A Letter from 2019-2020 CLIP Fellows, Lydia Heberling and Sebastián López Vergara

Submitted by Alexandra Erin Furness on

We’re Lydia Heberling and Sebastián López Vergara and we’re both thrilled to be the CLIP fellows for next year!

Lydia: My home department is English and my dissertation focuses on aesthetic and formal innovations in American Indian and Pacific Indigenous literatures, with an emphasis on the literatures and arts of California Indigenous peoples. I also dabble in the world of critical surf studies, where I focus on the intersection of Indigenous and feminist studies in surf culture. I am particularly looking forward to incorporating some of the surfing scholarship into my teaching, as surfing certainly intersects with topics related to Indigeneity, empire, and diaspora. 

I’m so excited to be joining a department where collaboration as a teaching and research practice is encouraged. This is actually not my first co-teaching experience in CHID; I spent last summer co-teaching in Norway with Sámi scholar Troy Storfjell for the CHID and AIS study abroad program, and it was incredible to practice combining our areas of expertise with experiential learning in order to teach students about Indigenous cultures and worldviews. I look forward to expanding this kind of collaborative teaching experience working with Sebastián, whom I have known and worked closely with since 2015.

Sebastián: My home department is Comparative Literature, Cinema and Media. My dissertation focuses on the various traditions of Indigenous struggle against colonialism, racialization, and capitalism in modern Latin America, particularly Chile. I’m also very interested in discussions and activisms against human caging and I regularly volunteer at the Monroe Correctional Complex with University Beyond Bars.  Like Lydia, I also had a previous experience teaching in CHID. I taught Tony Lucero’s “The Wire as Theory” in Summer 2018. It was one of the highlights of my teaching as a graduate student at the UW. So I’m very much looking forward to engaging with CHID students in the classroom as well as, now, collaborating with Lydia. 

When we saw the call for applications for next year’s CLIP theme, “Indigeneity, Empire, and Diaspora,” we knew that not only were we were well-positioned for this topic but that it would be an incredible opportunity to expand our working relationship as Indigenous Studies scholars. We first met in a course on feminisms taught by Chandan Reddy in 2015, but truly became friends and colleagues through our participation in the Summer Institute on Global Indigeneities in the summer of 2017. We have since collaborated on curriculum development for the English department’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Collaboration grant and in developing the Simpson Center-funded Indigenous Studies graduate research cluster; we also informally support each other in our writing.

We are both incredibly grateful for the opportunity to teach courses grounded in and centered on Indigenous texts, worldviews, and methodologies. As graduate students we are aware that this is a rare chance to develop and implement undergraduate courses that reimagine higher education from non-Western perspectives. We look forward to working with a broad range of texts and technologies, and will keep you updated as to how you can follow us on our journey through the fellowship next year.