Spirit Cave Man, Cultural Repatriation, and American Sovereignty

Fiona Greenland, University of Virginia

Recent studies in political sociology and comparative and historical sociology have greatly enriched the grounds for theorizing sovereignty. Such studies have prioritized the origins and workings of particular sovereign entities. We know less, however, about sovereignty contests, by which sovereign power is tested and altered. Using the case of the Spirit Cave Man, a 10,000-year-old mummy found in Nevada in 1940, and the Shoshone Tribe's successful battle to win it back from the US Government, I offer a theory of sovereignty contests as the cultural transformation of political structures.

No extended abstract or paper available

 Presented in Session 139. Power and Normativity, Part 2: Sovereignty, Materiality, Empire