American Indian Studies grad students take home honors, participate in summit

April 25, 2014

American Indian Studies graduate student Naomi Tom has been awarded first place in the Western Social Science Association Student Paper Competition for her paper, “Protecting Our Communities Through Tribally Operated Institutional Review Boards.”

Tom’s paper examines tribal codes that address research and help ensure that it is done according to tribal beliefs. Focused on the Colorado River Tribes - Navajo, Mohave, Hopi and Chemehuevi – Tom’s paper explains the role of an ethics review board that works to make sure there is no harm done to the tribe and its people through research. The paper reflects a small part of Tom’s thesis project on tribal research and the processes that regulate it. ASU American Indian grad students Naomi Tom and Justin Hongeva Download Full Image

“There aren’t that many tribes that have research codes, and not that many people have written about this,” Tom said.

The paper discusses vulnerabilities to American Indian communities by not regulating research, such as exposing sacred knowledge.

“More often than not, unethical research conducted within American Indian communities is a direct result of a disconnect in understanding of worldviews; Western views versus American Indian views of what is considered ethical,” Tom wrote.

It’s also important to consider the ethics of those who will be researched, as well as the researcher’s ethics, and to take into consideration whether or not work with one American Indian tribe will translate to procedures in another tribal nation. It’s also not probable that all tribes will be able to staff, fund and provide infrastructure for institutional review boards, especially among smaller tribes that may have limited resources, Tom wrote.

Besides a cash prize and a certificate, Tom presented her paper at the Western Social Science Association conference. As a member of the first cohort of American Indian Studies graduate students, Tom will graduate in December and will then work on earning her doctoral degree in American Indian Studies.

American Indian Studies graduate student Justin Hongeva also won the Vine Deloria, Jr. Student Paper Award at the conference for his paper, "Past and Present Hopi Leadership: as Contextualized by the Oraibi Split.”

"I feel pride in winning the Vine Deloria Student Paper Competition, not only for who the award is named after and what he represented, but also the content of my paper. The history of our Native communities is important, and through academia, we are given the opportunities to expound the importance of our history and how it has impacted our communities today," Hongeva said. Vine Deloria was an American Indian author, activist, historian and theologian.

In addition to the recent honors, Hongeva and fellow American Indian Studies graduate students Eric Hardy, Waquin Preston and Emery Tahy recently participated in the Indian Education and Leadership Summit sponsored by the Inter Tribal Council of Arizona at Ak-Chin Indian Community. ASU students conducted research, aided in writing a report on the State of K-12 Indian Education in Arizona and assisted in proceedings of the summit. The report that the students compiled was distributed to participants at the meeting.

“The work that we did with the Inter Tribal Council of Arizona in correlation with the Indian Education and Leadership Summit involved myself and three other students researching on the state of Indian education in the state of Arizona,” Hongeva said. “We were charged with researching literature, and focused on contributing factors such as socio/economics, promising practices and a literature review that focused on common core and the history on Indian education, including sovereignty, Indian-controlled schools and culturally responsive schooling.”

American Indian Studies director John Tippeconnic praised the work of the program’s graduate students.

“We are proud of our students. It is an honor for them to be recognized for their scholarly work and to be involved in research that benefits tribal Nations. It is also an indicator that our young ASU American Indian Studies graduate program is on the rise and being recognized nationally,” Tippeconnic said.

ASU Contemporary Music Festival celebrates its fifth year with an exploration of minimalism

April 25, 2014

The ASU School of Music in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts is celebrating the fifth year of its Contemporary Music Festival, which presents renowned cutting-edge, seldom performed works to the public, mostly for free, as well as insightful talks about the music.

The festival takes place April 30 through May 2 at Katzin Concert Hall, on ASU’s Tempe campus. ASU faculty member Garth Paine's installation "Oscillations," of which a detail is shown here, is part of the program for the ASU Contemporary Music Festival this year. Photo by Craig Smith Download Full Image

“For several days each spring, the ASU School of Music becomes a platform for the celebration and performance of the music of the 20th and 21st centuries,” says Heather Landes, interim director of the ASU School of Music. “This annual event exploring lesser-known contemporary music genres demonstrates our commitment to providing our students and our community with the opportunity to explore challenging and diverse work.”

The organizers of the festival — ASU School of Music faculty Glenn Hackbarth, Sabine Feisst and Simone Mancuso — believe that classical music is “a living tradition” and “an exciting and vibrant part of modern life.”

In past years, they have focused either on one composer — like John Cage, who’s probably best known for his 1952 silent composition 4’33”, during which the performer doesn’t play any notes — or on a concept or trend, such as microtonality.
This year, the focus is on minimalism — which is a much vaster phenomenon than most people think, according to American miminalist composer Tom Johnson.

Minimalism, Johnson writes, includes “any music that works with limited or minimal materials: pieces that use only a few notes, pieces that use only a few words of text or pieces written for very limited instruments, such as antique cymbals, bicycle wheels or whiskey glasses. It includes pieces that sustain one basic electronic rumble for a long time. It includes pieces made exclusively from recordings of rivers and streams."

Organizer Feisst calls minimalism “one of the most influential musical trends of the late twentieth century.” Some of its most famous practitioners, like Philip Glass and Steve Reich, whose works are featured in the festival, are even household names outside the world of classical music.

The program includes two pieces by minimalist heavy hitter Reich: his epic, mesmerizing “Music for 18 musicians,” played by the Crossing 32st Street ensemble, who were named Phoenix's "Best New Classical Music Ensemble" by the Arizona Republic, and “New York Counterpoint 11’,” played by the ASU Clarinet Ensemble, with Robert Spring directing.

“This year’s festival explores a broad range of innovative and evocative works by composers from the United States, Europe and Australia,” Feisst says, with the goal of offering the community “rich sonic experiences.”

Those experiences range from Daniel Lentz’s “Can't See the Forest,” a 1971 work for “three speaker-drinkers with three wine glasses with mallets and red wine,” to Pauline Oliveros’ 1970 work “To Marilyn Monroe and Valerie Solanas in Recognition of Their Desperation,” an “organic sound piece” that protests the posthumous exploitation of two women “caught in the traps of inequality.”

This year, visitors to the lobby of the Katzin Concert Hall building will be greeted by a new sound installation by internationally renowned artist Garth Paine, a joint faculty member of the ASU School of Arts, Media + Engineering and the School of Music.

Titled “Oscillations,” Paine’s piece features six Tibetan singing bowl “robots,” each equipped with two bowls, that produce a range of pure, sustained tones that interact with each other to fill the space with “an omnipresent series of harmonics.”

Paine explains that the robots are linked by a wireless network “played by a set of critters moving through a virtual environment using Brownian Motion — this creates an ever-evolving soundscape that is random but appears to have form and structure.”

For details about the performances and talks that will take place during the festival,

Public Contact: 
Deborah Sussman Susser
Communications and Media