Decolonial feminist scholar Julietta Singh is the keynote speaker at College of the Atlantic'...Decolonial feminist scholar Julietta Singh is the keynote speaker at College of the Atlantic's 50th commencement.Dr. Julietta Singh is the Stephanie Bennett-Smith Professor of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at the University of Richmond and the author of several books, including The Breaks (Coffee House Press, 2021), a long letter to her young daughter about race, inheritance, and queer mothering at the end of the world. It was hailed as a best book of the year by entities such as the New York Public Library, Book Riot, and Seminary Co-op Bookstores.

“Our graduating seniors pick the commencement speaker and they’ve chosen someone with the intellect, creativity, and insight that will inspire and challenge us all on that fantastic day in June,” said COA President Darron Collins ’92. “I’m honored that Dr. Singh will join us and become a part of the larger COA community.”

Singh will receive an honorary Master of Philosophy degree in human ecology during the ceremony. Also receiving an honorary MPhil will be Native American Passamaquoddy historian, author, teacher, filmmaker, lecturer, storyteller, and community leader Donald Soctomah.

“Our graduating seniors have chosen someone with the intellect, creativity, and insight that will inspire and challenge us all on that fantastic day in June.”

Singh’s academic work is rooted in decolonial feminist ideas. She is the recipient of an American Council for Learned Societies fellowship and has been a visiting fellow at Columbia University’s Institute for the Study of Sexuality and Gender, Arizona State University’s Center for Imagination in the Borderlands, and Princeton University’s Humanities Center. Her work has been published in journals such as South Atlantic Quarterly, Women & Performance, Social Text, Cultural Critique, and Studies in Gender and Sexuality.

Singh’s first academic book, Unthinking Mastery: Dehumanism and Decolonial Entanglements (Duke UP, 2018), has emerged as a vital theoretical touchstone for global scholars and artists grappling with the politics of mastery that drive our professional, political, and personal pursuits. Her second book, No Archive Will Restore You (Punctum Books, 2018), turns theory into creative praxis through an experimental meditation on the body as a plural and porous archive. It was a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award and a CLMP Firecracker Award. She is currently at work on Museum of Forgotten Returns, an experimental documentary collaboration (with Chase Joynt) about radical matriarchs, interracial alliances, and anticolonial histories across 140 years, told through the portal of a single house.

Soctomah works with both the US and Canadian governments on the protection of culturally significant sites, artifacts, and knowledge, and serves as the tribal historic preservation officer for the Passamaquoddy tribal communities in Maine and New Brunswick. Soctomah has served eight years in the Maine Legislature as the Passamaquoddy Tribal Representative, passing legislation that has helped the Tribes in economic and cultural ways. He served 10 years in the Passamaquoddy Forestry Department as a silviculturist on 130,000 acres of Maine forestland and was recently appointed by US President Joseph Biden to serve on the Roosevelt Campobello International Park Commission. Soctomah has written several books about Passamaquoddy history and has co-authored three award-winning children’s books.

Donald Soctomah, rear, will receive an honorary Master of Philosophy in human ecology from Colleg...Donald Soctomah, rear, will receive an honorary Master of Philosophy in human ecology from College of the Atlantic during the school's 50th commencement ceremony.Soctomah has written several books about Passamaquoddy history, as well as co-authored three award-winning children’s books: Remember Me: Tomah Joseph’s Gift to Franklin Delano Roosevelt (Tilbury House Publishers, 2015), The Canoe Maker (Maine Authors Publishing, 2019), and Tihtiyas and Jean (Bouton d’or Acadie, 2004). The latter, which tells the story of the first meeting between the French and the Passamaquoddy people in 1604, was issued to all schools across Canada. He has also appeared on National Public Television, Maine Public Television, Canadian Broadcasting, and Animal Planet, and is a frequent consultant to the Smithsonian Institution, US Library of Congress, the Maine State Museum, and the Maine Historical Society. He is proud to be a part of the PBS series Native America, which opens its fourth year with a Passamaquoddy film about culture, traditions, and life in the Passamaquoddy communities.

Soctomah has received the Guardians of Culture and Lifeways International Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association of Tribal Archives, Libraries, and Museums. He is the holder of a community award from Maine’s Washington Academy and received the Constance Carlson Award from the Maine Humanities Council. He was born and raised in the Pleasant Point Passamaquoddy community and later moved to the Indian Township Passamaquoddy community where he presently resides. Soctomah is the father to 11 children and grandfather to 22.

College of the Atlantic is the first college in the US to focus on the relationship between humans and the environment. The intentionally small school of 350 students and 35 faculty enriches the liberal arts tradition through a distinctive educational philosophy—human ecology. A human ecological perspective integrates knowledge from all academic disciplines and from personal experience to investigate—and ultimately improve—the relationships between human beings and our social, natural, built, and technological environments. The human ecological perspective guides all aspects of education, research, activism, and interactions among the college’s students, faculty, staff, and trustees.
To learn more about COA’s 50th commencement ceremony, please visit