Gleach, Frederic Wright

Senior Lecturer and Curator of the Anthropology Collections
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My first research focus has long been on Native North America and the historical relations between Native and European cultures, past and present. Particular emphases have included Native American perceptions of Europeans in contact situations, perspectives on warfare and violence, and the maintenance of ethnic identity. This research has included consulting with tribes on questions of land claims, recognition, and repatriation, as well as extensive archaeological and archival research. I have focused on two areas, Algonquian groups and the Pacific Northwest, with particular foci on the Powhatans of Virginia and the Tlingits of Alaska.

Beginning in the mid-1990s I have also studied the Spanish Caribbean, particularly U.S. involvement there and its relationships to U.S. Indian policy and its practice. My primary focus here has been on Puerto Rico, secondary on Cuba. I also study tourism and travel in Puerto Rico and Cuba, nineteenth century to the present, and representations (in art, photography, material culture, literature, advertising, etc.) and their relationships to identity issues in Puerto Rico and Cuba. Most recently I have been researching a forgotten Puerto Rican singer/dancer/actress and her position in the history of Latino performers in the US.

In approach I emphasize methods and theories for interpreting material and visual culture and documentary evidence, including textual and semiotic approaches and quantitative methods, along with ways to integrate such research with other streams of evidence. I have produced photographic and poster exhibits, websites and videos as well as publications, and have taught a wide range of courses in all of the traditional subfields of the discipline.

I also am actively engaged in research on the history and development of the Americanist tradition in anthropology and archaeology, with foci including the work of Frank Speck and his students and the University of Chicago and University of Wisconsin departments. My interest in other disciplinary traditions of the world is reflected in the philosophy and contents of Histories of Anthropology Annual, which I co-founded and co-edit. I am active in professional organizations at the national and international level, and received the AAA President's Award in 2002 for my work on the AAA Centennial Commissions.

Geographic Focus