Art education as violence : Western European influence upon the Mandan
Timme, Matthew Robert
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This thesis attempts to complicate the solely positive nature most often attributed to art education. This complication occurs through a deconstruction of an episode of art education and subsequent interpretation and analysis through both poststructural literary theory and postcolonial theory. By conducting a close reading of a colonial interaction, between two artists trained in the Western canon and two Native American artists, the study begins to view the process of art education as an act of violence, manifested in the rapid shift in artistic style away from a traditional Mandan technique towards one that reflects a Western European tradition. This violence is in turn viewed as typical in the systematic destruction of the culture of a colonized group, as a means for the West to gain, and maintain, authority through the use, and the controlling, of both knowledge and education. Ultimately the field of art education is described as being central within this struggle, in that ideology is both created and promoted within the field at the expense of supplanting previous cultural knowledge. This process of ideological struggle, while inherently violent, is not automatically negative. The struggle between violence and negativity within the field of art education forms the final section of the study.