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Michelle Lee Brown

Michelle Lee Brown, a political science PhD candidate in the College of Social Sciences at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, is a recipient of the Charles Eastman Fellowship. The fellowship supports scholars working in any area of Native American and indigenous studies who are committed to increasing diversity in their disciplines through research, teaching and mentoring. Fellows are selected on the basis of academic achievement, demonstrated commitment to educational diversity, and potential in research and teaching.

“I’m truly grateful for the support and mentorship from the Hawaiʻi community and especially the Indigenous Politics Program in the Department of Political Science. I’m excited for the opportunity to serve in a leadership role in increasing diversity through research, teaching and mentoring, and look forward to reciprocating the support and care I received as I move into the next phase of my work,” said Brown.

Brown’s dissertation takes up indigenous digital media (video games, virtual reality, game workshops) and highlights specific indigenous theorists from the respective communities. This research focuses on two overlapping areas: how indigenous literary theory works exceptionally well as indigenous media science; and how these expressions of indigenous digital media shift players/users from many backgrounds to (re)connect and engage with their relations—human and nonhuman—though place-based approaches. This work asks how these relational and place-based ways of sensing the world and our responsibilities in it can bridge gaps between indigenous politics, environmental studies and literary/media studies.

The Charles Eastman Fellowship is a two-year residential fellowship at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, with one course taught in the second year. Throughout the appointment, fellows are expected to continue research and work on their dissertations, while participating in Dartmouth’s academic life. Part of a multidisciplinary cohort, Charles Eastman Fellows participate in mentoring and professional development programing.

More about Michelle Lee Brown

Brown, whose Basque ancestral roots can be traced back to the Bidart/Plage DʻErretegia area in Lapurdi, was raised in Mashpee Wampanoag territories around Massachusetts’s Buzzards Bay and Cape Cod areas. Currently residing in Honolulu, she strives to uphold her relational commitments to her communities.

She has published peer-reviewed work on the Never Alone video game, a methods chapter on indigenous political theory approaches to video game research, and “Liminal,” a comic in the forthcoming Relational Constellation collection from Michigan State University Press and Native Realities Press. She is currently working on a virtual reality project on water and relationality, and a comic based on multiple levels of impostor syndrome.