Re-Membering Norridgewock: Stories and Politics of a Place Multiple
Smith, Ashley Elizabeth
This dissertation is an ethnography of place-making at Norridgewock, the site of a famous Wabanaki village in western Maine that was destroyed by a British militia in 1724. I examine how this site is variously enacted as a place of Wabanaki survivance and erasure and ask, how is it that a particular place with a particular history can be mobilized in different and even contradictory ways? I apply Annemarie Mol’s (2002) analytic concept of the body multiple to place to examine how utilize practices of storytelling, remembering, gathering, producing knowledge, and negotiating relationships to variously enact Norridgewock as a place multiple. I consider the multiple, overlapping, coexistent, and contradictory enactments of place and engagements with knowledge that shape place-worlds in settler colonial nation-states. Rather than taking these different enactments of place to be different perspectives on or versions of place, I examine how these enactments are embedded in and shaped by hierarchies of power and politics that produce enactments of place that are at times parallel and at times contradictory. Place-making is especially political in the context of settler colonialism, where indigenous places, histories, and peoples are erased in order to be replaced (Wolfe 2006; O’Brien 2010). I consider how the social hierarches set up through settler colonialism make some enactments of place appear to be more important than others, or even appear as if they are the only enactments at all, rendering other ways of experiencing, knowing, and being in this place irrelevant or invisible. Using a decolonial approach, I unsettle the enactments of this place that produce and reproduce Wabanaki erasure narratives and show how, through stories, memories, and practices of gathering, Wabanaki peoples enact Norridgewock as simultaneously a site of violence and a site of their survivance and hope for the future.
History; Knowledge; Place; US Nationalism; Memory; Cultural anthropology; Settler Colonialism; Native American studies
Langwick, Stacy A.; Gleach, Frederic Wright; Brooks, Lisa Tanya
Ph. D., Anthropology
Doctor of Philosophy
dissertation or thesis