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Interview with Jill Sweet
Jill Sweet intended to be a dancer, but her work with native Americans to learn about their dance turned into an interest in cultural anthropology which she studied at the University of New New Mexico before coming to Skidmore in 1981. In this interview she discusses the inspiration she found with a department that mixed the theoretical courses in sociology and anthropology with archeology and social work where theory was put into practice. She also discusses interviewing skills learned from her time with the Pueblo Indians which she passed on to students using role play, a skill she learned through her actress mother. She recounts her development of Native American Week on campus and the Tang exhibit of Edward Curtis photos from the Scribner Library collection that inspired creations by living native Americans. During President Porter’s tenure, she experienced a growing demand for academic excellence, efforts at student diversity, and attempts to recruit native American students. She also discusses her friendship with Helen Porter and faculty-staff relations which she learned of through her marriage to Steven Rosenbach, a member of the Skidmore security staff. As a person with MS she comments on campus accessibility. Since her retirement in 2010, she has written a book about her bohemian mother, “Life as a Tarantella,” and articles written originally for a local paper published now as a book, “Whiskers and Tails,” as well as articles and newsletters for Friends of the Saratoga County Animal Shelter.
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