Tag Archive for fellowships

Kuenzli to Research European Artist through Learned Societies Fellowship

Katherine Kuenzli, associate professor of art and art history.

Katherine Kuenzli, associate professor of art and art history.

Associate Professor of Art and Art History Katherine Kuenzli has won a prestigious American Council of Learned Societies fellowship for next year. The award will support her work on Henry van de Velde, a European artist whose aesthetic helped shape modernism.

The fellowship – one of 65 awarded this year to scholars in the humanities and humanistic social sciences – provides salary replacement for faculty who are embarking on six to 12 months of full-time research and writing.

“I am thrilled to have the support for and acknowledgement of my work,” Kuenzli said. “I began (the project) in 2009 and will devote next year to completing a full draft of a book manuscript – having the energy and train of thought will be essential.”

She said the project, “Designing Modernsim: Henry van de Velde from Neo-Impressionism to the Bauhaus emerged out of her first book, on “intimate modernism” in Paris in the 1980s. While that book examined paintings and prints artists created for private homes, theater stages, and street corners, Kuenzli’s new work broadens that scope to include not just painting, but also the applied arts and architecture. She’s studying the internationalization of art around 1900 and attempts to broaden the public for art, while maintaining a high level of formal and intellectual sophistication. The book uncovers a forgotten chapter in the emergence of abstraction, which has been understood as painting-specific; she hopes to demonstrate how “abstract aesthetics emerged out of an attempt to coordinate the arts, and to unify art and life.”

Matthew Goldfeder, director of the ACLS fellowship programs, said that this year’s fellows were “chosen for their potential to create new knowledge that will improve our understanding of the world and its diverse cultures and societies.”

The fellows represent more than 50 colleges and universities and an array of disciplines, including music, philosophy, art history and sociology. More than 1,000 applications were received for this year’s fellowship cycle.

Kuenzli’s project on van de Velde will explore how the painter, designer and architect – who worked in Belgium, France and Germany in the decades before WWI – developed an abstract formal vocabulary that proved seminal to both painterly modernism and an activist, engaged avant-garde.

Matthusen Honored with Fellowship from American Academy in Rome

Paula Matthusen, assistant professor of music, has won a prestigious Rome Prize from the American Academy in Rome. The prize will allow her to spend the next academic year in residence as a Fellow of the Academy. At Wesleyan, Matthusen teaches the course, “Laptop Ensemble,” which promotes knowledge and skills in live electronics performance and cultivates new musical repertoire for the group.

Paula Matthusen, assistant professor of music, has won a prestigious Rome Prize from the American Academy in Rome. The prize will allow her to spend the next academic year in residence as a Fellow of the Academy. At Wesleyan, Matthusen teaches the course, “Laptop Ensemble,” which promotes knowledge and skills in live electronics performance and cultivates new musical repertoire for the group.

Assistant professor of music Paula Matthusen has won a prestigious Rome Prize from the American Academy, which will allow her to spend the next year in the Eternal City working on the compelling compositions that distinguish her career.

Matthusen is a composer of acoustic and electronic music who, among other things, teaches Laptop Ensemble at Wesleyan, and records sound in historic structures and architecture. The resulting work reflects the character of these spaces, which include the Old Croton Aqueduct in New York. As an American Academy fellow, she will visit the paths of the Roman aqueducts.

“I’m elated,” Matthusen said. “It’s a very great honor and a wonderful opportunity.”

Each year, through a national competition, the Rome Prize is awarded to approximately thirty individuals who represent the highest standard of excellence in the arts and humanities. The American Academy in Rome provides extended time and support (room, board, stipend, work space, and freedom from every-day cares) for each fellow to pursue his or her own work and to live among other artists and scholars.

“The Rome Prize in composition has been awarded to such musical luminaries as Samuel Barber, Elliot Carter, and David Del Tredici,” said Dean of the Arts and Humanities Andy Curran. “We are extremely proud that Paula, who reflects the strength of Wesleyan’s music program, has been admitted to this select group.”

Her Old Croton Aqueduct work, developed by working with the Friends of the Old Croton Aqueduct, was called “eden’s arch of promise bending,” after a line in an ode composed at the opening of the waterwork in 1842.  The Aqueduct was closed in the mid-20th century, but for more than 100 years, it brought water from Westchester to Manhattan and enabled New York City’s enormous growth. The composition explores the nature of the aqueduct through field recordings and samplings of its resonant frequencies. Go here to listen to an excerpt.

The New York Times has praised Matthusen’s “creative vitality” and “vivid imagination.”

The Academy is a leading American overseas center for independent studies and advanced research in the fine arts and humanities. Founded in 1894, the Academy was chartered as a private institution by an act of Congress in 1905. On the occasion of the Academy’s centennial, the President of the United States signed a joint resolution of Congress in recognition of the Academy’s contribution to America’s intellectual and cultural life.

Pictured below are photos taken at Paula Matthusen’s “Laptop Ensemble” class on April 7. She also teaches a class on “Total Harmony.” (Photos by Ryan Heffernan ’16)


Sultan Awarded Fellowship at Berlin’s Institute for Advanced Study

Sonia Sultan

Sonia Sultan, chair and professor of biology,  professor of environmental studies, received a fellowship from the Wissenschaftskolleg/Institute for Advanced Study for 2012-13. She and approximately 40 other fellows from around the world will work on projects of their own choice for one academic year. The group is designed to represent a range of academic disciplines from both humanities and sciences.

As a fellow, Sultan will be working on a book project that is under contract with Oxford University Press for its Ecology and Evolution series.

“In this book, I aim to bring together recent findings from a range of biological disciplines to shape an updated understanding of the developmental and functional interactions between organisms and their environments,” Sultan explains.

The institution, located in Berlin, Germany, provides optimal conditions for fellows to devote themselves completely to their chosen intellectual task while profiting from the potential for stimulation and critique provided by an outstanding community of scholars. More information on the Wissenschaftskolleg is online here.


Wilkerson ’12, Williams ’12 Receive Teaching Education Fellowships

Nearly half of the nation’s students – 44 percent – are students of color, but only one of every six teachers is a teacher of color. To help recruit, support and retain individuals of color as K-12 public school teachers, the Woodrow Wilson-Rockefeller Brothers Fund Fellowships for Aspiring Teachers of Color offers scholarships to to ensure that greater numbers of highly qualified teachers of color enter public school classrooms around the country.

Randyl Wilkerson '12

This year, the Fund awarded fellowships to two Wesleyan seniors: Randyl Wilkerson ’12 and Nastassia Williams ’12.

Wilkerson, an English major, and Williams, an African American Studies major, were chosen through a competitive selection process. They will each receive a $30,000 stipend to complete a master’s degree in education, preparation to teach in a high-need public school, support throughout a three-year teaching commitment, and guidance toward teaching certification.

Wilkerson, of Chicago, Ill., is a member of Wesleyan’s AIDS Sexual Health Awareness Group and is the university’s campus campaign coordinator for Teach for America. She also volunteers as a sexual education teacher for Connecticut high school students. Wilkerson is a poet with a published collection, Astrobiology. She is a member of the Wesleyan Poetry Slam Team and is a winner of the Best Persona Piece Award, National Poetry Slam. She’s minoring in American Studies.

Wilkerson will use her fellowship to attend graduate school through the Boston Teacher Residency, and receive a M.A. in education.

“After I get my master’s, I want to teach in Boston Public Schools for a few years to understand how best to serve inner city youth today,” she says. “But ultimately, I want to start an enrichment program teaching youth to think and write critically, while empowering them through acts of creativity. I want to help public school students develop their own voices and gain a sense of agency.”

Nastassia Williams '12

Williams, of the Bronx, N.Y., works as a tutor for Middletown’s Traverse Square, an organization for elementary students. She also is a SAT tutor with the Let’s Get Ready program and is currently learning how to deejay. She’s minoring in English.

Williams has already applied to the Bard College Master of Arts Teaching Program, the Boston Teacher Residency and the Newark-Montclair Urban Teaching Residency.

“I’d like to earn a master’s degree in teaching and probably teach English at the middle school or high school level,” she says. “And with the fellowship, I will complete the program and continue to work in a public school in an urban or rural high-needs area.”

Current trends indicate that by the year 2020, the percentage of teachers of color will fall to an all-time low of five percent of the total teacher force, while the percentage of students of color in the K-12 system will likely near 50 percent. This Fellowship offers an opportunity to ensure that greater numbers of highly qualified teachers of color enter public school classrooms around the country.


American Council on Education Sponsors Close’s Fellowship at Wesleyan

Stacey Close has an interest in recruitment and retention practices for minority students interested in science and technology.

Stacey Close, a professor of history, philosophy and political science at Eastern Connecticut State University, will spend the current academic year at Wesleyan as an ACE Fellow. Sponsored by the American Council on Education, the program prepares fellows to serve American colleges and universities in leadership positions.

“It’s a pleasure to welcome Stacey Close to campus,” says President Michael S. Roth. “Wesleyan will surely benefit from the expertise he brings, and I hope he will fulfill his professional goals through his association with us.”

Close has served as director of faculty development at Eastern’s Center for Educational Excellence and as chair of the department of history, philosophy, political science and geography.

He has taught at Eastern since 1993 and was a recipient of Eastern’s Teaching Excellence Award in 2004. He is an authority on the history of African Americans in the Hartford area, with published papers on topics such as “Black Migration, Immigration, Garveyism and the Transformation of Black Hartford, 1917-28,” (The Griot, spring 2003) and “Fire in the Bones: The NAACP, Civil Rights, and Militancy in Hartford, 1943-67,” (Journal of Negro History, summer 2001). He also co-authored a chapter titled “Beyond Tuskegee: Why African-Americans Don’t Participate in Research,” in Handbook of African-American Health (Guilford Press, 2010).

Through the ACE program, Close plans to develop a base of knowledge that will contribute to the growth of his home institution. “While I want to work to increase my knowledge in strategic planning, resource allocation, budgeting, and management at the senior level, I would also like to learn more about equity, diversity, retention and community engagement,” he says.

He has a particular interest in issues such as prioritizing equity and diversity in strategic planning, as well as recruitment and retention practices for minority students interested in science and technology.

Olin Fellow Schonfeld ’13 Explores Presidential Birthplaces

Zach Schonfeld '13 visits the birthplace of President Calvin Coolidge in Plymouth, Vt. on July 1.

On June 7, Zach Schonfeld ’13 toured the modest 170-year-old site of President Grover Cleveland’s 1837 birthplace.

“Live from Caldwell, N.J.,” Schonfeld blogged on this day. “It’s not much—the house has been expanded significantly since Cleveland’s birth, but the siteitself still blends seamlessly into the background of Caldwell’s quiet suburban sprawl. Yes, I drove past it initially and had to circle back. Sorry, Grover. Just be thankful I didn’t steal your parking spot.”

Cleveland’s childhood home is one of 20-some presidential birthplaces Schonfeld is exploring this summer as a Wesleyan Olin Fellow. His project, partially funded by the History Channel, allows the English and American studies major to travel the country, visit presidential historical sites, interview locals and experts on presidential preservation and blog about his experience. His blog, appropriately titled, “I Visit Presidential Birthplaces,” is updated multiple times each week.

Schonfeld initiated the project in December 2010, near an abandoned farm. Here, he explored the birthplace of Calvin Coolidge in Plymouth, Vt. and found it to me one of the most memorial visits of his adult life. He returned to the “breathtaking, perfectly preserved” 19th century farm on July 1 and participated in the town’s Fourth of July parade. “There I paid respects—and wished the late Vermonter a happy and healthy 139th,” Schonfeld writes.

Hoping to visit additional presidential homes, he applied for and was awarded the Olin Fellowship, created by Wesleyan Writing Programs to support independent research or creative writing.

“My project explores the notion that presidential birthplaces are more than mere passive markers of historical trivia—that they can, and do, provide rich insight into the ways in which small,

Sarah Ruden: Guggenheim Fellow Translating Tragic Masterpiece at Wesleyan

Sarah Ruden is a new visiting scholar in Classics.

Q: Sarah, you received a Guggenheim Fellowship to translate the Greek tragedy trilogy, The Oresteia.  Please explain the cultural significance of this particular historical play and why your translation will differ from others?

A: The Oresteia is the first real tragic masterpiece. I think that the greatness of a piece of literature depends mainly on how much it lets us reflect on at once, and the Oresteia has everything: questions of human nature, the nature of the gods, the social order– in this case, the startling Athenian moves toward government by ordinary people. And it’s all conveyed in intense, complex, almost creepily beautiful language.

Fellowship has Croucher Focused on 19th Century East Africa

Second from left, Sara Croucher, assistant professor of anthropology, assistant professor of archaeology, assistant professor of feminist, gender and sexuality studies, received a SAR Weatherhead Fellowship to Study Archaeology in 19th Century East Africa. She's pictured here with Rachel Miller-Howard '10, third from left.

Second from left, Sarah Croucher, assistant professor of anthropology, assistant professor of archaeology, assistant professor of feminist, gender and sexuality studies, received a Weatherhead Fellowship to study the archaeology of 19th Century East Africa. She's pictured at the Ujiji excavation site in Western Tanzania during 2008 with, from left, Hajj M. Hajj, Tanzanian research associate; Rachel Miller-Howard ’10; and Florah Kessy, an M.A. student, from the University of Dar es Salaam.

As an archaeologist investigating 19th century sites in Zanzibar and Tanzania, it was impossible for Sarah Croucher to ignore the thousands of shreds of locally-produced and imported ceramics unearthed every day of excavations.

For archaeologists, these materials are vital to interpreting the social history of 19th century Islamic colonialism in East Africa.

“Many key questions remain uninvestigated, particularly in regard to how newly shared Zanzibar identities emerged during the 19th Century, which intersected with gender, religion, class and sexuality,” Croucher explains.

Sarah Croucher working in a trench

Sarah Croucher and research associate Hajj M. Hajj excavate at the site of Ujiji.

Croucher, assistant professor of anthropology, assistant professor of archaeology, assistant professor of feminist, gender and sexuality studies, has been awarded a nine-month Weatherhead Fellowship by the School for Advanced Research (SAR) in Santa Fe, N.M. Resident scholars approach their research from anthropology or from related fields such as history, sociology, art and philosophy, with fellowships providing scholars with “time to think and write about topics important to the understanding of humankind.” Scholars are provided with housing and office space on the SAR campus in Santa Fe.

Croucher was awarded the fellowship to complete writing up the findings of her research, tied together into a project titled “Consuming Colonialism: Archaeological Investigations of Ceramics and Identities in 19th Century East Africa.”

The core of this study results from survey and excavation work Croucher directed in 2003 and 2005 to investigate clove plantation sites on Zanzibar. Further material is drawn from a 2006 survey project along the central caravan route taken by traders during the 19th Century and excavations in 2008 at the site of Ujiji in Western Tanzania, made famous by the expeditions of Stanley and

Curran Awarded Summer Fellowship for Research

Andrew Curran

Andrew Curran

Andrew Curran, associate professor of French, has been awarded the 2009-2010 Paul Klemperer Fellowship at the New York Academy of Medicine. This fellowship is awarded to support summer research in history and the humanities as they relate to medicine, the biomedical sciences and health.

Curran is currently completing a book titled The Anatomy of Blackness, an interdisciplinary study related to the status of the African in the Enlightenment-era life sciences.