Critical Ethnic Studies Senior Integrated Projects

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This collection includes Senior Integrated Projects (SIPs, formerly known as Senior Individualized Projects) completed in the Critical Ethnic Studies Major. Abstracts are generally available to the public, but PDF files are available only to current Kalamazoo College students, faculty, and staff.


Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 5 of 16
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    My Teta’s Pain : Generational Trauma and Language in Palestinian-Americans
    (2024-03-01) Yousif, Hillary Husson Bawab; Salinas, Shanna, 1975-
    This project reveals the experiences of Palestinian-Americans living with the effects of settler colonialism. Generational trauma and language are two significant aspects of the Palestinian experience. Communities and individuals experiencing generational trauma often respond differently to how they connect and interact with their identities. In my experience, I was shielded from the trauma my family endured and, unfortunately, I did not grow up speaking my native language, for numerous reasons. I also felt isolated as a Palestinian and did not have any exposure to other Palestinians, or Arabs, until college. I presumed other Palestinian-Americans had similar experiences, so I conducted a series of informal, reflective interviews. I connected with four Palestinian-Americans and listened to them share their lives and all the emotions they wanted to express to me. Hearing the experiences of other Palestinian-Americans uncovers the ways in which we experience settler colonialism and allows us to take steps towards generational healing. Additionally, completing this project deepened my connection to my homeland, identity, and family and granted me the opportunity to create an archive of my history. After several months of working on this project, the genocide on Gaza began on October 7th, 2023. From that point forward, I knew my motivation and purpose for this project must shift. Now, it is to honor my family and every Palestinian martyr, forever. Now, I complete this project to provide some semblance of justice to the martyrs in my family and every single other Palestinian family in diaspora and in our homeland.
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    A Case for Shapeshifting
    (2023-03-01) Salvatierra, Gi Patricia; Salinas, Shanna, 1975-
    Through a series of essays, interviews, poems, illustrations, and a single speech, A Case for Shapeshifting thinks through and recognizes the ability to be shaped by change and to shape change. By identifying beings as “Shapeshifters”, A Case for Shapeshifting not only highlights the fluidity and complexities in our transformative abilities, but positions our capacities within networks of social change. Organized into four parts (The Framework, Responding to Decolonial Theory, Shapeshifting in New Orleans, and Gi’s Traveling Show), this collection traverses various geographies, communities, and genres to propose and explore Shapeshifting as an effective, accessible framework for transforming culture.
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    BIPOC Educational Spaces : An Analysis of Personal Experiences Working in Kalamazoo Public Elementary Schools
    (2023-03-01) Kinch, Phoebe; Salinas, Shanna, 1975-
    Within this paper I seek to detail and record a collective experience as a childcare worker within Kalamazoo Public Schools, as established through my personal experiences and my coworkers’ and other employees’ who have also worked and gathered experiences within similar circumstances. In doing so I have conducted informal interviews to gather the stories and experiences of those who have worked in similar spaces through the YMCA and other before- and after-school programming. That of which I will refer to by pseudonyms to protect their identities. They are as follows: Coworker at King Westwood Elementary is Jenny, Coworker at Prairie Ridge is Sam, Friend and College who works at Spring Valley is Violet, and a faculty member at Parkwood is Ms. Johnson. Through this I seek to capture the unique aspects of Kalamazoo Public Schools and the ways in which they engage and impact the children and families they serve. I plan to contextualize this collective childcare worker narrative with theory and further research that may provide understanding of said experiences and the implications they have for the children present. This process of collecting stories and recording them has provided me with new insight and perspective because it allowed me to gather both the corroborations and contradictions that shape the unique setting and experience of Kalamazoo Public schools.
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    Envisioning a Better Education for Our Kids : An Exploration of the Summer Camp Experience
    (2022-11-01) Lignell, Connor; Garcia-Weyandt, Cyndy
    This SIP brings to light the importance of education outside of traditional Western academia, through the use of summer camps. Since 2016, I have worked as a camp counselor at a camp in Northern Michigan called Camp Al-Gon-Quian (AGQ). This camp sees around 2,000 come through every summer for anytime from 3 days to 3 months. AGQ works to provide a well-balanced experience that will support and encourage each and every camper to step out of their comfort zone to try new experiences and make new friends. While working here, I have come to realize how important this experience is to kids, they have the opportunity to make choices removed from their parents, learn to live in a shared space, as well as learning how to make decisions that benefit the entire community rather than just themself. By providing this opportunity, we teach kids at a young age the importance of learning outside of Western academia, and how much more there is that is just as important to learn. I work in this SIP to educate people who are not aware of why summer camps are important and essential to a child's development, as well as how we can make them more sustainable and accessible to a wider variety of kids. Throughout this paper, I base my methodologies on the works of Indigenous people and the work that they have been doing for thousands of years. I talk about what it looks like to decolonize our idea of education and what it means to productively learn, as well as how we can better understand the Earth that we are so lucky to be living on. It should also be made clear that in no way am I trying to claim Indigenous knowledge as my own, but rather grapple with the knowledge shared by Indigenous peoples as the groundwork for my paper.
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    Reciprocal and Collaborative Work in Oaxaca: The Story of Los Mecos, the Traditional Dance of San Juan Bautista Coixtlahuaca
    (2023-01-01) Stillerman-Flores, Micaela; Garcia-Weyandt, Cyndy
    This text seeks to critically examine different forms of cross-cultural investigation through an anti-colonial lens, beginning to hopefully undo often extractive relationships between academics and indigenous communities. The work will emphasize a reciprocal approach in which this project will be conducted as a collaborative effort between myself and the community of Coixtlahuaca in contribution to the indigenous culture revitalization work and activism that is already being done. This is accomplished by applying a mixed-method approach in which I utilize group interviews, participant observation, and photography to archive, record, and preserve a traditional dance in Coixtlahuaca, La Danza de Los Mecos.
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