IK: Other Ways of Knowing 1(1):  37-40                                         2015



Looking Back:   Recent ICIK Activities


ICIK Seminar series.  

Seminars are archived on Penn State Mediasite Live.  For a complete list of seminars visit the
ICIK website


·         Hegemony (Un)Bound: Representations of Indigenous Peoples in K-12 U.S. History Standards.   Presented by Dr. Sarah Shear, Assistant Professor of Social Studies Education Penn State University, Altoona.  Sept 17, 2014.
Available on Mediasite Live

Dr. Sarah Shear shares the results of a two year study she conducted with colleagues at the University of Missouri which sought to better understand how K - 12 content standards in American schools represent, and more commonly misrepresent, indigenous peoples in United States history. Shear discusses the ways in which the findings of her study can help us understand not only the discourse of what is taught in our classrooms, but also the ways in which we are preparing our future educators to teach in a way which is mindful to social justice while adhering to educational policy.

Sarah B. Shear earned her doctorate at the University of Missouri in 2014, and is now an Assistant Professor of Social Studies Education at Penn State University’s Altoona Campus. Dr. Shear’s research is divided into four areas: representations of indigenous peoples in the Social Studies curriculum; experiences of indigenous and non-indigenous educators teaching Social Studies within indigenous communities; decolonizing and post-qualitative theory and methodology; and the preparation of pre-service teachers to engage in teaching and learning for social justice.

·         Engaging with Ojibwe Communities in Northern Minnesota.  Dr. Bruce Martin, College of Agriculture and Executive Director ECIR, University of Michigan and Danna Jayne Seballos, Assistant Director, Penn State World in Conversation.   September 29, 2014.
Available on Mediasite Live

In May 2014, twenty-one Penn State students traveled to the Red Lake, Leech Lake and Mille Lacs Ojibwe nations located in northern Minnesota for the Maymester component of CED 497B/C, an embedded course offered in spring and summer semesters.  Through a unique and inspiring relationship between Dr. Bruce Martin and Ojibwe leaders, this award-winning field experience brings students into Native communities to participate in daily life with host families, take part in traditional ceremonies with medicine men and learn about the history and culture of the Ojibwe from local Native teachers.  At this seminar, you hear the personal accounts of students’ cultural engagements and their developing perspectives on the ways of knowing of the Ojibwe (Anishinaabeg).

·         Indigenous Knowledge: Egypt and the Egyptians.  Presented by Dr. Arthur Goldschmidt.  Professor Emeritus, Penn State University. November 19, 2014.
Available on Mediasite Live.

Almost everyone knows the Nile and Egypt and can find them on the map, but how much do we really know about Egypt’s history through the ages, the symbiotic relationship between the Egyptian people and the River Nile, the effects of two millennia of foreign rule, and the recent efforts of the Egyptian government and people to modernize their country?  Dr. Goldschmidt explores the lifestyles and indigenous ways of living of the Egyptians living along the Nile.

Arthur Goldschmidt, Jr., Professor Emeritus of Middle East History at Penn State University, is best known for his Concise History of the Middle East, a popular textbook whose eleventh edition is now in preparation, but he has also written the Historical Dictionary of Egypt (4th ed., 2014) and numerous other books and articles on 19th and 20th century Egyptian history. He graduated from Colby College in 1959 and earned his Ph.D. in history and Middle Eastern studies from Harvard University in 1968.


·         Analysis of Traditional and Modern Approaches to Goat Production and Management in Rwanda.  Presented by Kira Hydock, Penn State Schreyer's Honors College.  African Studies, International Agriculture, and Veterinary and Biological Sciences. December 3, 2014.
Available on Mediasite Live.

After visiting Rwanda during the summer of 2012, Kira left the country with many questions. One was, “Why are there so many goats in a country with a ‘one cow per poor family’ program?” Kira’s interest in learning about traditional goat production and management in Rwanda’s Muhanga district became the impetus for her honors thesis.   She compiled a literature review of traditional goat production methods and combined the review with personal accounts and opinions from Rwandan goat herders. Access to this information allowed Kira to generate several conclusions about goat herding in Rwanda and enabled her to formulate recommendations for the preservation of traditional practices that simultaneously increased the productive capacity of the goat herds. These observations are presented in her seminar.

Kira Hydock is a senior in the Schreyer Honors College majoring in Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences and African Studies, with a minor in International Agriculture. She will attend the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine in the fall of 2015 to fulfill her dream of becoming a veterinarian. Kira is a recipient of the 2014 M.G. Whiting Student Indigenous Knowledge Research Award, and the first undergraduate to ever be selected. Kira will be introduced by her advisor, Dr. Clemente Abrokwaa, Senior Lecturer in African Studies.


·         Food Processing with Malawian Village Women: Steps Out of Servitude.  Presented by Dr. Dorothy Blair, Dept. of Nutritional Sciences, Penn State University.  Wednesday, January 21, 2015. 
Available on Mediasite Live

As a volunteer for USAID's Farmer to Farmer Program, Dr. Blair recently worked with Malawian village women -- members of a 15 village Community Based Organization called Kurya Ndiko Uku. Her job was to nutritionally improve and add value to their agricultural crop food processing.  Baked products are the women's major money making venture, along with sewing hand-bags.  Financial independence is critical for these women as it raises their status and provides some freedom of movement in a culture of marital servitude and confinement to the household.  This seminar describes how they learned together --with frequent bouts of singing and dancing -- to reduce costs and tweak recipes by improving methods, and incorporating soy milk, soy mash, and seasonally available grains and fruits. They cooked exclusively on 3 rocks or baked in ingenious wood-fired ovens.  Deforestation was reduced by the introduction of firewood-conserving "hot-baskets," as well as women's time spent gathering firewood and tending a smoky, lung-damaging fire.

Dorothy Blair, PHD, was a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Philippines before receiving her advanced degrees in human nutrition from Cornell University.  She recently retired from Penn State University after 32 years as a faculty in the Nutritional Sciences Department, where she focused on food security and food processing.  This was her third trip to work in Southern and East Africa on local food security issues.


·         What Do Sherpas Think About Climate Change on Mount Everest?  Presented by Pasang Yangjee Sherpa, Dept. of Anthropology, Penn State University.  Wednesday, January 28, 2015. 
Available on Media Site Live

This seminar focuses on the Sherpas of Mount Everest region in Nepal, and discusses how climate change has become a local issue. It begins by introducing the Sherpas and how climate change concerns them. It then discusses climate change as an institutional issue, and climate change as an environmental issue. The seminar concludes by discussing what is next for the Sherpas and the researchers.

The presentation is based on Pasang Sherpa’s fifteen months of ethnographic fieldwork in the Everest region and in Kathmandu between 2010 and 2012.

Pasang Sherpa is a Lecturer in the Department of Anthropology at Penn State University. She earned her doctorate at Washington State University in Anthropology. Her topical and regional research areas include international development, climate change, indigenous peoples, Sherpas and South Asia. She is the recipient of 2014 Senior Fellowship Award from the Association of Nepal and Himalayan Studies.

·         Forest Food Fight! Gender, Indigenous Knowledge, and the Struggle for Resources at the Dwesa-Cwebe Nature Reserve in South Africa. Presented by Katie Tavenner, Ph.D. Candidate, Rural Sociology and Women’s Studies. 
Wednesday, February 25, 2015. 
Available on Mediasite Live.

For over 100 years, the communities adjacent to the Dwesa and Cwebe Forests have been caught in a conflict over natural resources. Residents were forcibly removed from the area for decades by Colonial and Apartheid-era governments.  After being declared a Nature Reserve in 1978, locals were fenced out, losing all access to natural resources. Although the communities won a land-claim battle in 2001, the current management of the reserve still reflects a “fortress conservation” model, where local people are prohibited from harvesting natural resources, including a variety of forest foods. Remarkably, the indigenous knowledge associated with these foods endures, primarily through the stories, actions, and resistance of local women. This seminar highlights the gender-differentiated knowledge and valuation associated with forest foods, the politics of everyday resistance and the possibility for resource co-management at the Dwesa-Cwebe Nature Reserve.

Katie Tavenner is a dual-degree PhD candidate in Rural Sociology and Women’s Studies. Her research interests include international development, natural resource management, biodiversity conservation, feminist theory, and rural social/agrarian change. In 2013 she was awarded a U.S. Borlaug Fellowship in Global Food Security and was a visiting researcher at Bioversity International in Rome. Katie will be introduced by Dr. Carolyn Sachs, Professor of Rural Sociology and Head of the Women's Studies Department.

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