New fellowships will advance research on American Indian history and the West

December 19, 2019

Two new fellowship opportunities invite scholars and doctoral students living outside the Phoenix area to Arizona State University in support of their research exploring the diverse history of the West, its intersections with race and violence, and American Indian history.

Through a partnership between The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies and the ASU Library’s Labriola National American Indian Data Center, the two annual fellowships will provide researchers travel support and access to rare primary source materials and unique archival collections. saguaro cactus in Phoenix from the McCulloch Brothers Photography Collection at the ASU Library A picture taken in 1920 of a saguaro cactus in Phoenix, part of the ASU Library's McCulloch Bros. Photography Collection. Download Full Image

“The two research fellowships are timely due to ASU’s excellent reputation in American Indian history in the West that is well over half a century old and today’s racial violence in society,” said ASU Regents Professor Donald Fixico

The American Indian History of the West Research Fellowship seeks to support and advance scholarship on the rich and diverse history of the West that makes a meaningful contribution to the fields of American Indian history/studies, federal-Indian policies and indigenous relations with other peoples or the natural environment.

The Race and Ethnicity Fellowship is an intellectual response to America’s overwhelming history of violence, especially against people of color. The fellowship seeks to generate research that examines historic intersections of race and violence in the West, looking to the past as a way to understand the present and inform future relations.

“We are so pleased to partner with Dr. Fixico in hosting these fellowships, which offer opportunities to further open our Native American collections to new researchers,” said Lorrie McAllister, associate university librarian for collection services and analysis at the ASU Library. “We look forward to welcoming and supporting the inquiry and scholarship of these fellows during their visits.”

The Labriola National American Indian Data Center brings together the current and historical work of indigenous authors across a multitude of disciplines with a focus on language, government, education, tribal history, biography, religion and customs. The center features thousands of books, journals, Native Nation newspapers, photographs, oral histories and manuscript collections.

Applicants must be an established scholar or a PhD or postdoctoral student conducting critical research about American Indian or race and ethnic history of the West, especially nondominant historical narratives necessitating primary or rare secondary sources. Fellowship applications are due Jan. 31, 2020.

Britt Lewis

Communications Specialist, ASU Library

ASU art professor featured in exhibition examining the West, counter-landscapes

December 19, 2019

Angela Ellsworth, a professor in the School of Art in Arizona State University’s Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, is one of several notable contemporary artists featured in a new exhibition that examines the complicated construct that is the American West.

The exhibition is called “Monument Valley” and refers to a tourism website for Monument Valley in Utah that states, “Monument Valley isn’t a national park. It’s not even a national monument. But it’s as American as it gets.”   Photo of Angela Ellsworth piece Seer Bonnet Seer Bonnet XIX (Flora Ann), 2011. Download Full Image

The exhibition, which is at the Des Moines Art Center through Jan. 12, 2020, features contemporary artists “who view the stereotypes and mythology around the West and westerns, and show how these concepts echo in American identity and the political and social crises of our time,” according to the center's website.

The artists brought together for the exhibition are indigenous, black, white, Latinx and multiracial, come from multiple regions of North America and represent various cultural backgrounds and identities. In addition to Ellsworth, other artists featured are Gina Adams, Doug Aitken, Jeremiah Ariaz, Kahlil Joseph, John Jota Leaños, Kent Monkman, Anja Niemi, Catherine Opie, Wendy Red Star, Sarah Sense and Jordan Weber.

Ellsworth, a multidisciplinary artist traversing disciplines of drawing, sculpture, installation, video and performance, is interested in art merging with everyday life where public and private experiences collide in unexpected spaces. Her solo and collaborative work has taken on wide-ranging subjects such as illness, physical fitness, endurance, religious tradition and social ritual. She has presented work nationally and internationally, including at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), Museum of Contemporary Art (Sydney, Australia), Zacheta National Gallery of Art (Warsaw, Poland), National Review of Live Art (Glasgow, Scotland), Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions and Phoenix Art Museum. 

Ellsworth is also featured in an ongoing exhibition at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art. As a counter to the notion that land art deals exclusively with artists who work with earth as their medium, “Counter-Landscapes: Performative Actions from the 1970s – Now” presents a group of artists working in both natural and urban environments whose work exploits the power of place to address issues of social, environmental and personal transformation. Ellsworth is included in this exhibition along with Marina Abramović, Allora & Calzadilla, Francis Alÿs, Eleanor Antin, Ana Theresa Fernandez, Mona Hatoum, Zhou Tao and more.

The Museum of Walking, which was founded by Ellsworth as an artist-led educational resource center committed to the advancement of walking as an art practice, will be holding a walk that connects  the landscape to community and art on Jan. 18 in conjunction with the exhibition. 

The exhibition in Scottsdale runs through Jan. 19, 2020. 

Sarah A. McCarty

Marketing and communications coordinator, Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts