YGSNA Members Receive Six Postdoctoral & Dissertation Awards

Shield of the Yale Graduate School of Arts & Sciences
January 22, 2018

Members of the Yale Group for the Study of Native America continue to garner national and international recognition for their research in the field. Four recent YGSNA alumni received postdoctoral fellowships for the academic year 2017-2018, while two current YGSNA members hold recently received dissertation writing fellowships. Such fellowships have enabled these scholars to research, write, and work all over. From Calgary to Berlin and from western Massachusetts to California, YGSNA members begin 2018 with acclaimed fellowships that provide the needed resources and time to enable the continued production of a wide range of scholarly projects.

Former YGSNA member, Khalil Anthony Johnson completed his dissertation in African-American and American Studies in 2016 and spent 2016-2017 teaching at Wesleyan University as an assistant professor. The demands of moving, starting his first year of teaching, and continuing his research prompted applications to prominent postdoctoral fellowships. Now, as he relays, “I have been on leave this year as postdoctoral fellow with the National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation,” one of the most prestigious fellowship for scholars of American educational history. “The postdoctoral fellowship has given me time to write two peer-reviewed articles for NAIS and the Journal of American Indian education, digest overlooked archives and secondary literatures, and reflect upon how best to approach revising my dissertation for publication.” Examining the interconnected educational histories of African American and Native Americans, Johnson’s research links these two often segmented fields of study.

Tiffany Hale continues her exciting research on the intellectual and social legacies of the 1890 Ghost Dance. Hale completed her dissertation in History in 2017 and is spending the 2017-2018 academic year at the American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia as a postdoctoral fellow. The APS has robust fellowship opportunities through its recent collaboration with the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Native American Studies Initiative. Using her fellowship to expand her dissertation and prepare it for publication, Hale has a busy schedule ahead. She plans to continue adding new research findings while continuing exciting conversations with academic publishers.

Isaiah Lorado Wilner is spending 2017-2018 in Germany as a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Berlin Center for the History of Knowledge, Max Planck Institute for the History of Science. During his time in Germany, Wilner is completing the final stages of his book about the impact of Indigenous ecological ideas on modernity. Completed in the History Department in 2016, his dissertation examines “Narratives of Transformation on the Northwest Coast of America” and has won a range of academic prizes including the Allan Nevins Prize for the best-written dissertation in North American history awarded by the Society of American Historians. He is also completing the final edits to his co-edited collection, Indigenous Visions: Rediscovering the World of Franz Boas, forthcoming with Yale University Press: https://yalebooks.yale.edu/book/9780300196511/indigenous-visions

Former YGSNA graduate coordinator, Ryan Hall spent the first part of 2017-2018 at the University of Calgary as the Fulbright Canada Research Chair in Social and Cultural History of Western North America. During this postdoctoral award, he taught a course, “Blackfoot History and Culture,” which sponsored a visit to Blackfoot Crossing Historical Park. This innovative class was the first of its kind offered within the Calgary History Department and received notice on the University’s websiteNow an assistant professor at Northern Arizona University, Hall is continuing his growing list of publications on Blackfoot history and the history of colonialism in the nineteenth-century fur trade.

Current YGNSA member and American Studies doctoral candidate Anya Montiel is completing her dissertation, “Intertwined Intermediaries: Fundamental Issues in Twentieth-Century Native American Art,” this semester. Montiel received a 2017-2018 fellowship from the Ford Foundation, which awards 36 dissertations fellowships per year to graduate students of color and first-generation college graduates who are committed to teaching and researching at the university/college level. Surveying a broad range of Native American art history, Montiel’s research focuses particularly upon the Indian Arts and Crafts Board, a federal agency within the U.S. Department of the Interior created in 1935 to support and promote Native American arts and crafts. She has also authored an essay, “After Columbus,” in Art in America in October 2017, which examines a range of North American art exhibitions from 1992.

Current YGNSA member and American Studies doctoral candidate Tyler Rogers is also completing his dissertation in 2018, doing so at Williams College. Rogers holds the Gaius Charles Bolin Fellowship in American Studies, which is a two-year residency for scholars in American Studies. His dissertation research examines narrative of Indigenous enslavement in the Native Northeast and queries the violence embedded in their production as well as dissemination. Rogers will teach at least one course at Williams as part of his fellowship while finishing the dissertation.

These YGSNA members and alumni are also joined by Holly Guise who is completing her dissertation in History, using a combination of fellowships including a Ford Foundation Pre-Doctoral Fellowship, which was previously awarded. Guise’s dissertation examines the oral histories of approximately seventy Alaskan Natives from the World War II-era, who lived through an unprecedented period of state and racial formation and contextualizes them within broader currents in U.S. and Alaskan history.

Collectively, these YGSNA scholars and alumni have compiled an impressive corpus of publications and fellowship awards, garnering notice from Yale administrators as well as faculty. As Yale Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Dean Lynn Cooley relays, “I am very glad to know that alumni of YGSNA are doing so well.” She anticipates “seeing how the careers of these wonderful scholars unfold”

Congratulations to these as well as other New Haven-based YGSNA members holding fellowships in 2017-2018.