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Negotiating History and Culture

Transculturation in Contemporary Native American Fiction


Karsten Fitz

Native American cultures have always succeeded to varying degrees in negotiating a balance between their tribal cultural heritage and the ‘dominant culture.’ In the present study, the meeting between these cultures is not interpreted as a clash, but as a cultural encounter in a contact zone. The concept of transculturation serves as a theoretical model to analyze how history and culture are fictionally constructed in contemporary American Indian literature. Developing a dynamic, dialogic, and reciprocal relationship between their native worldviews and literary techniques, on the one hand, and those of the larger society, on the other, the writers examined in this study – Anna Lee Walters, Diane Glancy, James Welch, Linda Hogan, Thomas King, and Gerald Vizenor – stress the processual nature of culture. These writers demonstrate that transculturation functions as a major strategy of survival for Native Americans in the past and in the present.
Contents: Transculturation as Strategy of Negotiating Native American Culture and History – Rewriting and Re-imagining American Indian History – Negotiating Culture and History through Trickster Discourse.