My research focuses on various aspects of First Nations visual art and material culture, media, and performance on the Northwest Coast of North America, both historically and today. Themes recurring in my work include colonialism and indigenous modernities, cultural brokerage and translation, the politics of intercultural exchange and display, discourses of tradition and heritage management, history of anthropology and museums, and cultural and intellectual property. Previous research and film projects have examined the intercultural history of totem poles; ethnographic mediation of the Hamat’sa or “Cannibal Dance” of the Kwakwaka’wakw (Kwakiutl) of British Columbia; and Edward Curtis’s 1914 silent melodrama, In the Land of the Head Hunters. I have curated two exhibits for the Bard Graduate Center Focus Gallery: “Objects of Exchange: Social and Material Transformation on the Late Nineteenth-Century Northwest Coast” (2011); and “The Story Box: Franz Boas, George Hunt and the Making of Anthropology” (2019), the latter in partnership with U’mista Cultural Centre. I am currently co-director of a major collaborative project to create a critical, annotated edition—in print and digital media—of Franz Boas’s landmark 1897 monograph on Kwakwaka’wakw culture.

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Selected Recent Publications

Editor, with Brad Evans, Return to the Land of the Head Hunters: Edward S. Curtish, the Kwakwaka’wakw, and the Making of Modern Cinema. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2014.

“Indigenous Ontologies, Digital Futures: Plural Provenances and the Kwakwaka’wakw collection in Berlin and Beyond.” In Museum as Process: Translating Local and Global Knowledges, edited by Raymond Silverman, 19-44. London: Routledge, 2015.

Editor, Objects of Exchange: Social and Material Transformation on the Late Nineteenth-Century Northwest Coast. New York: Bard Graduate Center for Decorative Art, Design History, Material Culture; Distributed by Yale University Press, 2011.

Author, with Aldona Jonaitis, The Totem Pole: An Intercultural History. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2010.

“A Cannibal in the Archive: Performance, materiality, and (in)visibility in unpublished Edward Curtis photographs of the Hamat’sa.” Visual Anthropology Review 25 (2) (2009): 128-49.

“Frozen Poses: Hamat’sa dioramas, recursive representation, and the making of a Kwakwaka’wakw icon.” In Photography, Anthropology, and History: Expanding the Frame, edited by Christopher Morton and Elizabeth Edwards, 89-116. London: Ashgate Press, 2009.

“Crests on Cotton: ‘Souvenir’ T-shirts and the materiality of remembrance among the Kwakwaka’wakw of British Columbia.” Museum Anthropology 31(1) (2008), 1-18.

Selected Courses

730 The Social Lives of Things: The Anthropology of Art and Material Culture

740 Native Arts of the Northwest Coast

795 Exhibiting Culture/s: Anthropology In and Of the Museum

863 Objects of Colonial Encounter

877 Picturing Things: Photography as Material Culture

882 Ethnography and the Material World

922 In the Footsteps of Franz Boas: Native Arts of the North Pacific and the Legacy of the Jesup Expedition