restricted access Beyond Tarzan and National Geographic : The Politics and Poetics of Presenting African Diasporic Cultures on the Mall

At the Festival of American Folklife, presenters are key mediators between culture bearers and festival visitors, fostering, in theory, dialogic cultural exchange. Examining the African Immigrant Folklife Program (1997), I evaluate the successes and failures of the presenter's position and the specific challenges of presenting African diasporic cultures at the festival. This first scholarly investigation of this key role concludes that many visitors overlook the presenters as they visually consume the sights on the Mall.