November 21, 2019 – 6:30 pm

Gallery Talk: Native American Basketry and Sovereignty

presented by Daniel Usner, Holland N. McTyeire Professor of History, Vanderbilt University

Frist Art Museum Ingram Gallery
Free to members; admission required for not-yet-members
Reservations recommended


Join Daniel Usner to learn about the social and political significance of Chitimacha basketry, focusing on Clara Darden’s nested baskets. Usner, the Holland N. McTyeire Professor of History at Vanderbilt University, has devoted a decade of research to learning how Native American women a century ago mobilized art on behalf of the sovereignty and territory of their people. He is the author of Indians, Settlers, and Slaves in a Frontier Exchange Economy (1992), American Indians in the Lower Mississippi Valley: Social and Economic Histories (1998), Indian Work: Language and Livelihood in American Indian History (2009), Weaving Alliances with Other Women: Chitimacha Indian Work in the New South (2015), and American Indians in Early New Orleans: From Calumet to Raquette (2018). 

Before joining the Vanderbilt faculty in 2002, Usner taught for two decades at Cornell University, where he also served as director of its American Indian Program. A past president of the American Society for Ethnohistory, he has received fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies; the Bard Graduate Center for Decorative Arts, Design History, and Material Culture; the Cornell University Society for the Humanities; the Council for International Exchange of Scholars; the Huntington Library; the Newberry Library; the School for Advanced Research in Santa Fe; and Vanderbilt University’s Robert Penn Warren Center. Usner is now writing a book tentatively titled From Bayou Teche to Fifth Avenue: How Chitimacha Basket Diplomacy Saved an Indian Nation.


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