After spending the first year after graduation atthe University of Oregon, IU American Studies alumnus Jedediah Kuhn, Ph.D (summer2018) accepted a position at the University of Toronto, Mississauga. Demonstrating the valueof interdisciplinary studies, Dr. Kuhn teaches courses in History/Women and GenderStudies in the Department of Historical Studies. Asked about the difference between teaching and living in Canada and doing so in the US, Dr. Kuhn says, “One of the best (though challenging) things about teaching in Toronto is that it hasgiven me the opportunity to learn new things and grow in unexpected ways.”
“Toronto has an entirely different racial landscape, different histories of Indigenous law and policy, and different histories of migration. One of the biggest hurdles to overcome in Canada is the pervasive idea that racism is something that only happens in the U.S. While Canada’s history of settler colonialism and Indigenous genocide has become part of a broader public discourse in recent years, there seems to be much less public knowledge and conversation around other forms of racism, especially anti-blackness. I’ve had to do a bit of work to make my course readings relevant to students’ lives.” In his first year at the University of Toronto, Dr. Kuhn was awarded the Bissel-Heyd Fellowship from the Centre for the Study of the United States. With the fellowship money, he hosted a one-day symposium on Indigeneity across the U.S.-Mexico border, bringing in some fantastic scholars to present their work, including Josie Saldaña Portillo (NYU), Andrew Jolivétte (UC San Diego), and Brian Klopotek (University of Oregon). He says, “It was wonderful getting to know and interact with these important scholars and to talk about how Indigeneity does (and does not) translate across borders.” Dr. Kuhn’s current research continues to build off of his dissertation work on Native American-Mexican American relations in the American West, with an article currently under review. About this article, he says, “It’s about Redbone, one of the most successful Native American rock bands. They had numerous hits, including 1974’s ‘Come and Get Your Love.’ Though the band is famous as a Native American band, its members are both Native and Chicanx, and core member Pat Vegas identifies as a “Mexican Native American” in his memoir. I use the case of Vegas and Redbone to think through the various ways people have to strategically present themselves in order to be racially legible to others. While work on Native-Chicanx relationst ends to focus on the rhetoric of the Chicano Movement and assumes that people neatly fit into identity categories, my work asks us to think about just how messy everyday lived experience can be.”
Teaching for both the Women and Gender Studies program and the History program at the University of Toronto, Dr. Kuhn offered courses of Indigenous Feminisms and Decolonization, Reading and Writing in Women and Gender Studies, and Gender and Sexuality in the U.S., 1945-Present. He also taught a freshman honors seminar course titled Nations Colliding that looked at contemporary Indigenous issues around the world. In academic year 2020-2021, he plans to add an Intro to Women and Gender Studies, as well as Critical Race Theory in Women and Gender Studies.