Thursday, September 28, 2017 5:30pm - 6:30pm
The Social Life of Stones: Haida Argillite Carving as Allies and Inalienable Possessions
Join Kaitlin McCormick as she presents a social history of Haida argillite carving, an ongoing commercial tradition surrounding “black slate,” a rare geological phenomenon in British Columbia. McCormick will connect selected historical moments of argillite carving with current debates about the status of the material and its products in Haida and settler-Canadian contexts. She will discuss how the Haida conceive of argillite as “inalienable possessions” and suggest that, though historical argillite carvings should not be excluded from negotiations around the return of material heritage items, the foreign ownership of these objects may actually yield more productive and valuable returns to Haida Gwaii.
Kaitlin McCormick is a Postdoctoral Research Associate in Anthropology and Museum Studies at Brown University. McCormick received her PhD in Canadian Studies at the University of Edinburgh in 2016 for her thesis “Early Scottish Museum Collections of Haida Argillite Carving.” At Brown, McCormick teaches Introduction to Museum Studies, and is researching the Northwest Coast collection of Providence journalist Emma Shaw Colcleugh (1847-1940) at the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology. She is also focused on adapting her doctoral dissertation into various scholarly publications.
Reception to follow.