CNAIR graduate fellows receive funding to support their research, work with mentors, and participate in discussions of their work.
Ashley Agbasoga, Anthropology
Ashley’s work illuminates how women who identify as Black and with an Indigenous nation engage in placemaking practices that reveal and unsettle notions of race, place, and modern state formation in Mexico.
Bobbie Benevidez, Anthropology
Bobbie works with Indigenous Mayan people to examine the complex relationships between health, culture and environment, focusing in particular on bee keeping practices and medicinal uses of honey.
Cordelia Rizzo, Performance Studies
Cordelia examines Indigenous textile making as both an art and activist form, drawing on the cultural history of textiles in Mexico and co-participation in textile workshops.
Risa Puleo, Art History
Risa’s work investigates how contemporary Indigenous artists posit alternatives to Westerns modes of museum-based and art historical organization.
Angel A. Escamilla García is a PhD candidate in Sociology. His research interests include international migration, race, indigenous migration, ethics, methods, and migrant youth. His current research uses ethnographic and interview methods to explore how varying regional contexts across Mexico influence the migration of Central American youth on their way to the United States.
E. Bennett Jones is a Ph.D. candidate in U.S. history of science, specializing in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Her dissertation, “The Indians Say: Settler Colonialism and the Scientific Study of Animals in America, 1722 to 1860,” explores the use of storytelling in early American natural history as well as the relationships between Euro-American Naturalists and Native American guides and informants. Bennett is also a fellow in the Science in Human Culture interdisciplinary cluster and a graduate fellow with the Northwestern University Center for Native American and Indigenous Studies. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fiber and Material Studies from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago as well as a Master of Arts in Museum Studies from the University of Florida and was a participant in the four-week Summer Institute of Museum Anthropology at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. While at the University of Florida, she completed a master’s thesis titled “Monarch of the Plains: Federalism and Ecology in 19th Century American Museum Habitat Groups.”
Nikki McDaid-Morgan (Shoshone-Bannock) is a doctoral student in Learning Sciences at Northwestern University. Her research interests are broadly focused on informal and formal learning environments at the intersection of land-based education and Indigenous resurgence. More specifically, she wants to understand the ways that youth in land-based learning environments ascribe agentic capacities and personhood to more-than-human animals and plants and whether or not the propensity to do so might be correlated with the ways youth engage in decision-making around social and environmental concerns. Nikki earned her M.A. in Teaching from Pacific University and her B.S. in Sociology from Northeastern University. She also has experience as a middle school and high school English and Musical Theatre teacher and has two children of her own.
Daniela Maria Raillard is a Ph.D. student in the archaeology subfield of the Anthropology department. She received her B.A. (Hons) in Archaeology and Latin American Studies from the University of Toronto. Her dissertation explores the relationships between people and landscapes in the Andes through community-based archaeological research. She is interested in combining GIS and spatial analysis tools with experiential approaches to study the role of place-making and indigenous Andean ways of knowing the land. Currently, she is focused on how people in the past and present relate to pre-Hispanic above-ground tomb sites in the Chachapoya region of Northeastern Perú. Her work is strongly centered around the empowerment of local communities through heritage management and sustainable tourism. This commitment to community-based work stems from her own maternal connection to the Andes and her experience growing up in Northern Canada with First Nations and Inuit communities. She hopes to continue working with local and descendent communities in Perú and in her mother’s Colombian hometown to decolonize the archaeological record and produce a self-determined heritage.
Alissa Baker-Oglesbee (Psychology)
Alissa Baker-Oglesbee’s dissertation seeks to understand how Cherokee language affects environmental cognition using a community-based participatory research (CBPR) approach. This study is timely in uniting two areas of focused research and development in novel ways: language revitalization and traditional ecological knowledge.
Brad Dubos (English)
Brad Dubos’s dissertation investigates how Native American, African American and women poets represented the lived experience of religion from the Revolutionary period to the end of the nineteenth century by examining poetic depictions of religious space. Mapping a network of sacred places, sites of supernatural encounter, and everyday spaces of reverence within the American literary imagination, his project explores how religious spaces functioned for—and came to matter to—Indigenous peoples, Black Americans, and women during this period.
Walther Maradiegue (Spanish & Portuguese)
Walther Maradiegue’s dissertation project is titled “Geographies of Indigeneity in the Andes.” It inspects how late 19th-century and early 20th-century cultural production -from Indigenous and non-Indigenous sources- have shaped perceptions and understandings of the natural, racial and cultural landscapes of the northern Peruvian Andes. His project asks questions about racialization, representation and territorialities, and draws on a mix of archival, literary, visual and historical texts.
Enzo E. Vasquez Toral (Performance Studies)
Enzo E. Vasquez Toral is a theater director, scholar, and performer from Peru whose doctoral work focuses on queer and trans engagement in cross-dressing ritual practices in patron-saint fiestas, folklore, religiosity, and visual and performance art in the Andes. To do so, he explores the ways contemporary queer and trans performers and artists engage concepts and elements related to Catholicism, indigenous thought, mestizo identity, devotion, and colonized views on gender and sexuality in relation to their own identities.
Allison Conner (Leadership for Creative Enterprises)
Allison Conner’s project focuses on the invisibility and marginalization of Native Americans in popular music history, seeking to understand the complexities of this erasure. She brings to this project experience working at the National Museum of the American Indian and as a professional musician.
Nis Wilbur (Master of Public Policy and Administration)
Nis Wilbur plans to work with the CNAIR team to investigate effects of tribal enrollment policies on children. She is excited to strengthen her research skills and looks forward to collaborating with both the CNAIR team and tribes. Ms. Wilbur is a citizen of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation.
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