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U. of I. humanities research program honors 14 with fellowship awards

Andrea Lynn, Humanities Editor

Released 3/6/2007

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Six faculty members and eight graduate students at the University of Illinois have won fellowship awards for 2007-2008 from the Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities.

The new Fellows will spend the year engaged in research that will consider the next academic year’s theme, “Rupture.”

Fellows also will take part in the yearlong Fellows’ Seminar and will present their research at the IPRH annual conference in late spring 2008.

The new IPRH Faculty Fellows, their departments and projects:

Jonathan Ebel, religious studies, “Heroes in the Cause of God: The Great War, Trench Religion, and American Re-illusionment”;

Jed Esty, English, “Tropics of Youth: The Bildungsroman and Colonial Modernity”;

Ellen Moodie, anthropology, “Democracy and Security After the Cold War: Shifting Meanings of Violence in Postwar El Salvador”;

Marc D. Perry, anthropology/African American studies, “Critical Blackness and the State: Hip Hop in Late Socialist Cuba”;

Renee R. Trilling, English/Medieval Studies, “Unto the Breach: Rupture, Continuity, and the Anglicization of Norman History”;

Oscar E. Vazquez, art history, “The End Again: Degeneration, Rupture, and Desire in Spanish Modern Art.”

The new Graduate Student Fellows, their departments and projects:

Kevin Coe, speech communication, “Why We Fight: Presidential Justifications for War From WW II to Iraq”;

Melissa Free, English, “Selective Memory: Africa’s Overlooked Influence on British Identity, 1883-1915”;

William Hope, anthropology, “ ’Donde nace lo cubano’: Aesthetics, Nationalist Sentiment, and Cuban Music-Making”;

Julilly Kohler-Hausmann, history, “The Rise of a Punishing Logic: The Punitive Turn in American Criminal and Social Welfare Policy, 1968-1980”;

Jin-kyung Park, Institute of Communications Research, “Constructing Racial ‘Backwardness’: Colonial Governance, Medicine, Female Reproductive Physiology, and Conjugality in Colonial Korea”;

Victor Pickard, Institute of Communications Research, “Media Democracy Deferred: Rupture and Resolution in U.S. Communications Policy, 1945-1949”;

James H. Warren, history, “Empire and Anxiety: Colonial Revolutions, Public Men, and the Idea of Authority in Mid-Nineteenth-Century Britain”;

Hui Xiao, East Asian languages and cultures, “Rupturing Modernity, Engendering Interiority: Divorce in Post-Mao Chinese Literature and Culture.”

In past years, IPRH has awarded six graduate student fellowships, but this year the number was raised to eight, thanks to the support of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the Nicholson Endowment Fund.

In addition, two of the graduate student fellowship recipients, Kevin Coe and Julilly Kohler-Hausmann, have been designated as Nicholson-IPRH Fellows for 2007-2008.

The Nicholson Endowment is a gift of Grace W. Nicholson, who was an undergraduate in liberal arts and sciences at Illinois, and John A. Nicholson, a faculty member in the philosophy department at Illinois for 33 years.

The Nicholson Endowment, established in 1999, provides support for academic programs in LAS and excellence in the study of the humanities on campus.

According to Matti Bunzl, director of IPRH, the term “rupture” is central to humanistic inquiry and “foundational to the very formation of the object of study.”

“To understand any product of the human intellect presupposes fixing it in a temporal order,” Bunzl said. “Periodicity organizes contemporary scholarship in the humanities.

“But how do we know when one era ends and another begins? How do certain events and developments come to mark the boundaries between eras? And what is the relationship of these events and developments to the sensibilities that come to characterize these periods?”

Bunzl offered an example: the transition from the medieval to the early modern, which “depends on a set of routinized historical markers, such as the ‘discovery’ of the New World, the invention of printing, the Protestant Reformation.”

“In a field like American literary and cultural history, wars and century markers organizing inquiry are self-evident. Scholars of the contemporary world are likewise quick to pronounce that we live in an age of distinct and unprecedented phenomena – postmodernity, globalization and empire.

“The theme of ‘Rupture’ invites critical reflection on such dynamics – not only the question of periodization across disciplines and eras, but also how we define the eras that bound our own work in the humanities.”

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

Graduate students receive a stipend and a tuition and fee waiver from the IPRH.

All IPRH Fellows are expected to remain in residence on the Illinois campus during the award year and to participate in the program’s annual conference and related activities, including the interdisciplinary Fellows’ Seminar.

The ninth annual IPRH conference will take place March 29-30 at the Levis Faculty Center, 919 W. Illinois St., Urbana.

The conference, which is free and open to the public, will focus on this year’s IPRH theme, “Beauty.”

Buzz Spector, professor and chair of the art department at Cornell University, and a former member of the U. of I. faculty, will deliver the keynote address, “The Desire to Beautify.”