor

51 Biography 1934: born in Minneapolis, Minnesota Father was murdered when he was two and he’s raised by his Anishinaabe grandmother and Swedish American mother. the 1950s: dispatched to Japan the 1960s: a community activist Since the 1970s: taught Native American Studies at various universities; currently at the University of New Mexico

52 The Trickster of Liberty: Native Heirs to a Wild Baronage (1988)

53 Trickster (Coyote)



56 Coyote Coyote is a mythological character common to many Native American cultures, based on the coyote (Canis latrans) animal. This character is usually male and is generally anthropomorphic although he may have some coyote-like physical features such as fur, pointed ears, yellow eyes, tail and claws. The myths and legends which include Coyote vary widely from culture to culture.mythologicalNative Americancoyoteanthropomorphic

57 Coyote Coyote often plays the role of trickster, god of tricks, although in some stories he is a buffoon and the butt of jokes and in a few is outright evil. His positive traits include humor and sometimes cleverness. His negative traits are usually greed or desire, recklessness, impulsiveness and jealousy. Coyote is often the antagonist of his brother Wolf, who is wise and good natured but prone to giving in to Coyote's incessant demands.trickster

58 Coyote Coyote figures prominently in several creation myths. In one myth, Coyote creates the first people by kicking a ball of mud (sometimes a bit of feces) until it formed into the first man. In another myth Coyote is able to successfully impregnate an evil woman who has killed off all the other men in the world during the sexual act.

59 Coyote Coyote also plays the role of a hero, or even a culture hero, in some stories. In these stories, he proves to be helpful (and sometimes genuinely heroic).culture hero creator, humor, cleverness, hero destroyer, greed, desire, recklessness, impulsiveness, jealousy TRICKSTER

60 Postindian Conversations (1999)

61 Manifest Manners: Narratives on Postindian Survivance (1994)

62 Indian Representations












74 American Indian Series (Andy Warhol, 1976)


76 (1994)

77 This is not an Indian

78 Manifest Manners: Postindian Warriors of Survivance Gerald Vizenor explores the myths and representations of Native Americans that have established false notions on “Indianness” to serve as and idealized innocence for the West, thus eliding and eliminating the realities of tribal cultures.

79 manifest manners The European encroachments on the natural presence of the tribes were vicious and barbarous. The cruelties of national and colonial authorities were widespread; the grievous outcome of avarice, perverse determinism, and the destinies that would become “manifest manners” in the literature of dominance. (x)

80 Indian as Simulation Jean Baudrillard in Simulacra and Simulations [writes], “It is the generation by models of a real without origin or reality: a hyperreal. The territory no longer precedes the map, nor survives it” (qtd. in Vizenor 9).

81 Indian as Hyperreal Umberto Ero [writes] in Travels in Hyperreality, “This is the reason for this journey into hyperreality, in search of instances where the American imagination demands the real thing and, to attain it, must fabricate the absolute fake.” Indians, in this sense, must be the simulations of the “absolute fake” in the ruins of representation. (9)

82 Indian as Invention The Indian is the simulation of the absence, an unreal name. The word Indian is a colonial enactment, not a loan word (like canoe or maize), and the dominance is sustained by the simulation that has superseded the real tribal names.... The Indian was an occidental invention that became a bankable simulation. (11)

83 Standing Bear (Ponca, 1834-1908)

84 Postindian warrior Standing Bear seemed to envision the onset of the postindian warriors of simulations; that sensation of a new tribal presence in the very ruins of the representations of invented Indians. (4) attending Carlisle Indian Boarding School witnessing the Wounded Knee Massacre touring Europe w/ Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show

85 Postindian Warrior The postindian warriors encounter their enemies with the same courage in literature as their ancestors once evinced on horses, and they create their stories with a new sense of survivance. The warriors bear the simulations of their time and counter the manifest manners of domination. (4)

86 the postindian and the postmodern The warrior modes and postindian interpretations at the closure of the colonial inventions of the tribes in literature: the warriors, then and now, observe postmodern situations, theories of simulation, deconstruction, postindian encounters, silence, remembrance, and other themes of survivance that would trace the inventions of tribal cultures by missionaries and ethnologists to the cruelties of a melancholy civilization. (12-13)

87 trickster hermeneutics The source of natural reason and tribal consciousness are doubt and wonder, not nostalgia or liberal melancholy for the lost wilderness; and comic not tragic.... The shimmers of imagination are reason and the simulations are survivance, not dominance; an aesthetic restoration of trickster hermeneutics, the stories of liberation and survivance. (14)

88 trickster stories/storiers Trickster stories arise in silence, not scriptures, and are the holotropes of imagination; the manifold turns of scenes, the brush of natural reason, characters that liberate the mind the never reach a closure in stories. Trickster stories are the postindian simulations of tribal survivance. (15)

89 the postmodern postindian warrior storier In other words, the postindian warriors of postmodern simulations would undermine and surmount, with imagination and the performance of new stories, the manifest manners of scriptural simulations and “authentic” representations of the tribes in the literature of dominance. (17)

90 The Trickster of Liberty: Native Heirs to a Wild Baronage (1989)

91 Anishnaabe in today’s Minnesota

92 the Leech Lake Reservation

93 Indian house at the Leech Lake (1880)

94 Chippewa people at the Leech Lake (1890)

95 the Baron of Patronia Luster Browne + Novena Mae Ironmoccasin Shadow Box Browne + Wink Martin Mouse “Luster was there at dawn, a mixedblood at the scratch line, to disrupt the land allotment measures on the White Earth Reservation in northern Minnesota.” (3)

96 Luster Browne, the Baron That comic moment reared a compassionate tribal trickster, nurtured his wild children and nine grandchilden, and overturned an instance in racial hocus- pocus on that woodland reservation, which was invented in eighteen sixty-eight by withered white men in cutaway coats.” (3)

97 tribal heirs to a wild baronage China Browne—1st daughter; goes to China Tune Browne—1 st son; w/ an unusual tune Tulip Browne—detective and wind power Garlic Browne—farmer; garlic fan Ginseng Browne—grows ginseng; china trade Eternal Flame Browne—a nun Father Mother Browne—a father Mime Browne—likes to mime mother Wink Slyboots Browne—avian dreamer; microlight plane

98 China Browne When China Browne goes to China, she is taken as Chinese. She runs into an American couple who’s teaching English Tienjin University. The man says to China, “Well then, you must be Chinese.” China replies, “Native American.” And she said with a smile and waited for the characteristic response, the racial catechism, questions about reservations, religion, language and tribal radicals in prison. (22)

99 A Native American in China The Trickster of Liberty tells the trickster tales of China Browne and her siblings, the “native heirs of a wild baronage” and the nine grandchildren of Luster Browne, who’s given one hundred and sixty acres of land in 1868 by the US government and hence claims himself to be the “Baron of Patronia. While China is a “native heir of a

100 A Native American in China wild baronage,” she runs the risk of border crossing and lands herself in the Middle Kingdom of China. China Browne continues the border crossing trickster tales which however turn our attention to the issues of transnationalism, cross cultural translation, and the “risk society” of PRC before the Tienaman Square Massacre.

101 A Native American in China While a Native American in China may run into the risk of misrepresentation, Gerald Vizenor turns risks into postmodern trickster tales which however “free the mere experimentalism of form and offer cogent satire of contemporary society,” as critic Karl Kroeber notes.

102 Thank You

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