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2014 SIAH

Native Modernities: Histories, Politics, and Arts of Indigeneity

Against ideas that Native people are “out of place” and “out of time” in the modern world, Indigenous peoples of all the continents, from the Arctic to Patagonia and Cascadia to Tanzania, have developed a rich set of strategies, practices and narratives of resistance, governance, and sovereignty. This Summer Institute in the Arts and Humanities invites students to explore rich histories of Native struggles, contemporary (trans)national Indigenous social movements, and repertoires of decolonizing artistic, cultural, and intellectual production. Students will also explore the long-standing double-bind that Indigenous peoples face: their practices are seen as out-of-place (or dangerous) by the rules of settler-societies and “inauthentic” when they employ the logics and languages of dominant markets and states. As Native peoples have contributed to contemporary political, literary, cinematic, economic, scientific, and ecological debates, students from across the arts, humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences are invited to apply. We welcome student projects that explore topics that include (but are not limited to) Indigenous social movements, encounters between European and Native epistemologies (in debates over archaeology, genetics, nature, and religion), contrasting colonial and Native temporalities, and Native artistic production (including literature and the visual, plastic, and performing arts). Student research projects may be explored here.

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Teaching Team

María Elena García

Associate Professor, Comparative History of Ideas and Jackson School of International Studies
Maria Elena Garcia headshot

María Elena García is director of the Comparative History of Ideas program and associate professor in the Jackson School of International Studies at the University of Washington. She received her PhD in Anthropology at Brown University. Her first book, Making Indigenous Citizens (Stanford, 2005) examines Indigenous politics and multicultural activism in Peru. Her work on Indigeneity and interspecies politics in the Andes has appeared in multiple edited volumes and journals. Her second book project, Cuy Politics, explores the lives, deaths, and representations of guinea pigs as one way to think about the cultural politics of contemporary Peru, especially in relation to food, race, and violence.

José Antonio Lucero

Associate Professor, Jackson School of International Studies
Jose Antonio Lucero headshot

José Antonio (Tony) Lucero is the Hanauer Honors Professor and Chair of Latin American and Caribbean Studies in the Jackson School of International Studies. A graduate of Stanford (BA, Political Science) and Princeton (MA/PhD, Politics), he is the author of Struggles of Voice: The Politics of Indigenous Representation in the Andes. He is currently working on research projects on the cultural politics of (1) conflicts between Awajún/Wampis Indigenous communities and the filmmaker Werner Herzog in Peru (2) human rights activism, religion, and Indigenous politics on the Mexico-US border. He teaches courses on Indigenous politics, international political economy, critical theory, social movements, Latin American politics, and borderlands.

Dian Million

Associate Professor, American Indian Studies
Dian Million headshot

Dian Million (Athabascan) is Associate Professor in American Indian Studies and Adjunct Faculty in Canadian Studies at UW, Seattle. She holds a BA in interdisciplinary studies from Fairhaven College, Western Washington University and a MA and Ph.D. in Ethnic Studies from UC Berkeley. Dian’s most recent research explores the politics of mental and physical health with attention to affect in intersection with race, class, and gender in Indian Country. She is the author of Therapeutic Nations: Healing in an Age of Indigenous Human Rights (University of Arizona Press, Critical Issues in Indigenous Studies Series, 2013) as well as numerous articles, chapters, and poems. Therapeutic Nations is a discussion of trauma as a political narrative in the struggle for Indigenous self-determination in an era of global neoliberalism. She teaches courses on Indigenous politics, literature, and social issues.

Annie Dwyer

Lecturer in CHID, Ph.D. in English
Annie Dwyer headshot

Annie Dwyer received her Ph.D. in English at the University of Washington. She studies nineteenth and early twentieth century American literature and culture, focusing on the intersections among material practices involving animals, cultural ideas of animality, and the constructions of racial, gender, and sexual difference. Her dissertation project, The Modern Animal, explores how shifts in U.S. racial formation are bound up with emergences in human-animal relationships. She has collaborated on a number of critical pedagogy projects, including the Simpson Center for the Humanities graduate student interest group Queer Pedagogical Performance. She has also been teaching fellow in the Project for Interdisciplinary Pedagogy Program at UW Bothell.

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Below are the participants in the 2014 University of Washington Summer Institute in the Arts and Humanities:

Elise Butterfield

Majors: International Studies, Dance: Creative Studies

As a dancer and an international studies major, I am interested in the layered and inextricable nature of physical and mental experiences and knowledge. This summer I hope to explore dance—as an embodied experience and a way of transmitting history—in indigenous communities. I anticipate using this research as a stepping-stone to challenge traditional ways of knowing in the academic institution. Outside of the classroom and library I can often be found playing, teaching, photographing, or reading—most often in the dance studio or outside in the sun.

Lauren Cambronero

Major: Political Science

As a senior majoring in Political Science, I am most fascinated with the political and legal framework within Latin America. I was drawn to the SIAH for its opportunities in allowing me to personally challenge myself academically while giving me an interdisciplinary approach to a topic that I found interesting. In regards to the theme of native modernity, I intend to explore and understand the relationship between the state and the Mapuche, an indigenous group in Chile who protest for recognition and retaining their land which has cultural significance. Outside of my busy schedule, I enjoy exploring the city, playing volleyball, and trying out exotic foods and restaurants.

Yuri Cortez

Majors: Political Science, Latin American & Caribbean Studies
Minor: Comparative History of Ideas

I have officially finished my third year of college and first year as a transfer student at the UW. It was tough to transition into much larger university and classroom size however through my perseverance I was able to finish strong. After only my first quarter at UW, I discovered my passion for Latin America and I was convinced that I had to embed it into my major somehow. As a result, I declared to double major in Political Science and Latin American & Caribbean Studies with a minor in Comparative History of Ideas. I am driven to learn about the different indigenous social movements in Latin America, race dynamics, culture and politics. Through SIAH I plan to further focus my research studies involving indigenous social movements in Latin America. I am excited to focus on the evolution of at least two social indigenous movements in Latin America to further understand the process undergone to reach sovereignty in places that have historically been very racially segregated. Whenever I am not studying, working or involved in campus organizations, I enjoy cooking, baking, exercising and reading for pleasure. In addition, I am fond of long walks, sightseeing and traveling, learning about different cultures and traditions.

Iman Farah

Major: International Studies
Minors: Global Health, African Studies

I am a rising third year at the UW in the Jackson School of International Studies with a minor in Global Health and African Studies. This year’s research focus is aligned with my academic interests as a burgeoning scholar of post-colonialism and indigenous identity and I look forward to working with this year’s cohort of students and faculty in my research. My academic interests include education policy, human rights law and African history. Outside of academics, I’m an avid reader and can be found browsing the “Good Reads” section at Odegaard Library; I also enjoy exploring the city of Seattle, finding quirky coffee shops and writing.

Tiarra Fentress

Majors: American Ethnic Studies, Law, Economics, Public Policy

I am a current student majoring in American Ethnic Studies and Law, Economics and Public Policy. My studies contribute to my passion of becoming a holistic advocate for underrepresented student populations. The skills I gain in this research institute will help me take a deeper look into cultural preservation in intellectual productions and the associations of colonizing practices with trauma, self-efficacy and the psyche of marginalized communities. I am grateful for the opportunity to participate in SIAH and work with a cohort of similarly driven students and faculty!

Melissa Fry

Major: American Indian Studies

I grew up on the Colville reservation in Omak, Washington. It is an honor to spend my final quarter as an undergraduate with all these amazing scholars in this year’s Summer Institute in the Arts & Humanities. I hope to use this experience to explore the ways in which Native epistemologies could enhance our current educational structure. I look forward to continuing my research as I apply for Masters Programs this fall. Ultimately, I hope to teach Indigenous issues at the university level.

Danielle Gintz

Major: English

I am currently entering into my senior year at UW as an English major, with hopes of pursuing intellectually stimulating and emotionally shattering continued research at graduate school. My interests align themselves with literary theory, particularly post-structuralism at the moment, and varying philosophies of time in relation to literature and its subsequent impact on a cultures beliefs, development, etc. In my project for the Simpson Center, I will be looking at the impact of the transcription of indigenous oral narratives into concrete texts, specifically those of the Native American peoples, and the stemming effect that this shift from a fluid, malleable temporality to a linear, impenetrable one had on their cultural development during the colonial era. Outside of my studies I enjoy/begrudge myself with writing poetry and short fiction, counting change for overpriced lattes, and driving home to see my parents.

Molly Gunther

Major: American Indian Studies

As I continue my education journey I have learned that if I know just one thing, it is that there is so much more out there to know. There is so much more for me to learn and know through making meaningful connections with people and their cultures and communities. I have always been in love with the earth and everything on it and I believe in a better future. I am impassioned by struggle, and my hope that it’s existence is unnecessary, and knowing that one person can create meaningful change if they put their mind to it. This summer I hope to gain more insight into both research methodologies and making meaningful collaborative relationships because they are catalysts for creating good and meaningful social change. I know I will gain so much knowledge and hopefully understand more about the world and alternative ways of living after this summer, and I hope to use that knowledge to help others and the earth. My summer reading list is extensive and I hope to spend my summer making a dent in that as well as doing physical activities such as yoga and hiking which I love! While I’m not busy studying that is….

Cassie Halls

Major: Comparative History of Ideas

I am where I am today because of those who have inspired me in my life. Whether these mentors were transitory or lasting, I eagerly grasped onto the ways they broadened my horizons. I am a junior pursuing a degree in Comparative History of Ideas. I have been focusing my studies on ethnobiology because it combines my passion for learning about the intersections of culture, people, and the environment. I want to learn so that I can encourage others to expand their own understandings about the world.

Nejat Kedir

Majors: Global Studies and American Ethnic Studies

I am a rising senior at UW Bothell majoring in Global Studies and American Ethnic Studies. It’s important for me to surrounding myself with women who push boundaries in order to undermine patriarchy from everyday life. I am passionate about giving women the platform to be leaders and own our experiences. I am an activist and enjoy working with youth. I have been a Global Leadership Alumni Fellow at One World Now! This has exposed me to doing work on international education and social justice work for underserved communities in the Seattle area. I enjoy meditating, writing, reading and running.

John Bo McClung

Majors: Medical Anthropology, Global Health
Minors: Philosophy of Values and Ethics, Environmental Studies

I am starting my third year at the UW completing the Medical Anthropology and Global Health track with a minor in Philosophy of Values and Ethics and a second minor in Environmental Studies. My primary work is an undergraduate thesis based on ongoing ethnographic participant involvement in the Filipino martial arts community. This work ties together my interests in ethno archaeology, epistemologies of the body and health, and post-colonial analysis with the most important factor being direct involvement with my community.

Dandi Meng

Major: English
Minors: Art History, Math

I will be starting my final year of undergrad next fall and completing my English major and minors in Art History and Math. Once, in middle school, I had to write a response to the question “Who are you?” and after much hemming and hawing, I came up with the following sentence: “I am a unique fusion of bouncing ideas currently trapped by physical boundaries.” I still have no idea what that actually means, but it seems in many important ways to be at odds with my current personal and academic aspiration of not being a disembodied head, which is a) intellectually irresponsible and b) creepy. Things I do to relax and/or procrastinate include writing poems, attempting crafty projects, cooking far too much food for one person to eat, thinking of puns and metaphors, and reading all sorts of stuff. And also eating all of the aforementioned “too much” food.

Gia-Quan Thi Anna Nguyen

Majors: History, Political Science
Minor: Diversity

I am currently entering my third and final year as an undergraduate student at the University of Washington. I am double majoring in History and Political Science, as well as pursuing the Diversity minor. During my time as a Fellow of the Summer Institute, I hope to explore how the government constructed rhetoric of “authenticity” can create legal identities for indigenous communities within the dominant state. As well as how indigenous social movements, in turn, have historically challenged, reconstructed, or rejected the dichotic rhetoric of “authenticity”/”inauthenticity” that have been forced upon them by the dominate settler society and government. Outside of studying, I love reading, visiting museums, binging TV shows on Netflix, and hanging out with friends.

Rachael Nickerson

Majors: Comparative History of Ideas, Environmental Science – Wildlife

I am currently a CHID and Environmental Science-Wildlife major at the University of Washington. Thrilled to have this opportunity, this summer I hope to explore methodologies of decolonization, indigenous social movements, and the ways in which these social movements may inform/be put in conversation with environmental movements, postcolonial animal studies, and wildlife conservation. Outside of school I spend my time studying wildlife as a certified Cyber Tracker, or improvising midnight meals and stories with my loved ones.

Joanna Sanchez

Major: Comparative History of Ideas

If I were to describe the person I have become, one word would suffice: passionate. I have a passion for cooking traditional Mexican food, familia, culture, academics, serving my different communities and of course learning. A love of learning has sprouted from trying to learn a second language, learning to read, learning to write and has continued to flourish even now as an undergraduate. My interest in this year’s Summer Institute has derived from this passion for learning and specifically from learning how indigenous societies flourish in contemporary times. I want to take what I have learned from both my majors, Anthropology and Comparative History of Ideas, and apply the tools and techniques to bring forth further understandings on this topic. I am ecstatic to participate in SIAH and not only work with great staff and students but enhance another passion of mine, as well as grow as a student and an individual.

Alison Schmidt

Major: Environmental Studies

I will be graduating from UW Bothell next fall. The interdependent connection between the environment and people is what interests me. I look forward to exploring more about how art and activism influence and support each other to bring awareness to environmental and human rights issues, which often are one in the same. As the environment is threatened, degraded, and destroyed so are the people who live and depend on those places. I want to ask more questions about how the changing ecology is affecting the culture of Indigenous people. I will be traveling to Peru at the end of August for an Exploration Seminar (study abroad) for three weeks. I know what I learn over the course of this program will influence and shape my experience there. I enjoy hiking, biking, kayaking, camping, and doing extreme adrenaline activities like skydiving and repelling.

Jennifer Smith

Majors: History, American Indian Studies

Currently, I am a junior at the University of Washington majoring in History and American Indian studies. Thus far, my focus has been on American Indian history and the ever-changing perception of what it means to be indigenous. Through my college experience, I have learned the value of open mindedness and the enlightenment that can come from listening to ideas and perceptions outside of your own. I am looking forward to sharing and exchanging ideas with my SIAH peers and faculty, as well as strengthening my research skills. Over the summer, I hope to explore how the continuation and revival of ancestral practices and traditions have strengthened indigenous identity and resulted in healthier communities in the Puget Sound region. When I am not totally engrossed in my studies, I enjoy being a wife and mother of three children (ages 16, 10, and 7), as well as reading, and playing with my horse.

Tahoma Wrubleski

Major: Latin American Studies
Minor: Comparative History of Ideas

For the past four years I have found my studies continually coming back to the indigenous movements that have become so visible in Latin America over the past few decades. While the histories and epistemologies of Native peoples fascinate me, I am also interested in how indigenous peoples exist and engage in the present. My motivation to learn more about Native modernity comes partly from a personal desire to expand my understanding of the world around me. Growing up in the San Juan Islands I heard many of the Coast Salish peoples’ stories and have since felt a growing inspiration and responsibility to learn more about the lives of the people whose land has sustained and nourished me. It is my hope that by developing a deeper understanding myself, I will be able to strengthen the voices of Native peoples who have so much to contribute to the world.

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