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University of Iowa News Release

Sept. 30, 2003

Expert On Indigenous Nations To Speak At UI Oct. 3

A leading expert on the legal relationships between indigenous nations and federal and state governments will visit the University of Iowa Friday, Oct. 3, as part of a year-long series called "Cultural Frameworks for Civil Liberties." This series commemorates the 50th anniversary of the landmark U.S. Supreme court decision Brown v. Board of Education.

David Wilkins, associate professor of American Indian Studies, Political Science and Law at the University of Minnesota, will address the contradictory experiences of African Americans and U.S. indigenous peoples in a lecture titled "From Measured Inclusion to Measured Exclusion." The lecture will take place at 4 p.m. in room 704 of the Jefferson Building.

Wilkins has written extensively about the similarities and distinctions that have arisen in the political and legal status of African Americans and aboriginal peoples since Brown. In his lecture, he will examine why these two groups in particular have consistently been set apart in the United States -- one of the world's most diverse countries -- for racial, geographical, cultural and political reasons.

Wilkins received his bachelor's degree in sociology from Pembroke State University in 1976, his master's in political science and American Indian policy from the University of Arizona in 1982 and his doctorate in political science from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill in 1990. Prior to joining the faculty at the University of Minnesota, Wilkins taught at the Navajo Community College, Tsaile, Navajo Nation, Arizona from 1984-87, was an adjunct lecturer in 1990 and an assistant professor for the Department of Political Science and American Indian Studies at the University of Arizona from 1991-97.

Wilkins has written articles for a variety of journals and authored and co-authored six books, including "American Indian Politics and the American Political System" and "Uneven Ground: American Indian Sovereignty and FederalLaw."

The "Cultural Frameworks for Civil Liberties" series is co-sponsored by the Departments of American Studies, History, African American World Studies Program, American Indian and Native Studies, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Perry A. and Helen Judy Bond Fund for Interdisciplinary Interaction, and the Office of the Provost Ida Cordelia Beam Distinguished Visiting Professorships Program.

The series will continue with two more lectures this fall and five during the spring 2004 semester. While not all lectures will be specifically about Brown v. Board of Education, public talks by distinguished scholars will all consider relevant themes, thereby extending the discussion well beyond the single case to its symbolic value in American history and in society today. By hosting this series the UI is participating in a nationwide observance of this momentous anniversary overseen by the Brown v. Board of Education 50th Anniversary Commission, created by presidential order in September 2001.

Upcoming lectures are listed below. All talks begin at 4 p.m. in 704 Jefferson Building (located at the corner of Dubuque and Washington streets) unless otherwise noted.

Oct. 31, "Renovating the National Imaginary: Remembering World War II," Barbara Biesecker, UI associate professor of communication studies

Nov. 3, "Colonial (Counter)Inscriptions: 19th-Century Captives of the American Indian Assimilation Policy," Jacki Rand, UI assistant professor of history

Jan. 30, "Fighting for Democracy: African American Military Stories about World War Two," Kimberley Phillips, associate professor of history, American studies, and Black studies, College of William and Mary

Feb. 6, "Getting Around Brown: Fifty Years of Bad Faith," George Lipsitz, professor of ethnic studies, University of California San Diego

Feb. 27, "Lyric Protest: Robert Hayden's 'Peacock Room'," James C. Hall, associate professor of African American studies and English, University of Alabama

April 2, "'Freedom Was All They Had': Civil Rights in the Age of Emancipation," Leslie A. Schwalm, UI associate professor of history

April 16, "Dissolving Boundaries: A History Of Racial Passing In Postwar America," Kevin Mumford, UI assistant professor of history

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all UI sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires an accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact the American studies department in advance at 319-335-0320.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Stephen Pradarelli, 319-384-0007,; Writer: Ololade Coker