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Shannon Speed, Director

Dissertation Fellowship Mellon Sawyer Seminar Series “Territorial Roots and Diasporic Routes: Native American and Indigenous Cultural Politics in the Americas”

Posted: March 21, 2014

Dissertation Fellowship Mellon Sawyer Seminar Series

“Territorial Roots and Diasporic Routes: 

Native American and Indigenous Cultural Politics in the Americas”

The University of Texas at Austin

Native American and Indigenous Studies (NAIS) and the Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies (LLILAS) invite UT Austin and UT affiliated PhD candidates to apply for a one-year Dissertation Fellowship with the Mellon Sawyer Seminar Series on “Territorial Roots and Diasporic Routes: Native American and Indigenous Cultural Politics in the Americas” (description follows). 

The successful candidates will show interest in dialogue and critical thought across North-South divides in indigenous studies, and should be working on a dissertation project in the field. Applicants must be PhD candidates with a clear and demonstrable progress in their dissertation writing process. Disciplinary specialization is open. The selected candidates will be expected to participate in the bi-weekly Sawyer Seminar series, which will bring together UT faculty across schools and will draw indigenous scholars from throughout the hemisphere during academic year 2014-2015. The dissertation fellows will be located either in NAIS or LLILAS, depending on primary research focus. Appointment will begin September 1, 2014, and will provide a stipend, plus standard benefits. To apply, please send a one-page letter of application, dissertation abstract, and a letter from your dissertation supervisor describing at what stage of the dissertation research and writing you are. All materials should be sent in pdf format to Professor Luis Cárcamo-Huechante at: carcamohuechante@austin.utexas.edu.  All materials must be received by April 11, 2014, to be considered.

Description of the Sawyer Seminar Series:

The seminar series will explore the relationship between indigenous territory and diaspora in the Americas.  We depart from the understanding that, while there is an assumed incompatibility between “indigenous” (original to a place) and “diaspora” (dislocated from an original space), this dichotomy obscures the lived experiences of indigenous peoples, who have been in movement for various reasons, including population pressures, forced relocation, war, territorial dispossession, and “voluntary” labor migration (to name just a few).  While these processes have generated tensions in relation to place-based identities and claims to territorial homelands, indigenous peoples have also creatively engaged these tensions, refashioning their sense of belonging, adapting cultural resources to new conditions, reframing claims to rights, and generating new forms of political organization. This territory-diaspora relationship provides the first axis of dialogue for the Seminar.  The second axis is geographic:  although joined by common histories of colonial oppression and a foundational relationship to the earth, and unified by many cultural-political affinities, indigenous peoples of North and South also have substantively divergent experiences. While in the past these differences have generated obstacles to efforts of hemispheric organization and of comparative analysis, some of the most exciting emergent trends in indigenous studies directly engage, rather than avoid, these tensions.  This Seminar will encompass cases from both North and South in the realms of language, identity, cultural production, and political organization.  These discussions will seek understandings that bridge North-South differences and illuminate the ways indigenous communities are negotiating the complexities of the territory-diaspora crossroad throughout the hemisphere.

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