Shelburne Museum hosts an afternoon of programming exploring the complex history of the American West, Buffalo Bill, and the myth of the cowboy through diverse lenses of race, ethnicity, and alternative perspectives in popular culture.
1 – 2 p.m. The American Indian Perspective: Philip J. Deloria, Professor of History at Harvard University, focuses on the social, cultural, and political histories of the relations among American Indian peoples and the United States, as well as the comparative and connective histories of indigenous peoples in a global context.
2:15 – 3:30 p.m. Buffalo Bill on Screen and the Evolution of the Western Genre: Film historian Oksana Dykyj, Head of Visual Media Resources, Concordia University, Montreal, will screen film clips and lead a discussion on the portrayal of Buffalo Bill in film, including the 1976 Robert Altman film, Buffalo Bill and the Indians or Sitting Bull’s History Lesson.
3:30 – 3:45 p.m. Break
3:45 – 4:30 p.m. Gallery Tour of Playing Cowboy: Join Museum curator, Kory Rogers, as he leads an engaging and insightful look at this special exhibition.
4:30 – 6:30 p.m. Snacks and cash bar reception
5 – 6:30 p.m. An Evening with Dom Flemons, the American Songster: The symposium concludes with Grammy Award-winning Americana musician, singer-songwriter, and slam poet, Dom Flemons, who performs work from his newest album, Dom Flemons presents Black Cowboys, released through Smithsonian Folkways. Flemons pays tribute to the music, culture, and complex history of the West.
Philip J. Deloria is Professor of History at Harvard University, where his research and teaching focus on the social, cultural, and political histories of the relations among American Indian peoples and the United States, as well as the comparative and connective histories of indigenous peoples in a global context. Deloria is a trustee of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian, where he chairs the Repatriation Committee. He is former president of the American Studies Association, an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the recipient of numerous prizes and recognitions. His acclaimed publications include Playing Indian (1998), which traces the tradition of white “Indian play” from the Boston Tea Party to the New Age movement, and Indians in Unexpected Places (2004) which examines the ideologies surrounding Indian people in the early 20th century and the ways Native Americans challenged them through sports, travel, automobility, and film and musical performance.
The Head of Moving Image Collections in the Faculty of Fine Arts at Concordia University since 1991, Oksana Dykyj has been a director of the Board of the Association of Moving Image Archivists and sat on the editorial Board of its journal The Moving Image. Dykyj has presented and published work on copyright implications for use of media in the classroom, moving image preservation in academic media centers, and the interconnectivity of academic and archival institutions. The focus of her current research revolves around the relationship between film and art in the first third of the 20th century and she is currently writing on the unknown early life of Hollywood actress Norma Shearer. She received her graduate degrees from New York University and McGill University.
Grammy Award-winning Dom Flemons’ music covers nearly 100 years of American folklore, ballads, and tunes. Flemons is a music scholar, historian, record collector, and multi-instrumentalist—expert on the banjo, fife, guitar, harmonica, percussion, quills, and rhythm bones. Co-founder of the Carolina Chocolate Drops, Flemons has performed to packed houses throughout the world in his solo career and with leading musicians such as Old Crow Medicine Show, Taj Mahal, Guy Davis, Mike Seeger, Joe Thompson, Martin Simpson and Boo Hanks. In 2018, Flemons released his fourth solo album titled Dom Flemons presents Black Cowboys on Grammy Award-winning record label Smithsonian Folkways.
As curator at Shelburne Museum, Kory Rogers has a focus on design arts with an area of specialization in circus and decoys. His recent publications and exhibitions include: Birds of a Feather: Wildfowl Decoys at Shelburne Museum; Wild Spaces, Open Seasons: Hunting and Fishing in American Art; Shelburne Museum’s Circus Collection; The American Circus (Bard Graduate Center for Studies in the Decorative Arts, Design & Culture); Shaker Design: Out of This World; and the current special exhibition, Playing Cowboy.