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Gwyneira Isaac

Dept. of Anthropology | Smithsonian Institution
Presentation: "Digital Surrogates and the Transformation of Knowledge in Museums"

Dr. Isaac’s research investigates knowledge systems and the relationships societies develop with their past, especially as to how this is expressed through material culture and museums. Central to this study is her fieldwork and ethnography of a tribal museum in the Pueblo of Zuni, New Mexico where she examined the difficulties faced by Zunis operating between Zuni and Euro-American approaches to knowledge. Through the book Mediating Knowledges: Origins of a Museum for the Zuni People (2007), she argues that the Zuni museum reconciled the different approaches to knowledge both within its own constituency and cross-culturally, and consequently, that it took on the role of mediator between internal and external expectations about Zuni history.