Department of Social Anthropology

Sonja Dobroski

Postgraduate students

Sonja Dobroski


Thesis/research: "Mimetic Appropriation: Settler Colonialism and the War Bonnet Replica Market’’

Supervisors: Dr Mattia Fumanti


MSt in Archaeology, (University of Oxford) 2014.

M.A. in American Indian Studies (University of California-Los Angeles) 2012.

B.A. with honours in Anthropology and Native American Studies (University of Montana-Missoula) 2009.

Research Interests: Settler colonialism, hegemony, American Indian studies, material culture, oral history, collective memory, gender and sexuality, critical theory, nationhood, digital humanities.

Doctoral Research: The war bonnet, an eagle feathered headdress from the tribes of the North American Plains, has been a key element in material based mimetism and commodification among non-Native people. Manufacturing war bonnet replicas has become a successful commercial project via major costume companies as well as small businesses, domestically and abroad.  As a source of material fascination for non-Native people, this research traces the complex milieu of identity and object through an examination of the history of the war bonnet into its current place in global culture. Via a multi-site, multi-methodological project the war bonnet replica market is examined from the perspective of both consumers and creators. My research synthesizes a variety of methodologies: ethnohistory, oral history, ethnography both digital and traditional, and archaeological. This project places special emphasis on how objects function in settler colonial contexts as a means of national identity, seeking to integrate settler colonial theory into research on materials and materiality whilst also untangling the object from the settler imagining using oral history and Indigenous testimony.

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