You too can do it! The winners listed below, from a wide range of fields, are a source of inspiration. They have worked hard in developing and polishing their proposals, seeking guidance from faculty advisors, as well as the Fellowships Office.
If you have a project that will require funding so that you can spend time abroad, applying for fellowships is the way to go! Visit the GSAS Fellowships Office website for a description of fellowship services to help you on your way.
GSAS Recipients of the Fulbright Cultural Exchange Fellowship Program sponsored by the Institute of International Education (IIE)
Recipients of this award demonstrated not only the worthiness and feasibility of the proposed project, but also showed that they are well-qualified to fulfill the project while serving mini-ambassadors, with strong knowledge of the destination country and strong interpersonal skills.
Margaretha Blignaut, Anthropology
Blignaut’s research will focus on the Roma community in Turkey and how it struggles over what it means to be both Roma and Turkish. Maintaining a Roma identity is important for receiving support from the European Union, which seeks to promote multiculturalism and respect for cultural differences rather than enforced integration. At the same time, Turkish Roma see benefits in integrating within Turkish society. The project will examine how the Romas strive for achieving both goals.
Daniel Borengasser, East Asian Languages and Civilizations
As he conducts his research in Japan, Borengasser will address the question of Buddhist artistic production and especially how the pervasive rhetoric of emptiness and non-attachment to the material world can be reconciled with Buddhist extravagant artistic production in the medieval period. He will do so with a study of the remarkable sculptural program of the 13th-century temple hall Rengeōin in Kyoto, a monumental 33 bay structure containing a kaleidoscopic ensemble of 1,000 life-sized wooden sculptures. He argues that medieval Japan maintained an extraordinary ritual culture of mass-produced images and texts.
Kristen Zipperer, Anthropology
Zipperer will conduct research in Nepal in the border city of Birgunj, which is an important economic center. Through ethnographic study, she will focus on political power in the local economy that is largely gained through illicit invisible activities by a corrupt shadow government. She argues that political anthropologists tend to overlook the important role of the invisible and its interaction with the visible, a process of concealment and revelation that is vividly illustrated in this border city.
William Nation, Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations
With the aid of a Fulbright in the Netherlands, Nation will research the private religion of a group of Assyrian merchants living in central Anatolia at the dawn of the 2nd millennium BCE. The Netherlands, and Leiden in particular, have long been a center for Assyriology broadly, including research into the Old Assyrian period. His goal is to examine the role that religion played in the social, civil, and economic lives of these merchants, most of whom were unaffiliated with temple or state. He will do so through analysis of a large group of cuneiform texts. There is hardly any place other than the Netherlands that has such a concentration of resources and people relevant to the project.
Kristin Oberiano, History
Oberiano will conduct research in Guam focusing on Filipino migration and the making of America’s Pacific Empire, 1898–1997. She argues that the Filipino migrations dramatically changed the physical and cultural landscape of the island, with a strong impact on the indigenous Chamorro people. She will deal with two waves of Filipino migration to the US territory of Guam. The first took place at the turn of the century when Filipino revolutionaries were exiled to Guam. The other occurred in the aftermath of World War II, when hundreds of Filipino laborers were recruited to build a US air force base and a naval station in Guam with the purpose of making the island “the tip of the spear” of the US Navy in the Pacific. This research will highlight the impact of the US in Philippine history and of the Philippines in US history.
Stephanie Leitzel, History
Leitzel will examine the history of the European textile industry, which was based on international exchange as far back as the Middle Ages. She argues that the international component stemmed from the dyestuffs that gave finished cloths their color and value. Raw materials for the dyes—such as plants, insects, and minerals—required a supply chain that extended from the shores of the Mediterranean to South Asia and (after the 1520s) to the Americas, making dyes one of the best gauges of the pre-modern global textile industry. She will examine the evidence on this “economy of color” in Genoese and Tuscan archives and construct a global history—with Italy at its center—from the sources of 15th- and 16th-century Italian textile production.
Maya Garcia, Slavic Languages and Literatures
Garcia’s project in Russia deals with Tsar Ivan the Terrible (1547–1584) and his queer legacy in the arts. She argues that this legacy looms large in the cultural imaginary of Russia to this day: writers and artists of all political orientations continually return to Ivan and his reign for creative and aesthetic inspiration. She further argues that artists working from a queer perspective have found expressive possibility in the radically different modes of spirituality, morality, sexuality, and gender that existed in early modern Russia. While historians continue to investigate the complex narratives surrounding Ivan IV, and political thinkers debate his impact on Russian governance and national identity, scholars of cultural studies have yet to systematically study the rich history of queer artistic engagement with his legacy. She will take on that task through a comparative study of specific works by some of Russia’s most widely recognized queer artists as they explored non-normative modes of gender and sexuality in their art: Piotr Tchaikovsky’s Oprichnik (1872) and Sergei Eisenstein’s Ivan the Terrible (1944). From there, she will conduct a broader survey of relevant works of the early 20th century and will also consider the contentious and vivacious afterlives of these artists and their works in the contemporary Russian cultural context.
Shireen Hamza, History of Science
Hamza’s project concerns medical exchanges in the Indian Ocean World, 1200–1550, focusing on India. Her preliminary research suggests that a dynamic mixing of medical knowledge in India goes back to the medieval period, when practitioners of different medical traditions collaborated and learned from one another, especially between the 13th and 16th centuries, setting an important precedent for later periods. Her project will focus on the formation of a traditional medicine, Unani Tibb, as it moved from the Middle East to South Asia during this period, encompassing both Graeco-Arabic and Sanskrit medical knowledge. She will examine several influential Tibb texts which were composed in both Persian and Arabic, some still in circulation among practitioners today. She argues that translation and knowledge production in a multilingual environment is a key theoretical concern of the history of science. To date, while scholars are aware of this intermingling of medical traditions in India, the study of heterogenous medical practices has focused on contemporary India or the colonial period.
Galen Stolee, Anthropology
Stolee’s project is a study of truth and regulation in the Indonesian news industry, focused on what happened at the end of the three-decade authoritarian regime of President Suharto, under whom political dissent and press freedom were suppressed. He argues that now, just 20 years after the end of the regime, many Indonesians, including current President Joko Widodo—have started to ask whether democracy has “gone too far.” Most strikingly, journalists and editors, having endured decades of state censorship, now feel that mass media has become too liberalized and may require increased regulation. Today’s biggest threat to journalism, they claim, comes not from the state, but from economic pressures, technological change, religious conflict, and especially from so-called wartawan abal-abal (“journalists in name only”)—independent online producers outside the reach of regulators, viewed widely as irresponsible and dangerous.
Stolee plans to conduct one year of ethnographic fieldwork in Jakarta examining the everyday lives, practices, discourses, and ethics of journalists, editors, government officials, and citizens involved in the production and regulation of the Indonesian news media industry. Although a substantial body of literature has been written on media in Indonesia, most focuses on one particular subset in isolation (e.g. the newsroom), while often leaving out crucial components like state regulators and activists. Ultimately, he seeks to articulate a concept of the free press that looks beyond a binary relationship with the state.
Natasha Murtaza, Government
Murtaza’s project in India concerns the effect of political competition on governance, focusing on the common assumption in the political science literature that intense party competition leads to state-building and the construction of effective bureaucracies. Her preliminary research suggests, however, that in democracies in the developing world, competition and short electoral periods can have adverse effects for bureaucratic capacity (and through it, governance) because of the shorter time horizons of political actors. She finds that dominant parties with less competition can invest in building bureaucratic capacity because they have a longer time horizon, despite the uncertainty introduced by short electoral periods.
Murtaza proposes to test her argument through both quantitative statistical analysis and qualitative interviews and archival work on the national and subnational levels in India. She notes that India provides an ideal test case with its national and subnational variation in party competition and state capacity. She also argues that her project will provide a new theoretical framework through which to understand why India has remained a stable democracy despite its’ disadvantageous economic and social structural conditions. Her larger dissertation is a comparative study of India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, looking at the similarities and differences found among the three major countries in South Asia.
Amulya Nandava, Anthropology
Nandava will conduct ethnographic research in India on why love between individuals of different castes has suddenly become a focus of intense concern in that country. Hundreds of incidences of violence against inter-caste couples across India have been recorded by NGOs in the past five years, an unprecedented number and puzzling, since inter-caste marriages average only 10 percent of all marriages in the nation. Her preliminary research suggests that the intensity of the outcry surrounding inter-caste marriage is due to its perceived power as a site of change. She argues that the possibility of inter-caste marriage is vested with transformative potential towards greater equality and is part of modern political-economic transformations taking place in the country, which give rise to new anxieties and hopes.
Nandava will conduct ethnographic interviews and observation with stakeholders in the city of Coimbatore in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu—an area in which tensions relating to inter-caste marriage are especially visible. She notes that social science studies of caste and marriage focus on arranged marriage as reproducing caste difference. Her project emphasizes that love itself is, in fact, a site of caste contestation.
DDRA Fulbright-Hays Awards
Amsale Alemu, African and African American Studies
Alemu will conduct a socio-political history of the Ethiopian Student Movement (ESM) and its collaborations with the US movement for Black freedom. Preliminary research suggests that not only did such collaborations exist, but that they also evidence a history of ESM radicalization that is grounded in a transnational Ethiopian/Black American radical tradition with origins at the turn of the 20th century. For the Ethiopian part, she will use archival documents (organizational papers, student publications, pamphlets, dissertations, and literary works) to document the radical partnerships between ESM members and affiliate American organizations, their mutually impacting collaborations, and the theoretical innovations these collaborations produced. By accounting for the actual transatlantic links between Black Americans and Ethiopians from the turn of the 20th century to the aftermath of Ethiopia’s 1974 Revolution, this project contributes to the history of political thought of both groups, who forged at-times challenging alliances by claiming intra-Black identity that was enriched by their subjective and political differences. Her project contributes to an understanding of transnational political movements.
Renugan Raidoo, Anthropology
Raidoo will study elite gated communities in South Africa, which are growing urban spaces in the Global South. His preliminary research suggests that these communities echo old and new forms of racial segregation and economic inequality. To date, more has been done on the marginalized and dispossessed and how they fare on the peripheries; less study has been devoted to elites. He seeks to understand what sustains inequality by focusing on the feelings and affect of elites. He also examines the issue of the use of private security as signs of the waning of sovereign control and addresses questions of what forms of citizenship and belonging persist for the elites. He will engage in ethnographic study of gated community residents in Johannesburg and two other gated communities, looking at one less expensive community with Afrikaans-speaking residents, plus people with different socioeconomic status within communities, individuals, and clubs. He will reinforce this with archival work, examining items such as application claims by real estate developers and tax revenues.
Maryam Patton: History
Patton will explore cultures of time and temporality in the Mediterranean from the mid-15th to the late 16th century. She focuses in particular on the multicultural zones of the Eastern Mediterranean, namely Renaissance Italy and the ever-expanding Ottoman Empire from the period after the conquest of Constantinople in 1453, to the turn of the Islamic millennium in 1591 (1000 AH). She argues that in Mediterranean cities, Christians, Jews, and Muslims alike lived and followed their own religious calendars and divisions of the day: To walk through such a city would be like traversing several time zones. Her methodology will employ a three-part investigation of how temporal imaginations were manifested on three different levels: past, present, and future time. Through studying textual evidence found in a variety of sources such as almanacs, account books, and literature on auspicious time, she aims to clarify how time was organized, how different social classes experienced and wrote about time, and ultimately how people lived their lives in accordance with multiple overlapping senses of time.