Faculty members receive Fulbright Scholar award
Four University faculty will teach and conduct research abroad as recipients of Fulbright Scholar grants.
They are Ruth Behar, Jennifer Robertson and Nancy Hunt of U-M Ann Arbor and Seyed Mehdian of U-M-Flint.
Fulbright recipients are chosen for academic or professional achievement and for demonstrating extraordinary leadership potential in their fields.
Behar, professor in the Department of Anthropology, will spend part of the 2007 winter semester lecturing on "Reflexivity and Methodology in Cultural Anthropology" at the University of Buenos Aires. She also will be doing research on the roots of the tango in Buenos Aires and undertaking a preliminary study of the Jewish community, which has "a long, interesting, and anguished relationship with the city," she says.
"I hope to form lasting intellectual relationships with colleagues in Argentina and to use the Fulbright semester as a foundation to build strong connections to the country as a researcher, teacher and writer," Behar says.
Robertson is a professor in the Department of Anthropology. Her research and monograph project, which will be based at Tel Aviv University from April to August 2007, involves a comparison of late 19th- and early 20th-century Japanese and Jewish interpretations of "blood," or ancestry, that shaped modern Japanese and Israeli society. She will explore bioethics and the application of biotechnologies, such as genetic testing and ideologies of "public hygiene," which involves the containment of both deviance and disease.
"I have been working in and on Israel since 1997, and the Fulbright represents my first opportunity to conduct research there for an extended period of time," she says. "It also marks my commitment to the productive comparison of Israel and Japan, my primary area specialty, in my future publications and teaching."
Hunt, an associate professor in the Department of History, leaves Jan. 3 for the Democratic Republic of the Congo for a year of teaching and research at the University of Kinshasa. She will conduct a seminar on the history of Congolese cities and complete research for a history of the Congolese production of comics from the 1930s to the present. In addition, Hunt hopes to return to a village where she did field work in 1989-90 near Kisangani and try to understand how people there have coped with war and poverty over the last 15 years.
"I could not be going to the Congo at a more interesting time," she says. "And for me professionally, this period of research could not be coming at a better time."
Mehdian, a finance professor in the U-M-Flint School of Management, says he plans to lecture and conduct research during winter 2007 at the University of Bucharest on the efficiency and performance of financial institutions in Romania.
"I am tremendously happy to be awarded this prestigious grant," he said. "This award provides me with an opportunity to extend my research, to learn more about a country that is still at an early stage of transition to a market economy and to launch my collaborative relationship with the finance faculty members at the University of Bucharest. I definitely will learn at lot through this grant to share with my students at the School of Management."
Established in 1946 under legislation introduced by the late Sen. J. William Fulbright, D-Ark., the program's purpose is to build mutual understanding between the people of the United States and other countries.
The four U-M faculty are among approximately 800 faculty and professionals in the United States who will travel abroad to 140 countries during the 2006-07 academic year through the Fulbright Scholar Program.
The program has about 800 foreign faculty come to the United States; U-M is welcoming 11 of them this academic year. They include Svetlana Barseghyan, chemistry, Armenia; Ulan Brimkulov, education, Kyrgyz Republic; Irfan Civcir, economics, Turkey; Sahiba Gafarova, American literature, Azerbaijan; Renge Jibu, sociology, Japan; Xiuqing Li, law, China; Tetsu Okazaki, public administration, Japan; Marcel Paulssen, business administration, Germany; Katalin Takacsne Biro, archaeology, Hungary; Volker Wulf, computer science, Germany; and Ruiying Yang, linguistics, China.
The U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs sponsors the program.