Some Seattle stories are the stuff of local lore: Chief Sealth negotiating with white settlers. The removal of downtown’s Denny Hill. The rise of Starbucks and Amazon. Other stories are less well known. These are the focus of the 2018 Summer Institute in the Arts & Humanities (SIAH), a program created by the UW Undergraduate Research Program and the Simpson Center for the Humanities.
The first half of the course focused on readings, class discussion, guest speakers, and field excursions. The class toured the Duwamish River by boat with James Rasmussen, former chairman of the Duwamish Tribe, who shared how the river had become toxic and what’s being done to remediate the toxicity. They toured Pioneer Square to learn about the original Gay Seattle before the LGBTQ community moved to Capitol Hill, and took the popular Underground Seattle Tour. In all, they had nearly a dozen field experiences.
“We wanted to do a deep dive, to partner with people in the community to have them tell the underrepresented stories of Seattle,” says Magelssen, speaking for a teaching team that included Jason Groves, assistant professor of Germanics; Lauren Berliner, assistant professor of media & communication and cultural studies at UW Bothell; and Shelby Lunderman, PhD student in drama. “We wanted to equip the students with a firehose of stories but also the modes people are using to tell those stories, from walking tours to podcasts to interactive maps.”
The students’ challenge was to tease out stories that are sometimes pushed aside or benignly neglected to make way for the mainstream story.
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