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Entering Paradise, Feeling Solace: A search for affective community and possible American futures through the land of the Chiricahuas, histories of the Apache, and indigenous theory and work

Wilch, Clara (2017) Entering Paradise, Feeling Solace: A search for affective community and possible American futures through the land of the Chiricahuas, histories of the Apache, and indigenous theory and work. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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In this thesis project, I consider the site of the Chiricahua Mountain Range in Arizona in the context of personal history, Apache histories and historiography, and US coloniality. I interrogate and seek to better understand the relations between contemporary Native (particularly Chiricahua Apache) communities, artists and activists, the land of the Americas (particularly of Arizona), and non-Native US histories and policies. Ultimately, I seek insight into the character of decolonial Native land-epistemologies based in the repertoire rather than the archive, and of affective understanding. I also seek to learn a mode of performance theory informed by contemporary Indigenous mobilizations, theories and performance that might contribute to a more active and/or healing understanding or participation in a complex whole of history, American land and identification— for myself, for the vast Non-Native population of the US, and in spaces and communities of Native and Non-Native collaboration and/or confrontation. Methodologically, I incorporate the thinking of Affect Theorist Jonathan Flatley, Performance Theorist Diana Taylor, and Indigenous Studies Theorist Mishuana Goeman. Specific objects of study for this research include histories of the Apache, National Forestry histories of Chiricahua parks, the art collaboration The Edward Curtis Project, and the speeches of Naelyn Pike.
I present a definition for the affective structure of solace as the alleviation of a sense of missing (melancholia) where the mediated realities of late capitalism can be released, and as an attempt to identify the active power of natural spaces to provide affective change and healing. I argue that solace is an affect reciprocally involved with ways of being in and interpreting historical context and contemporary processes of social formation. That is, I believe that the feeling and structure of solace defines a way of behaving as well as a way of thinking and system of valuation for a contemporary community meaningfully inclusive of and made visible by Indigenous advocacy. I consider that solace maps a future in which wilderness, or environments not dominated by human populations and structures, is protected as a necessary human resource in the context of modernity.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Wilch, Clarawilchclara@gmail.comcmw153
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairJackson-Schebetta,
Committee MemberGranshaw,
Date: 15 June 2017
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 12 April 2017
Approval Date: 15 June 2017
Submission Date: 6 May 2017
Access Restriction: 5 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 5 years.
Number of Pages: 53
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Theater Arts
Degree: MS - Master of Science
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Performance Studies, Theater Studies, Indigenous Theory, Affect Theory, Apache, Arizona
Date Deposited: 15 Jun 2017 22:15
Last Modified: 15 Jun 2022 05:15


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