Music journalist turned PhD student Matthew Tchepikova-Treon is particularly fascinated by how disenfranchised artists, laborers, and communities began participating in cultural production through exploitation cinema—something that was mostly unavailable to them prior to the 1970s. These “trash films” aren’t just a simple form of cheap entertainment.
After taking a course on the US in the world and seizing a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to study abroad in South Africa, senior Abby Yates has become fascinated by the politics of music. Now, she studies music ambassadors to uncover just how much power music has on politics in the United States.
“I always felt part of a close community of public intellectuals, voices, and perspectives,” says PhD alumnus Matthew J. Martinez. In this interview, he reflects upon his experiences as a graduate student and how American studies prepared him for his role as first lieutenant governor of Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo.
"What happened during Japanese American incarceration is not coincidental at all—it's just how US settler colonialism has always and continues to function," says Hana Maruyama, whose grandmother and nearly 14,000 others of Japanese ancestry were displaced to Heart Mountain, the same place where the Apsáalooke American Indian Nation had been wrongfully relocated from years before. Maruyama is pursuing a PhD in American studies to further her research on the connections between Japanese American incarceration in the context of US settler colonialism.
Choosing a major is hard. When you’re interested in a variety of subjects, picking just one can feel like finding a needle in a haystack. For Nayelli Guerrero, whose interests include medicine, writing, history, and law, it’s no wonder she started off her college career as an undecided major. Now a sophomore, she has become a top-notch student who actively participates in important work in the community.
In 1829, Dakota leader Mahpiya Wicasta (Cloud Man) led a group of Dakota men on a hunt. The group became trapped in a blizzard for three days, buried under the snow. He later founded an agricultural community on the site, which he called Ḣeyate Otuŋwe, on the shores of a lake that Dakota people today call Bde Maka Ska. Nearly two centuries later, Cloud Man’s great-great grandchildren led the charge to reclaim the lake’s Dakota name, after having long been named after white secessionist John Caldwell Calhoun.” We don’t call it a change, we call it a restoration,” descendant Katherine Beane says when asked about the renaming of Lake Calhoun to Bde Maka Ska.