25 color plates
5 1/2 x 8 3/8
In North America, where the sociocultural history and national mythologies of the United States and Canada are especially fertile ground for the invention of identities both fake and “real,” impostor narratives of all kinds abound. From ethnic impersonation to racial passing, going native, and confidence tricks, when it is discovered, imposture incites fascination and scandal—yet it also showcases how identities are made. The essays in this book examine both real and fictional renditions of North American imposture, placing these narratives in historical context even as they shed light on larger currents such as identity as performance and the cultural value attributed to authenticity in Western societies. From the narrator of colonial travelogues to postmodernist author and narrator voices, and from the urban con game to trickster shamanism, fake identities are shown to be a negative lens through which the performance of self is revealed.