Sitka Fellows Program Project Proposal

With another tip of the hat to KP for inadvertently informing me of this opportunity, I’d like to share my Sitka Fellows Program application with you so you have a template in mind for your application next year (assuming you are a United States citizen under the age of 30).

Project Proposal

I am a fervent reader, a multi-media artist, an avid kayaker, and a prolific writer. I write encyclopedia entries, a blog, handbooks, a web comic, fan mail, newsletters, my own line of sarcastic greeting cards, newspaper articles, letters to editors, proposals, poems, lectures, policy research papers, and lengthy epistles to friends.

When I’m not writing, I’m discussing ideas with friends and colleagues over Skype, editing for clients, outlining my next research project, helping my family, collaborating with my writing group, organizing academic conferences, attending book club meetings, and hosting lavish tea parties.

My goal for the Sitka Fellows Program is to produce my first non-fiction graphic novel. My book will focus on the events surrounding statehood for Alaska (1959) and the formation of Nunavut (1999) from an outsider’s perspective. My ongoing dissertation project interrogates mainstream American and Canadian perceptions of the most northern parts of North America. From resource extraction to Arctic sovereignty, northern areas are of pressing interest to outsiders, but misunderstandings persist about the political concerns of northern communities as well as the history behind current issues. Sharing part of my dissertation research in graphic form will be useful to my own students as well as other educators and curious members of the public.

In my book, I will weave a narrative of nation-building, exploration, and northern fascination that spans four countries and six centuries. By incorporating a range of materials, including newspaper articles, photographs, cartoons, maps, comic book characters, film stills, excerpts from novels, poems, and interviews, I will compose a compelling story that transforms the way scholars, students, and the public think about the North. It will be a treasure trove of lost or forgotten materials regarding key moments of state formation in North America. Inspired by Sarah Hurst’s comic book A Native Lad: Benny Benson Tells Alaska’s Story and Howard Zinn’s graphic textbook A People’s History of American Empire, my book’s commentary will be a useful classroom resource for introducing new ways of thinking about and engaging with the historical and contemporary issues facing northern places and peoples.

In my quest to prepare my first book, I have combed through libraries, sought out rare comic books, attended conferences, written articles, delivered guest lectures, tracked down antique maps of North America, scrolled through microfiche, and participated in collaborative seminars. With so much research logged in my head and my hard drive, the next step is to create the book, preferably in a quiet, transformational environment.

To work, I need only a desk, tea kettle, lamp, and collegial conversations. Along with my research materials, I will bring my passion for collaboration, my earnest interest in others, and my friendly disposition to Sitka. I have yet to live in a northern community, and I would welcome the opportunity for first-hand experience in a place that I have studied for so long. The Fellows Program promises to be a stimulating and rewarding experience in my ongoing pursuit of knowledge and an ideal forum for completing my innovative project.

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