Media Mouse recently learned that Andrea Smith, a professor at the University of Michigan who has done amazing work on feminism and Native American studies, might be denied tenure. We encourage people to send a letter supporting her receiving tenure and to watch a video of Andrea Smith’s lecture in Grand Rapids two years ago.
Here is a statement outlining the background of the situation and the steps that can be taken to support Smith:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE February 25, 2008
Statement of University of Michigan Students and Faculty in Support of Andrea Smith’s Tenure Case
On February 22nd, 2008, University of Michigan’s College of Literature, Science and the Arts (LSA) issued a negative tenure recommendation for Assistant Professor Andrea Lee Smith. Jointly appointed in the Program in American Culture and the Department of Women’s Studies, Dr. Smith’s body of scholarship exemplifies scholarly excellence with widely circulated articles in peer-reviewed journals and numerous books in both university and independent presses including Native Americans and the Christian Right published this year by Duke University Press. Dr. Smith is one of the greatest indigenous feminist intellectuals of our time. A nominee for the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize, Dr. Smith has an outstanding academic and community record of service that is internationally and nationally recognized. She is a dedicated professor and mentor and she is an integral member of the University of Michigan (UM) intellectual community. Her reputation and pedagogical practices draw undergraduate and graduate students from all over campus and the nation.
Dr. Smith received the news about her tenure case while participating in the United States’ hearings before the Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. Ironically, during those very same hearings, the 2003 U.S. Supreme Court decisions that restricted affirmative action policies at UM specifically were cited as violations of international law. At the same time, there is an undeniable link between the Department of Women’s Studies and LSA’s current tenure recommendations and the long history of institutional restrictions against faculty of color. In 2008, students of color are coming together to protest the way UM’s administration has fostered an environment wherein faculty of color are few and far between, Ethnic Studies course offerings have little financial and institutional support, and student services for students of color are decreasing each year.
To Support Professor Andrea Smith: The Provost must hear our responses! Write letters in support of Andrea Smith’s tenure case. Address email letters to ALL of the following:
* Teresa Sullivan, Provost and Executive VP for Academic Affairs, LSA, firstname.lastname@example.org
* Lester Monts, Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, LSA, email@example.com
* Mary Sue Coleman, President, PresOff@umich.edu
Voice your ideas on the web forum at http://www.woclockdown.org/
To Support Women of Color at Michigan and the Crisis of Women’s Studies and Ethnic Studies: Attend the student organized March 15th Conference at UM!!!! Campus Lockdown: Women of Color Negotiating the Academic Industrial Complex is free and open to the public. Speakers include renowned activists and scholars Piya Chatterjee, Angela Davis, Rosa Linda Fregoso, Ruthie Gilmore, Fred Moten, Clarissa Rojas, and Haunani-Kay Trask. For more information and to register, visit: http://www.woclockdown.org/.
TALKING POINTS YOU CAN USE IN YOUR SUPPORT LETTER:
* Smith is author of the following books:
o Conquest: Sexual Violence and American Indian Genocide
o Native Americans and the Christian Right: The Gendered Politics of Unlikely Alliances
o Sacred Sites, Sacred Rites
* Smith is editor and/or co-editor of the following anthologies:
o Color of Violence: The INCITE! Anthology
o The Revolution Will Not Be Funded: Beyond the Non-Profit Industrial
o Native Feminisms Without Apology
o Forthcoming on theorizing Indigenous Studies
* She has published 15 peer reviewed articles in widely circulated academic journals including American Quarterly, Feminist Studies, National Women’s Studies Association Journal, Hypatia, Meridians, and the Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion
* Smith is the recipient of numerous prestigious awards from organizations such as the Lannan Foundation, University of Illinois, Gustavus Myers Foundation, Ford Foundation
* Smith was cited in the U.S. Non-Governmental Organization Consolidated Shadow Report to the United Nations
* A co-founder of Incite! Women of Color Against Violence and the Chicago chapter of Women of All Red Nations, she has been a key thinker behind large-scale national and international efforts to develop remedies for ending violence against women beyond the criminal justice system. As a result of her work, scholars, social service providers, and community-based organizations throughout the United States have shifted from state-focused efforts to more systemic approaches for addressing Page 2 violence against women. In recognition of her contributions, Smith was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005.
* As of June 2007, Professor Smith’s book, Conquest: Sexual Violence and American Indian Genocide (2005) had sold over 8,000 copies. Three-fourths of these sales have gone to college and university courses. In addition, the leading Native studies organization, Native American and Indigenous Studies Association organized a special panel about this book at their last annual conference (2007). The international impact of Conquest is evidenced by its reprinting in Sami (Sweden) and in Maori Institutions in New Zealand; by Professor Smith’s invitation to participate in an academic workshop in Germany based on the book; and by the book’s frequent use in Native Studies classrooms in Canada.
* She has also played a key role in contributing social-justice based research, teaching, and community building at the University of Michigan.
* Under Andrea Smith’s mentorship, a large number of undergraduate and graduate students have grown as intellectual members of the UM’s campus community.
FACTS FOR DR. ANDREA SMITH’S TENURE CASE
* Her intellectual work contributes to the fields of Native American Studies, Women’s and Gender Studies, Ethnic Studies, Religious Studies, and American Studies.
* Smith is jointly appointed in the Program in American Culture and the Department of Women’s Studies at Michigan.
* The Program in American Culture gave a positive recommendation for Smith’s tenure, while the Department of Women’s Studies gave a negative recommendation. After the tenure recommendations were released from the two departments, the College of Literature, Sciences, and the Arts reviewed the tenure file and also gave a negative tenure recommendation.
* She is currently the Director of Native American Studies at Michigan.