• 'Ideal Vehicles': Medallic Circuitry in Nineteenth-Century Portraits of Native Americans

      Moore, Sarah J.; Gabrielsen, Natalia Marie; Moore, Sarah J.; Busbea, Larry D.; Ivey, Paul E. (The University of Arizona., 2017)
      I examine the mobility and circulation of peace medals featured in nineteenth-century portraiture of Native Americans through the lens of object-oriented ontology. This research strives to establish a different perspective for considering nineteenth-century portraiture of Native Americans by situating the works through the framework of materiality and circulation. By applying this approach to a series of portraits of Native Americans with peace medals, my research seeks to define issues of movement and power within the transient, fluctuating space of the nineteenth-century American frontier. To accomplish this, I trace the production and distribution of peace medals within paintings widely viewed at the time, as well as the movement of groups and individuals involved with transporting and receiving the medals. Tracking these objects and their mechanisms of movement within the visual culture of the nineteenth century, indicating not only the thing itself but also its processes of production and movement, reveals a dimension of specificity to pictorial narratives, even as the exhibited artworks promoted generalized ideals regarding Indian policy through their circulation. I follow the peace medals’ logistics of production and transit to underscore issues of value and currency on the American frontier, highlighting the ways in which peace medals and the artwork depicting them participated in narratives of Native displacement.