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When We Read What They Wrote - Dissertations on Indigenous Peoples: Home

Welcome to the event page of this new series of talks sponsored by Diné College Libraries and the Native American Studies Collaborative Series!


Diné College Libraries is proud to partner with the Native American Studies Minor program in offering a chance for our campus and general community to engage with the critical research being conducted by Diné doctoral students about Diné people. Dissertations make up an important library resource that our students utilize in their own research. This event page is dedicated to providing information about this series, as well as accompanying materials to support these important conversations. 

Series Information

"No one will ever read your dissertation so just finish it."

"The best dissertation is a done dissertation." 

"Your dissertation is just an academic exercise."

These statements are all too commonly presented to graduate students who dedicate years to a research topic, pressuring them to wrap up their dissertation without thought to how it will be received by the readers outside of their committee. But what happens when dissertations about Indigenous peoples are read and more importantly, what happens when the people who were written about have a chance to respond to those studies?

When We Read What They Wrote is a series co-sponsored by the Native American Studies Minor program and the Diné College Libraries dedicated to the review of dissertation research on, with, and/or by Indigenous peoples. This series will bring doctoral studies into a contemporary light, allowing for both the dissertation author and the Diné College community to reflect upon research findings, challenges to conducting research, successes of the projects, hindsight alterations to the research, and current status of projects after dissertation periods.

While title of this series was inspired by the collection of essays in When They Read What We Write: Politics of Ethnography (1996) edited by Caroline B. Brettell, the content of this series extends beyond the social sciences to create interschool, interdisciplinary discussions at Diné College and beyond. Join us every as we delve into the backstories of dissertations written about, on, and/or by Indigenous peoples through Navajo eyes.

Upcoming Events

Join us for a reflection talk by Dr. Christine Ami, Native American Studies Associate Professor at Diné College. Topics in this reflection will range from the Traditional Economy of K'é through Sheep, More than Taboos: Sheep Butchering Do's and Don'ts, Butchering as an Indigenous Research Methodology, Miss Navajo Butchering Event: From Spectator to Event Planner, and her National Endowment for the Humanities book project which will connect this dissertation to traditional ecological knowledge, traditional economic systems, and more.