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Post-Authenticity: Dilemmas of Identity in the 20th and 21st Centuries

From: Anthropological Quarterly
Volume 86, Number 2, Spring 2013
pp. 481-500 | 10.1353/anq.2013.0018



This article draws upon some recent repatriation claims for Tasmanian human remains in British and European museums to examine debates concerning the authenticity of identity in the 21st century, and to reflect on the construction and representation of Indian identities in the colonial period. I discuss how authenticity can be seen as a process, used instrumentally, rather than a static quality, focusing on how authenticity is asserted, negotiated, performed, or rejected through social and political interaction. The negotiations of the Tasmanian Aboriginal groups for recognition of their status as authentic Aborigines provides a kind of prism or lens through which we can take a fresh view of the competing claims to authorship of India's filmic heritage.