Norse Public Promotion: From "Greenland" to Today

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Norse Public Promotion: From "Greenland" to Today

Postby rudestylee » Thu Jan 13, 2011 6:00 pm

"Norse, Vinland, and Public Promotion: From Erik’s ‘Greenland’ to Modern
Dr. William Fitzhugh, Smithsonian Institute, Washington D.C.
Wednesday, January 19th, 2011
University of Calgary, Tom Oliver Lecture Theatre, Earth Sciences
Building, Room 162, 7:30pm

Abstract: Erik the Red's discovery and settlement of Greenland initiated a
1000-year campaign of public relations that has brought new opportunities, religious beliefs, and a good dollop of public promotion from "green" land to grapes, maps, runestones, towers, and exhibits. This talk illustrates contributions and controversies that have accompanied the Norse Atlantic saga through the ages and why they continue to inspire historians, archaeologists, and the broader public today.Examples will be drawn from a wide variety of resources, including new fieldwork, exhibitions, cruises, and archaeological objects.

Biography- William Fitzhugh graduated from Dartmouth College in 1964 and received his doctorate from Harvard University in anthropology in 1970 and thereafter took a position at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. As director of the Arctic Studies Center since 1988 and Curator in the Department of Anthropology he has spent more than thirty years studying arctic peoples and cultures in northern Canada, Alaska, Siberia, Scandinavia, and Mongolia. Much of his research has focused on the prehistory and paleoecology of northeastern North America and the North American Arctic. Broader aspects feature the evolution of northern
maritime adaptations, circumpolar culture contacts, and cross-cultural
studies and acculturation processes, especially concerning Native European contacts. Since 2000 his research has been divided between the historical and environmental interactions of Basque whalers and the southern Inuit boundary in Labrador, Quebec and Newfoundland and studies of the Bronze Age cultures and ritual art of Mongolia. The latter began as an off-shoot of interest in circumpolar peoples and the origins of Eskimo culture and art. As curator of the National Museum of Natural History's arctic collections, Fitzhugh has produced or participated in several international exhibitions, including Inua: Spirit World of the Bering Sea Eskimos; Crossroads of Continents: Native Cultures of Siberia and Alaska; Ainu: Spirit of a Northern People; Vikings: The North Atlantic Saga; Gifts for the Ancestors: Ancient Ivories of Bering Strait; and Genghis Khan and the Mongol Empire. His public and educational activities include the production of NOVA specials like “Mysteries of the Lost Red Paint People,” “Norse America” and others. He served as Chairman of the Smithsonian's Department of Anthropology (1975-80; 2002-2005), has been an Advisor to the U.S. Arctic Research Commission and holds other administrative and advisory posts.

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