CC recently approved a new thematic minor in Indigenous Studies. Students have expressed a strong desire for this minor, and the college has an active group of students, faculty, and staff with current and growing connections to First Nation communities in North America who helped bring the proposal to fruition.
“An Indigenous Studies thematic minor sends a message to everyone on campus, in our larger community, and throughout academe that we value and need Indigenous perspectives alongside a full picture of the land’s history to understand and accept our role as global citizens,” notes the proposal.
The interdisciplinary minor also addresses the college’s mission and initiatives toward diversity and inclusion by supporting Indigenous presence and awareness on campus. CC has offered various courses over the decades that have related to the collective story of Indigenous traditions, narratives, experiences, and arts, but has not had a coherently designed program linking the different offerings. It wasn’t until Spring 2015 that the effort gained traction.
Among the reasons for the proposal’s success: the hiring of new faculty members who can help support and sustain the program.
“The Indigenous Studies thematic minor has been long in the making,” says Assistant Professor of English Natanya Ann Pulley, who is Diné (Navajo). “For me, this doesn’t just mean it’s been a topic of discussion or an idea for a program for a long time. But for many Indigenous people and for those committed to Indigenous knowledge, our learning experiences are shaped by the very land we stand upon today.”
Faculty from a number of disciplines including Anthropology; Race, Ethnicity, and Migration Studies; Southwest Studies; History; Music; and Mathematics and Computer Science; as well as staff from the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College also contributed in developing the proposal.
The Common Read for the incoming Class of 2022 is “Frankenstein” (or “The Modern Prometheus”) by Mary Shelley. This year marks the 200th anniversary of the book’s publication, a seminal interdisciplinary work that has influenced millions of people across the globe. The book was chosen for its capacity to spark dialogue around issues of diversity, inclusion, and equity, and the themes of the text remain relevant to contemporary cultural debates about issues ranging from biomedical technologies and the ethical questions they raise to misperceptions and misrepresentations of the Other and their impact on a shared humanity.
Speaking at New Student Orientation is David Guston, the lead editor of the recent MIT Press edition of the book “Frankenstein: Annotated for Scientists, Engineers, and Creators of All Kinds,” which was distributed to incoming students during the summer.