Skip to main content

May 3, 2018

OVERLAND PARK, KAN. — Deborah Williams, Professor  and Chair of Environmental Science  at JCCC , has been selected as an NEH Summer Scholar from a highly competitive national applicant pool to attend a summer institute supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities.  The Endowment is a federal agency that, each summer, supports these enrichment opportunities at colleges, universities, and cultural institutions, so that faculty can work in collaboration and study with experts in humanities disciplines.

Deborah will participate in an NEH Summer Institute titled: “The Native American West: A Case Study of the Columbia Plateau.”

The two-week Institute will explore a variety of perspectives on the Native American West, the Columbia Plateau, and U.S. history.  Site-visits will punctuate the programming throughout the Institute, in order to meaningfully locate this Institute in its region and to highlight place-based learning. Summer Scholars will leave with new ideas about Western and American Indian history, enhanced theoretical and methodological skills, and new syllabi and/or modules for immediate adoption at their home institutions. The co-Directors and Institute faculty will work with participants to create a broadly accessible web-based repository of teaching resources, as well as identify fruitful avenues for new scholarship, making the experience a distinctive opportunity for academic professional development.

Framed by scholarly historical works about Native Americans, about the Lewis and Clark expedition, land, religion, conflict, and about ongoing tribal and personal self-determination, the Institute seeks to expand, complicate, and sometimes contradict accepted U.S. history narratives about the West. To offer more nuanced interpretations of the Columbia Plateau region, scholars will draw upon both published and oral accounts by members of local Native American communities. This content will reveal spiritual and cultural practices in the eras prior to American and European immigration, and it will contextualize Indigenous and colonial American responses to each encountering the “other.”

The scholars selected to participate in the program each receive a stipend to cover their travel, study, and living expenses.