In search of the ancestors: Native American presences in British museums
  • Sherwell Centre

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Jack Davy is a Senior Research Associate at the University of East Anglia on the AHRC funded project Beyond the Spectacle: Native American presences in Britain. He has a PhD in anthropology from UCL, studying Indigenous miniaturisation as a tool for colonial communication and resistance, and has previously worked as a curator at the Horniman Museum and the Collection Manager for North America at the British Museum.

In this lecture, Jack covers the history of Native American objects in museums, and the history of Native Americans coming to Britain in search of those objects. He explores the thematic idea that museums (even today) are essentially European institutions using Indigenous objects as props without caring about (sometimes actively disrupting) Indigenous purposes, and how Native visitors are coming to museums to use the objects in fundamentally different ways, and museums are usually not able to cope with this kind of interaction.

Registration for this event will open at 18:00 for 18:30 start. The event will finish with refreshments at 20:00.

About the Mayflower Lecture Series

The Mayflower Lecture Series was established by Dr Kathryn Gray to support academic and public engagement events which focus on transatlantic literature and culture, from the early modern period to the present day.

Lecture #1 was held in June 2015, entitled ‘Eating Your Heritage: Using Ancestral Native American Foods as a New Paradigm for Indigenous Health and Wellness’. The speaker was Dr Lois Ellen Frank.

Lecture #2 was the keynote lecture of the Transatlantic Studies Association in 2016, given by Mary Nolan, Professor of History at New York University. Lectures 1 and 2 were both supported by the US Embassy, London, and the British Association for American Studies. 

Lecture #3 was entitled 'National Histories and Indigenous Voices: the Mayflower and other narratives'. The speaker was Dr Kathryn Gray.

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