Cultural appropriation continues to be a polarizing issue within popular art, fashion and design. For Dr. Adrienne Keene (Cherokee Nation), the “Hipster Headdress” often worn by participants at festivals and events is a personal and political problem.
“When I, as a native person, walk into a store and see racks and racks of products featuring decontextualized ‘Native’ designs,” writes Keene in the New York Times, “with no connection to their communities that have protected and held these cultural markers for centuries, I can’t help but think of [Native] history, and wonder when we will have the power to control our own culture.”
A professor of American studies and ethnic studies at Brown University, Keene will present “The Strange Case of the Hipster Headdress: Reclaiming Indigenous Representations” as Madden Library’s Womack Lecture at 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 17, in the library’s Table Mountain Rancheria Reading Room.
Starting as a graduate student blogger about 10 years ago (NativeAppropriations.com), Keene’s lecture will also address how Native peoples have harnessed the power of storytelling through social media to challenge cultural appropriation and stereotypical representation. As a scholar, writer, blogger, podcast host, and activist, Keene is passionate about reframing how the world sees contemporary Native cultures.
Through her writing, scholarship and activism, Keene questions the ways Indigenous peoples are represented, asking for celebrities, large corporations, designers and everyday people to consider the ways they incorporate Native elements into their world.
Keene’s visit coincides with the recent release of her book, “Notable Native People: 50 Indigenous Leaders, Dreamers and Changemakers from Past and Present” (Ten Speed Press, October 2021). A copy of the book will be gifted to Fresno State students attending Keene’s lecture and an informal meet and greet with the author will follow.
The Womack Lecture is sponsored by the J. Prentice Womack fund, established by the late Rhoda Womack, in honor of her husband, who was a librarian at Fresno State from 1958 to 1970. The annual Womack Lectures are focused on issues of a bibliographic nature or on social concerns, as stipulated by the family’s bequest to the Library.
For information or special accommodation for the Library’s Womack Lecture, call 559.278.2403.