Minnesota local history: a visual and personal narrative of home

Peckels, Alesha Jeanette (2008) Minnesota local history: a visual and personal narrative of home. Masters (Research) thesis, James Cook University.

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Abstract

This thesis explores a visual and personal narrative of home in the State of Minnesota. It introduces and analyses methods of recording an accurate historic remembrance of place on both personal and formal levels. As the aim of this thesis is to provide a special inside-view of Minnesota social history, private narratives and imagery have been incorporated to demonstrate how two extended families of settlers embrace objects and local art.

The collection of folklore has been filtered throughout text in all chapters, and each section includes family introductions in order to establish place and the participant's frame of mind during the recorded narrative sessions. To validate local historic facts provided in interview and personal printed matter (ancestral origins), background research on both place and family was carried out prior to the conduction of interview sessions. A brief overview of history in the State of Minnesota is described in Chapter One and provided the author with motives as to what driving force resulted in the interviewed families' migration to Minnesota as new settlers during the late 1800s.

Chapter Two and subsequent chapters explore Minnesota's social history (various topics) through the eyes of one generation of family members during the 1950s – 1980s. Chapter Two provides the reader with a personal view of the Minneapolis metroarea community and family involvement in the Catholic Church and school. This chapter establishes home in a community and leads into Chapter Three and its theory; Chapter Three demonstrates how the Minnesotan families create an intimate space in the home. Photographs, art work and cooking recipes are samples of the creative approach utilised in retaining and sharing this family’s past with readers. Both families' home and social life are similar but are in no way exactly the same (it must be said that these families are related through marriage).

Chapters Four and Five explore a personal connection to place through activities and imagery. Chapter Four follows the family along the Mississippi River and connects fishing folklore to a series of photographs spanning fifty years. Chapter Five explores a portion the Wild Rice River which flows through the family farm in Northern Minnesota. And finally, Chapters Six and Seven take a step further from the previous (Chapters Four and Five) and relate family folklore to specific objects utilised during special family outings and activities (fishing and hunting and winter festivities).

In conjunction with chapter narratives and theory, numerous personal photographs and art works were also incorporated. The images enrich this unique personal account of social history in Minnesota and break traditional research boundaries; the personal history in this thesis can be experienced without words as well as in a formal textual setting. A Masters of Creative Arts is at the core of this thesis, and its work, both by family and the author, are experienced in a large individual format alongside the body of text. Chapter Eight discusses the importance of art work throughout the thesis and delves into a particular interpretation of this thesis's goal: to experience a personal and phenomenological Minnesota.

Item ID: 31326
Item Type: Thesis (Masters (Research))
Keywords: Minnesota; connection to place; personal histories; social history; folklore
Date Deposited: 25 Nov 2014 04:30
FoR Codes: 16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1601 Anthropology > 160104 Social and Cultural Anthropology @ 50%
16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1699 Other Studies in Human Society > 169999 Studies in Human Society not elsewhere classified @ 50%
SEO Codes: 95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9599 Other Cultural Understanding > 959999 Cultural Understanding not elsewhere classified @ 50%
97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970120 Expanding Knowledge in Language, Communication and Culture @ 50%
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