Smithsonian Folklife Festival 2007 and the Presentation of Cultural Diversity in America
Duong, Anh Hong
Sies, Mary Corbin
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This thesis examines the way in which "cultural diversity" in America was constructed and presented at the 2007 Smithsonian Folklife Festival (SFF) and how American Studies scholars and the museum professionals assess the presentation of diversity at the SFF. I examine the unique museum genre of the SFF and the ways in which the folklore cultures are featured and the grassroots participants are self represented at the Festival. I argue that the Festival has created a civic and social space for cultural diversity in America to be represented and dialogued. I use my double cultural traditions as an outsider from Vietnam and an insider in an American Studies graduate program to provide perspective on the conceptualizations of "cultural diversity" undertaken by Smithsonian Institution museum professionals and those of American Studies scholars. I analyze their thoughts about the presentation of diversity at the SFF and compare the latter with treatments of cultural diversity in American Studies approaches in the United States.