James Fenelon, Cal State San Bernardino professor of sociology and director of the Center for Indigenous Peoples Studies (CIPS), will spend the 2021-22 academic year as a visiting professor at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania.
He will serve as the college’s Lang Visiting Professorship for Issues of Social Change, which has appointed “outstanding social scientists, political leaders, and social activists whose careers demonstrate sustained engagement with major issues of social justice, civil liberties, human rights, and democracy,” according to the Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility website.
His academic home will be in Swarthmore’s Department of Sociology and Anthropology and the Lang Center.
Fenelon called the appointment “an honor, but it is just as much related to why we do the work we do, for social justice in the environment, Indigenous justice in academia, and justice for all life on earth at such a critical time in humanity’s experience.”
While at Swarthmore, Fenelon will teach two courses: Indigenous Peoples and Globalization in the fall, and Native Nations and Environment in the spring.
The professorship will also help to enhance the CISP’s work “in both existing and new directions, especially with the focus on Environmental struggles with Indigenous models on (a) World Systems level,” Fenelon said.
CSUSB and Swarthmore will “benefit by linking research to environmental and climate change studies, and as has been previously developed in the Center for Indigenous Peoples Studies,” he said. “Research support will also be provided by Swarthmore and the Eugene M. Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility, likely advancing work already developed with the Water Resources Institute at CSUSB, which benefits both universities, the Institute and my own professional agendas associated with our Center for Indigenous Peoples Studies on a global scale.”
The CIPS at CSUSB “is the primary site for innovative programs for the study of American Indians and local, national and international Indigenous Peoples. The CIPS programs involves CSUSB faculty, students and administrators, partnerships with Native Nations (Tribes) in the region and nationally, and strong connections with Indigenous Peoples throughout the Americas and the world, many currently in contact with Center personnel and the university.”
The Lang Visiting Professorship was endowed by Eugene M. Lang, an alumnus of Swarthmore ’38, chair emeritus of the college’s Board of Managers and founder of REFAC Technology Development Corp. In 1981, he created the “I Have a Dream” Foundation, which, through its mentoring program, has guided thousands of lower-income students nationwide through their K-12 education and culminating with an assured college opportunity after high school graduation,” according to Lang’s Swarthmore biography webpage.