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Lecture on Maori Women Focus of Juniata Event

(Posted January 27, 2003)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Margaret Werry, Woodrow Wilson Postdoctoral Fellow at Penn State University, will give a talk at Juniata College on "Celebrity and Power: How Indigenous Women Made Political History," at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 30 in the Neff Lecture Hall in the von Liebig Center for Science on the Juniata campus.

The event is free and open to the public.

Werry's talk will explore how the British used "living village" displays at various World Fairs and exhibitions from 1869 to before World War I in order to favorably shift public opinion about Britain's colonial holdings. In many of these "native villages," indigenous women from India, New Zealand and Britain's African colonies acted as unoffficial ambassadors for their native country by making crafts and being viewed by visiting crowds.

The lecture focuses on a 1911 World Fair in England in which Maori women from New Zealand lived and worked in a fabricated "native village." As celebrities during these world tours, the women were able to use their time in the spotlight to help shift public opinion in New Zealand to questions of race and rights. Werry will talk about how these displays influenced other public entertainments such as Disneyland, colonial Williamsburg and other types of recreated villages and re-enactments.

Werry has been at Penn State since 2001 and is a resident of New Zealand. Before coming to central Pennsylvania, Werry earned a master's degree and doctoral degree in performance studies from Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill. She was awarded the Woodrow Wilson Postdoctoral Fellowship in Arts and Humanities in 2001 and received a fellowship from the American Association of University Women in 1998.

At Penn State, she has taught courses on Pacific culture as well as performance art.

Werry is a member of the American Anthropological Association, the American Society for Theater Research, the Humanities Association of New Zealand, the Modern Languages Association, the National Communication Association and Performance Studies International.

Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.