Jessica Perea – Post-Doctoral Program

It was difficult to go through graduate school
not having had anybody I knew go through graduate school. I’m from a very small town outside
of Anchorage, Alaska. The President’s Post-Doc Program is for increasing not only the visibility
but the actual presence of people from non-traditional backgrounds or diverse communities that have
been underrepresented in academia. So in my case that would be from Native American background.
My primary research interests are in urban native Alaska music making. Music and Dance,
because in native culture music and dance are inseparable. With academic studies there
tend to be privileging of traditional forms that these things that were one long long
ago and ancient and a lot of the rhetoric around Native American studies is that we’re
vanishing still. We’re continuing to vanish. So this deficit model is a lot what my research
tries to correct. We have teachable moments in these classes to broaden the understanding
not only who counts but also what kinds of practices count. To me its a an issue of presence
and absence; we need more presence, more classes, more people teaching and learning about these
histories because they’re central to the American experience. Its an incredible time to work
on that interdisciplinarity and to find out what other people are doing and the potential
to work across disciplinary boundaries is another thing that I think the post-doc really
does well. It really broadened my opportunities, kind of the conditions of possibility to get
my work out there and so it was instrumental in landing a job at Davis. I think just the
fact that there are programs like the President’s Post-Doc that supports humanities post-docs
is incredibly important in diversifying what we understand research to be and see what
that has to tell us about the state of the world, the state of politics, the state of
cultures in transition.

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