Reassessing Revitalization Movements


Reassessing Revitalization Movements

Perspectives from North America and the Pacific Islands

Edited by Michael E. Harkin

341 pages


April 2004


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September 2007


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About the Book

The escalating political, economic, and cultural colonization of indigenous peoples over the past few centuries has spawned a multitude of revitalization movements. These movements promise liberation from domination by outsiders and incorporate and rework elements of traditional culture. Reassessing Revitalization Movements is the first book to discuss and compare in detail the origins, structure, and development of religious and political revitalization movements in North America and the Pacific Islands (known as Oceania). The essays cover the twentieth-century Cargo Cults of the South Pacific, the 1870 and 1890 Ghost Dance movements in western North America, the Tuka Movement on Fiji in 1885, as well as the revitalistic aspects of contemporary social movements in North American and Oceania.

Reassessing Revitalization Movements takes Anthony F. C. Wallace’s concept of revitalization movements and examines the applicability of the model to a variety of religious and anticolonial movements in North America and the Pacific Islands. This extension of the revitalization movement model beyond its traditional territory in Native anthropology enriches our understanding of movements outside of North America and offers a holistic view of them that embraces phenomena ranging from the psychic to the ecological. This cross-cultural approach provides the most stimulating and broadly applicable treatment of the topic in decades.

Author Bio

Michael E. Harkin is a professor of anthropology at the University of Wyoming. He is the author of The Heiltsuks: Dialogues of History and Culture on the Northwest Coast (Nebraska 1997).

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