Saturday, February 28, 2009

Teaching: The Business of Fancydancing

Southwest Texas Pop Culture Conference

On Thursday morning, I checked out a U of A PhD candidate in AIS presenting on the teaching of The Business of Fancydancing, a film by Sherman Alexie, in a college classroom to Native American students.
Here's the trailer from Youtube:

One of the other people in the audience brought up an interesting issue during the post panel Q&A when he explained that Alexie often time plays on stereotypes of that non-Native audiences don't understand. As an example, the man explained that the ornate dress of the 'fancydancing' came about as a result of white audiences in Oklahoma (I believe he said) who thought the original dress was boring. The presenter agreed that this insight gives another layer of meaning to the title 'business.'

This discussion of mixed messages was particularly poignant for me because I just finished reading Viviana Diaz Balsera's Pyramid under the Cross, which deals with the subversive messages that Nahuatl translators put into the Franciscan evangelical plays, causing the spiritual colonizers to overestimate the effectiveness of their rhetoric.

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