INSTITUTIONS COLLABORATE TO CREATE AMERICAN INDIAN STUDIES CONSORTIUM
The Committee on Institutional Cooperation, a consortium of 12 midwestern research universities including the University of Illinois, is joining forces with the Newberry Library to create an unprecedented program devoted to American Indian studies.
Drawing on the CIC's vast institutional resources and the Newberry's matchless collections in the field, the new American Indian Studies Consortium will train graduate students in anthropology, history, literature, education and other fields whose research focuses on the cultures and experiences of Native Americans.
"A number of distinguished universities, all with commitments to American Indian studies, pool their resources and in an instant constitute themselves as one of the major centers of an intellectual area of growing importance," said Stanley Fish, dean of liberal arts and sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago. "Put this together with the extraordinary resources of the Newberry Library and the commitment of UIC to ethnic and religious studies, and you have a recipe for innovation, avant-garde scholarship and truly multidisciplinary teaching."
Barbara Allen, executive director of the CIC, said the program is the first collaboration of its kind in the nation. She noted there is a growing demand for academic training in American Indian studies.
"This is a timely decision that brings together a remarkable range of resources to create a unique and extraordinary opportunity for scholars," Allen said. "The new program promises to significantly increase the production of scholars in this field."
James Grossman, vice president for research and education at the Newberry, emphasized the library's mission to promote the use of its collections. "This collaboration draws on and expands the Newberry's role as a meeting ground for a diverse community of researchers in Indian history," he said.
The program will be headquartered at the Newberry's D'Arcy McNickle Center for American Indian History and its director also will hold a tenured faculty appointment at UIC. The two institutions will search jointly for the director.
The new venture will offer core programs to enhance the training of students on each CIC campus. CIC faculty will spend a year at the Newberry to conduct research and teach a spring seminar to graduate students from the collaborating institutions. Scholars will come to the Newberry for an annual conference and for workshops and seminars.
The field of American Indian studies has also been an important collecting area for the UIC Library. It offers extensive materials on 20th-century American Indian history and has one of the best collections of modern Native American literature and criticism.
An executive committee of distinguished scholars and faculty members - three of whom have American Indian tribal affiliations - will oversee the new program, including George Cornell (Ojibwe) of Michigan State University, Philip Deloria (Dakota descent) of the University of Michigan, Frederick Hoxie of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Jean O'Brien (Ojibwe) of the University of Minnesota and A. Lavonne Ruoff, of UIC.
Since its founding in 1972, the Newberry's D'Arcy McNickle Center has provided a meeting ground for people working in different academic traditions and in different educational contexts. Scholarship fostered by the McNickle Center has helped to transform the field of American Indian studies by emphasizing research in primary sources, the centrality of Indian voices, engagement with multiple narratives, interdisciplinary perspectives, and the dynamics of intercultural relations.
Founded in 1958, the CIC, with headquarters in Champaign, Ill., is the academic consortium of the Big Ten universities and the University of Chicago. The Big Ten institutions include Indiana, Michigan State, Northwestern, Ohio State, Pennsylvania State and Purdue universities and the universities of Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin, Madison.
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