Prof. María Elena García Helps Students Dive into Summer Research

Submitted by Amy R. Peloff on

From UW's Perspectives

After two ferry rides and seven hours of driving, Tahoma  Wrubleski was having second thoughts. He was headed to Bella Bella, British  Columbia to attend the Qatuwas Festival, a gathering of Northwest tribes to  mark the end of their annual Tribal Canoe Journey. Event organizers had  invited Wrubleski to attend as a volunteer, but as an outsider he still had misgivings. Then  he remembered his UW professors encouraging him to take risks. “I could have  turned back and headed south,” he says, “but I knew I’d never forgive myself if  I did.”               

Wrubleski, a UW senior majoring in Latin American and  Caribbean studies, ventured to Bella Bella to engage in research as part of the  UW Summer Institute in the Arts and Humanities (SIAH), now in its eleventh  year. Created by the Undergraduate Research Program in collaboration with the  Simpson Center for the Humanities, SIAH is a rigorous nine-week introduction to  research in the arts, humanities, and social sciences. A team of four faculty members  works closely with 20 students as they pursue individual projects around an  annual theme. Past themes have included disease outbreaks, borderlands, and the  media’s impact on the individual. This year’s theme, Native Modernities,  encouraged students to explore issues of indigeneity in the contemporary world.

“We wanted to resist the idea that Indigenous or Native  peoples are somehow anachronistic or out of place in this time, and to rethink  the way that Native peoples are part of everyday politics and culture,”  explains Tony Lucero, associate professor of international studies, who  developed the theme with María Elena García, director of the Comparative  History of Ideas (CHID) program and associate professor of international studies  and CHID. Joining them on the teaching team were Dian Million, associate  professor of American Indian studies and Canadian studies, and Annie Dwyer, CHID  lecturer and a recently minted PhD in the Department of English...

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