In Europe, Indian hobbyism, or Indianism, has developed out of a strong fascination with Native American life in the 18th and 19th centuries. Indian hobbyists dress in homemade replicas of clothing, craft museum-quality replicas of artifacts, meet in fields dotted with teepees and re-enact aspects of the North American Indian lifestyle, using ethgraphies, travel diaries, and museum collections as resources. Grounded in fieldwork set among networks of Indian hobbyists in Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, and the Czech Republic, this ethgraphy analyzes this contemporary practice of serious leisure with respect to the general human desire for play, metaphor, and allusion. It provides insights into the increasing popularity of re-enactment practices as they relate to a deeper understanding of human perception, imagination, and creativity.
Petra Tjitske Kalshoven is a Lecturer in Social Anthropology at the University of Manchester. She taught has taught in McGill University's interdisciplinary Arts Legacy program and was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Aberdeen from 2007-09. Her research focuses on skilled manifestations of human curiosity, and her work on replicas and imitation ties into a more general interest in the relations between people, their things, and the landscapes with which they engage, identify, or take issue.