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Grant number like: FB-50158-04

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Elizabeth Hutchinson
Barnard College (New York, NY 10027-6909)

Fellowships for College Teachers and Independent Scholars
Research Programs

[Grant products]

$40,000 (approved)
$40,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2004 – 8/31/2005

The Indian Craze: Modern Art and Indian Policy, 1890-1914

Between 1890 and 1914, writers seeking an "American" art that would resolve anxieties about contemporary cultural, political and economic changes celebrated Native American art and urged artists and craftspeople to copy indigenous designs. The United States Government supported this "Indian Craze" through policies on reservations, changes in the curriculum for the Indian Schools and national and international exhibitions. Meanwhile, Native intellectuals used this interest in "traditional" Indian culture to influence Indian policy, mastering the language of early modernism in an attempt to negotiate a "modern" Indian identity. Combining the tools of visual studies, feminism and postcolonialism, my book reinserts this neglected but important chapter in the history of American modernism. I relate the "Indian Craze" to cultural debates about gender and nationalism, art education, handicrafts, and the merits of abstraction and Native American civil rights struggles.