Workshops Funded for Spring 2012 Semester

Susanne Beechey, Coordinator (Politics); Helen Kim (Sociology); Nicole Simek (FLL-French); Alberto Galindo (Spanish); and Bruce Magnusson (Politics).   Report - Beechey Workshop
Interdisciplinary Modes of Inquiry in Race and Ethnic Studies
Description: This reading group is composed of faculty currently involved in the Race and Ethnic Studies Program from two divisions and four departments. We seek to engage in a semester-long conversation on modes of inquiry in race and ethnic studies in order to develop a common vocabulary and intellectual background from which to grapple with the challenges of interdisciplinary work in this area. We plan to read articles on negotiating the challenges of studying race and ethnicity from cross disciplinary perspectives as well as cutting-edge and foundational work on race and ethnicity from across our respective disciplines.

The motivation for this workshop stems in part from challenges we have faced in advising and evaluating interdisciplinary thesis work in the Race and Ethnic Studies major. We hope this semester of cross-disciplinary inquiry will provide a shared foundation as we serve on senior thesis committees together and advise our thesis students. We also hope this experience will help us to conceptualize a course or course module on interdisciplinary methodologies in Race and Ethnic Studies and assist us in advising senior thesis writers and committees.

Phil Brick, Coordinator (Politics); Jan Crouter (Economics); Delbert Hutchison (Biology); Kate Shea (Environmental Humanities/Classics; Ellen Bishop (Environmental Studies/Geology); and Jason Pribilsky (Anthropology).  Report - Brick Workshop
Landscape and Nature in an Era of Climate Change
Description: Our proposed workshop brings together teacher/scholars from all three divisions to explore how the prospect of climate change might be understood as an invitation to creative re-imaginings of nature, landscapes, and human interactions with natural systems. Once released from dominant climate narratives that place singular emphasis on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, how might such re-imaginings open up new metaphors for understanding nature and landscapes, climate activism, and new opportunities for creative human engagements with natural systems?

We propose a series of three on-campus seminar meetings throughout the spring semester to explore various dimensions of this question, followed by an intensive overnight field trip to Wallowa County, Oregon late in the semester, where we will work with our Whitman in the Wallowas partners at Wallowa Resources to explore ways in which new understandings of landscapes in the context of climate change are already inspiring local efforts to re-imagine local landscapes, local economies, and the local community. Thus one explicit objective of this workshop is to build cross-disciplinary instructional capacity for our Whitman in the Wallowas program both on campus and with our Wallowa County partners.

Concepts of nature, landscape, and natural systems easily invite a truly interdisciplinary conversation. The creative re-imaginings we have in mind require knowledge from the deep time of geology (Ellen Bishop), historical time (Kate Shea); a knowledge of ecological systems (Delbert Hutchison), economic systems (Jan Crouter), and political systems (Phil Brick).