Universiteit Leiden

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PhD project

White Skin, Savage Masks: Specters of Native Americans and the Revisiting of History

How to related figures of savages to conceptions of history?

2012 - 2016
Frans Willem Korsten
China Scholarship Council

This project aims to study how different notions of history and different historical chapters interpenetrate and haunt each other through the transgressive figure of the savage (Native Americans), who acts as a specter (i.e. never directly, but only through Western characters in Indian “masks”). 

This research aims to find how figures of savages can be related to our conceptions of history. It plans to take Lord of the Flies, Brave New World and Inglourious Basterds as case studies. In all these three case studies, different notions of history are played out and at the same time, the figure of the savage is projected through tropes of the Native American as savage (either noble or ignoble). This research will focus particularly on the ways the West has constructed figure of the Native American as savage and how it is related to different notions of history. 

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