Jasper Cropsey painting of University of Michigan campus, 1855

Origins & Trajectories

Origins & Trajectories houses projects that focus on the trajectory of the university over time, with a focus on examining received histories, recontextualizing existing narratives, and centering heretofore ignored stories.

Project Sites

The 1817 Project: Land, Culture, Memory, and Repair

Beginning Winter 2024

This project site involves an historical examination of the foundational land transfer by the Ojibwe, Odawa, and Bodewadami nations in the 1817 Treaty at the Foot of the Rapids/Fort Meigs that was part of the university’s origins in Detroit and subsequent relocation to Ann Arbor. Our hope is to better understand this complex process and its longer term consequences in relation to broader histories of Native American and Indigenous land dispossession in the Great Lakes Region and across North America. Work on the 1817 project site will include deep, collaborative research into the early history of the university and Michigan territory, but also how this history has been represented, occluded, contested, and addressed through more recent legal challenges, Native student activism, and statewide forms of legislation since the 1970s (e.g., the Michigan Indian Tuition Waiver).

The 1959 Project: University of Michigan-Dearborn’s Origins and Timelines

Beginning Winter 2024

This project not only examines how the Dearborn campus got started in the 1950s, but also considers the experiences of its diverse stakeholders up to the present. To understand both the progress and missed opportunities of diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives at UM-Dearborn, The 1959 Project is launching three foundational initiatives in oral history, survey and focus group research, and archival development.