Ethnic Studies is thrilled to welcome Dr. Lani Teves. She received her Ph.D., from the Program of American Culture at the University of Michigan in 2012, she held a Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of California, Berkeley from 2012-2013. Her research areas include Native Pacific Cultural Studies, Native American and Indigenous Studies; Decolonization in the Pacific; Comparative Indigeneity; Native and Women of Color Feminisms; Queer of Color Critique; Queer Indigeneity; Sovereignty; Performance Studies; Indigenous Theory. She is currently working on her manuscript, Defiant Indigeneity: Kānaka Maoli Performance and the Politics of Aloha.
Q. Could you share a little about your background and how/why you were driven to academia.
I grew up in Hawai’i across the street from Pearl Harbor, so I understood from early on the power of the twin industries of the military and tourism in Hawai’i. I also grew up in a time when the modern Hawaiian sovereignty movement became very prominent. Many of the leaders of that movement were scholars and activists whose books, speeches, and public performances really inspired me to question what was going on in Hawai’i. I began to wonder, how does someone become a professor?
I was also very active in music and performing. As I got more involved in the local music scene I began to make the connection between the pressures of Hawaiian indigeneity and the constraints it puts on expression and creativity. When I went to community college, Ethnic Studies and Women’s Studies courses really opened up my world and gave me the space to think about these things and to understand how all culture is political. Luckily, professors (in Ethnic Studies!) encouraged me and eventually helped me go to graduate school in Michigan. Haunani-Kay Trask told me that if I didn’t go, she’d beat me up! So, I went and it was the best thing I ever did. I always associated academia with activism and nurturing future generations of rabble-rousers, so here I am!
Q. Could you describe your research and how you got involved/interested in it?
My research is essentially about how indigeneity is performed. I use performance as a framework to analyze how all identities are imposed and maintained, imagined and real. I look specifically at how Native Hawaiian identity is attached to the Hawaiian concept of “aloha” and how it is used to discipline Native Hawaiians into docile Natives in the service of tourism and ongoing occupation. Rather than dismiss Hawaiian investments in “aloha” as being colonized or duped, I examine how Native Hawaiians retain aloha and rearticulate it to center community connectedness and belonging in unexpected places—such as in a freestyle battle or during a drag performance. My manuscript explores these spaces and other kinds of Hawaiian cultural productions, like ghost tours, plays, and short stories. I became interested in these different sites of performance because of my own experiences performing in punk bands and hanging around the non-Hawaiian music scene in Hawai’i when I was younger. These overlooked spaces got me questioning how “Hawaiianness” and “Nativeness” in general is policed by the State and within our own communities.
Q. What are you most looking forward to in terms of your new career here at the UO, and life in Eugene?
I’m really looking forward to building connections between Native Studies and Pacific Islander issues. I want to expose students to a different story about indigeneity, one that is thriving, complex, and global. The fact that the department has a Native Studies minor really speaks to how indigenous issues are not an afterthought here. So, I’m just elated to be part of this vibrant department with faculty that are intellectually engaged and committed to students. I feel very lucky to be in such a welcoming department and I’m excited to contribute to the intellectual life on campus. Off campus, I am hoping to connect with the surrounding communities of color and increase discussions of race and indigeneity in Eugene.
UO Ethnic Studies alumni are playing leadership roles in social justice organizations, government, and education, putting the principles of ethnic studies into practice. On November 15, 2013, seven distinguished ES alumni returned to campus to participate in a panel titled “Will Work for Justice: ES Alumni in Social Justice Careers.” The panel drew current students and alumni as well as participants from other Oregon campuses who were in Eugene to attend the annual Oregon Students of Color Conference at the UO that weekend.
Panelists discussed the many ways that ethnic studies prepared them to work as organizers, educators, trainers, researchers and advocates, and shared advice with current students about pursing opportunities to join this vibrant field. The panelists included:
ITON UDOSENATA, Principal, Cottage Grove (OR) High School, (ES ’03)–A graduate of North Eugene High School, Iton worked as a teacher and administrator at Willamette High School and in the Springfield School District before being named principal of Cottage Grove High School in 2013.
DIEGO HERNANDEZ, Board of Directors, Reynolds School District, (ES ’10)–Recently elected to a four-year term to the Board of Directors of the Reynolds School District in Portland (his high school alma mater), Diego was also recently named co-director of the Momentum Alliance in Portland.
CARINA MILLER, Former Service Coordinator at Children’s Protective Services for Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, (ES ’11)–Carina handled Assisted Guardianship and child abuse and neglect cases and ran the Independent Living Program for the federally recognized Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs (OR).
JEN LLERAS, Trainer and Organizer, Western States Center (ES ’08)–Jen collaborates with dozens of community-based organizations across the Northwest to build a progressive movement for social, economic, racial and environmental justice.
KYLE WEISMANN-YEE, Project Assistant, McKenzie River Gathering Foundation, (ES ’08)–Kyle works with Oregon’s leading progressive foundation on fundraising, grantmaking, communications, and office management, helping to direct a half-million dollars in grants to community based organizations every year.
KHANH LE, Strategic Alliances Coordinator, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), Portland. (ES ’06)–Khanh works with one of the nation’s leading public employee unions to build long-term partnerships between union members and community-based organizations.
NATE GULLEY, Civic Engagement Coordinator, Oregon Voice, (ES ’08)–Nate builds the political engagement capacities of community and advocacy organizations across the state, with a particular emphasis on bridging the gap between organizing and technology.
On November 15, past ES Director, Professor Martin Summers returned to the University of Oregon to deliver the 3rd Annual Peggy Pascoe Memorial Lecture. In honor of his own mentor, and mentor to many others across the country, Summers’ eloquently remembered the important work of our beloved colleague, Peggy Pascoe. His talk,”‘Broken Fragments of the Primitive Life’: Race and Dynamic Psychiatry in the Early-Twentieth-Century,” was drawn from his archival research of St. Elizabeth Hospital, a federal mental institution in Washington, DC. Discussing specifically the way the hospital treated African American patients, Summers explores the intersections of the historical process of racial formation, medical and cultural understandings of mental illness, and the exercise of institutional power.
Special thanks to the History Department, and the Beekman Professor of Northwest and Pacific History, Dr. Jeff Ostler, for co-sponsoring and supporting this annual event that means so much to both of our departments.
Please join us in the Browsing Room of the Knight Library for an open reception honoring ES alumni, with special guest Dr. Martin Summers, ES Program Director from 2004-2006. We invite all ES alumni, students, faculty and friends to reconnect with ES graduates as well as Dr. Summers, who led a critical expansion of ES during his time as Director and championed diversity and equity efforts across campus.
For questions or to RSVP for the event, please email Michael King: email@example.com
Friday, November 15, 3-4:00 PM, Knight Browsing Room
UO Ethnic Studies alumni are playing leadership roles in many prominent social justice organizations in the region. Join us as we learn more about their work as organizers, educators, trainers, researchers and policy advocates and find out the ways that ES prepared them for these critical positions.
Participants in the Panel will include:
Recognized for his illustrious research record, campus leadership, and standing in his field nationwide, Michael Hames-García was selected to receive the Fund for Faculty Excellence. His major publications include, Fugitive Thought: Prison Movements, Race, and the Meaning of Justice (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2004), Identity Complex: Making the Case for Multiplicity, (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2011), the Lambda Award winning Gay Latino Studies: A Critical Reader, co-edited with Ernesto Martínez (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2011), Reclaiming Identity: Realist Theory and the Predicament of Postmodernism, co-edited with Paula M. L. Moya (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000), and Identity Politics Reconsidered, co-edited with Linda Martín Alcoff, Satya Mohanty, and Paula M. L. Moya (Palgrave, 2006). At the University of Oregon, Hames-García served as the Program Director and Department Head of Ethnic Studies from 2008-2011, and from 2005-2011 the director of the Center for Race Ethnicity and Sexuality Studies.
According to Provost Jim Bean, “The recipients of this honor have been chosen on the basis of scholarly impact within their respective fields, their contributions to program and institutional quality at the UO, and their academic leadership.” Congratulations Professor Hames-García – this is recognition well deserved!
Starting Fall 2014 Hames-García will begin his reign as the director of the University of Oregon’s Center for the Study of Women and Society (CSWS). For 40 years CSWS has been funding feminist scholarship and been a hub for feminist research through an endowment and mission to “create, fund, and share research that addresses the complicated nature of gender identities and inequalities.” Hames-Garcia is perfect to take the helm after the center’s 40th anniversary, and further the important projects established under the leadership of Carol Stabile.
Professor Ernesto Martinez’s book, On Making Sense: Queer Race Narratives of Intelligibility, is a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award in the LGBT Studies category. His book is truly cutting edge work in queer race studies – he courageously challenges dominant epistemological paradigms in the field through a careful, thought provoking, and provocative lens.
Last year, Martinez received the Lambda Literary Award with his co-editor Michael Hames Garcia for their book, Gay Latino Studies: A Reader.
Save the date for the Ethnic Studies Second Annual Peggy Pascoe Memorial Lecture featuring Dr. Estelle Freedman, Friday January 25, 2013, refreshments start at noon and her lecture will begin at 12:30pm in the Knight Browsing Room. She will be speaking about her new forthcoming book, Redefining Rape, that brings together racial justice and women’s rights responses to sexual violence in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
Dr. Freedman will also doing a graduate student workshop later that evening in the Alder Building Conference Room. The workshop is open to graduate students whose work engages Ethnic Studies scholarship.
For further information, please visit the lecture page of our website at http://blogs.uoregon.edu/ethnic/pascoe-lecture-series-2/.
Prof. Charise Cheney recently won the Western Association of Women’s Historians’ Judith Lee Ridge Prize for her article “Blacks on Brown: Intra-Comunity Debates over School Desegregation in Topeka, KS, 1941-1955,” which was published this winter in the Western Historical Quarterly. This same article also garnered Honorable Mention for the 2012 Oral History Article Award for outstanding use of oral history.
Ernesto Javier Martínez and Michael Hames-García—both professors in the Department of Ethnic Studies—were awarded the prestigious national Lambda Literary Award in the category of “best LGBT anthology” for their co-edited book Gay Latino Studies: A Critical Reader (Duke University Press, 2011).
This award was announced in early June at a sold-out gala ceremony in New York City. The event attracted over 400 attendees, sponsors, and celebrities to celebrate excellence in LGBT literature.
Previous winners of the Lambda Award include fiction writers Michael Cunningham, Jeanette Winterson, Colm Toibin, and Armistead Maupin; noted historians Martin Duberman, Alan Berube, and Lillian Faderman; mystery writers Joseph Hansen, Nicola Griffith, and Michael Nava; poets Adrienne Rich and Mark Doty; and playwright Tony Kushner.
Judith Halberstam, Professor of English at the University of Southern California, writes that Gay Latino Studies “ is a startlingly original collection of essays on the culture and social worlds of gay Latinos. Using a wonderful format that pairs essays with response pieces, the book as a whole reads like a sparkling conversation full of wit, insight, cultural relevance, and political critique. Covering topics from gay shame and shamelessness, to dance and sexual identity, to the impact of HIV on gay Latino communities, Gay Latino Studies will quickly find its way onto bookshelves and into classrooms around the world.”
Ramón Saldívar, Professor of English at Stanford University, writes “This collection will be an indispensable reference for any scholar working in queer or Latina/o studies. With its broad disciplinary and theoretical scope, it effectively establishes the field of gay Latino studies. It will shape the questions posed in this realm of study for some time to come
For more information, please contact Ernesto Javier Martinez (firstname.lastname@example.org).