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Six professors, six students win Humanities Fellowships at Illinois

Andrea Lynn, Humanities Editor


CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Six professors and six graduate students have won fellowships for the academic year 2005-2006 to the Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

The newly elected Fellows will spend the year engaged in research projects that consider “Belief,” IPRH’s theme for the year.

Fellows also will participate in the yearlong Fellows’ Seminar and will present their research at the IPRH annual conference in late spring 2006.

Two postdoctoral scholars from other institutions have been named recipients of the Illinois Humanities Post-Doctoral Fellowships, which also are given by IPRH, and will spend the year in residence at the Urbana-Champaign campus, also engaged in research projects related to the new theme. They also will teach one course apiece in an appropriate academic department.

The IPRH Faculty Fellows, their departments and projects:

• Thomas Albrecht, art and design, “Extremities: Bodies and Belief Making”

• Peggy Miller, speech communication and psychology, “Self-Esteem in Folk Theory and Practice: How American Parents Embrace and Personalize a Cultural Ideal”

• Andrew Pickering, sociology, “Cybernetics, Spirituality and Technologies of the Self”

• Junaid Rana, Asian American Studies Program, “Islamophobia and Racism: An Ethnographic Study of Muslims in Chicago”

• Bruce Rosenstock, Program for the Study of Religion, “Germans, Jews and the Theologico-Political Question”

• Gillen D. Wood, English, “Sacred Music, Sacred Nations: Handel, George III and the Making of British National Culture”

IPRH Graduate Student Fellows, their departments and projects:

• Teresa Gale, art and design, “Stories of Truth, Stories of Fiction: Shifting Realities in Sound and Image”

• Robin E. Jensen, speech communication, “Challenging Beliefs About Sex: The Gendered Rhetoric of Sexual Education Campaigns During the Progressive Era”

• Tzu-kai Liu, anthropology, “Text, Power and Personhood: Engaging Minority Identities in Post-Socialist China”

• Keguro Macharia, English, “Queer Kingship in the Black Atlantic”

• David McDonald, musicology, “My Voice is My Weapon: Music, Nationalism and the Poetics of Palestinian Resistance”

• Michael Rosenow, history, “Casualties in the United States’ Industrial Army: The Rituals of Dying and the Politics of Death Among Workers, 1877-1918”

The Illinois Humanities Post-Doctoral Fellows:

• Erica Lehrer, Ph.D. earned in 2004 in anthropology from the University of Michigan, “ ‘Shoah-Business,’ Holocaust Culture and Salvage Ethnography in a Post-Jewish Landscape: An Inquiry into the Ethnic Self after Genocide”

• Robert A. Yelle, Ph.D. earned in 2002 in the history of religions at the University of Chicago, “Legal Fictions: Genealogies of Law, Religion and Rhetoric”

Matti Bunzl, IPRH director, said that the “Belief” theme should allow the new fellows to consider “the many ways in which belief is a foundational category of human existence.”

“It suffuses every aspect of life from the sacred to the secular, from the banalities of everyday experience to the greatest depths of philosophical reflection. Belief reaches across the most diverse domains, yet its many meanings seem to divide into two broad categories.

“Belief appears in conjunction with religion – an infinitely complex and varied phenomenon that has accompanied, perhaps even constituted, human existence across space and time.”

Belief also has wide and varied functions beyond the field of religion, said Bunzl, who is an anthropologist.

“In the broadest sense, it denotes our conviction or acceptance that certain things are true or real,” Bunzl said. “This expansive sense reaches into all aspects of human experience, where it seems to govern daily activities as much as any form of scientific inquiry.”

Faculty Fellows are released from one semester of teaching. They also are asked to teach one course during their award year or the year immediately following it on a topic related to their fellowship.

Graduate Student Fellows receive a stipend and a tuition and fee waiver from IPRH.

All IPRH Fellows, including the Post-Doctoral Fellows, are expected to remain in residence on the U. of I. campus during their award year.

Applications for IPRH Fellowships are typically distributed in the early fall for the following academic year, and U. of I. faculty and graduate students are invited to apply for the awards, which each year focus on a different theme. The theme for 2006-2007 will be “Beauty.”

For more information about the IPRH Fellowship Programs is available from IPRH director Bunzl or IPRH associate director Christine Catanzarite at 217-244-7913.