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Research Awards Support Humanities Projects

Humanities Research Awards will go to ten professors in the College of Liberal Arts. The awards provide recipients with $5,000 per year for three years, for a total of $15,000, to be used toward the completion of a humanities project.

Recipients will meet at regular intervals to discuss their work during the three-year funding cycle at the end of which they will present their projects to the University of Texas at Austin community. Recipients come from six departments, with all ranks of faculty represented.

The award was established by Dean Randy Diehl to address the shortage of available outside grants to fund humanities research.

“Humanities scholarship is a critical part of the mission of the College of Liberal Arts, and in times of budgetary difficulties it is especially important for the college to help underwrite excellent scholarship,” Diehl explains. “The Humanities Research Awards will support the work of some of our most productive faculty members.”

Karen Grumberg, assistant professor in the Department of Middle Eastern Studies, will use the award to complete her project, tentatively titled “Hebrew Gothic: Narrative, Nation, Aesthetic.”

Says Grumberg, “Thanks to the award, I will be able to conduct research at relevant collections in the US and abroad, and to present my work-in-progress at a variety of academic venues. One of the best features of this award is that it provides funds that are spread over a period of three years; this gives a real sense of long-term support, which is significant because it signals that UT and the College of Liberal Arts believe in the viability and originality of my project. Particularly in this relatively early stage of my academic career, such a vote of confidence is invaluable.”

Guy Raffa, associate professor in the Department of French and Italian, will use the award to deepen his scholarship on Dante Alighieri, author of "The Divine Comedy," with the project “Dante’s Bones.”

Raffa will use funds in part to support his international research, which will include a trip to Dante’s tomb and museum in Ravenna, Italy. Raffa emphasizes the benefit of this award not only for his own scholarship and the academic world, but also for students at The University of Texas at Austin.

“The Humanities Research Award helps me take my Dante scholarship in a new direction as I focus on the medieval poet's cultural and historical legacy. This new research, in turn, contributes to an exciting new component of my graduate and undergraduate teaching, including ‘Dante's Hell and Its Afterlife,’ a signature course I will offer for the first time in Spring 2011.”

Marjorie Woods, professor in the Department of English and the Program in Comparative Literature, will also use funds for international research on her project, “Weeping for Dido: Male Writers and Female Emotions in the Late Medieval and Early Renaissance Classroom.” She is enthusiastic about the community the awards seek to build.

In her words, “Regular meetings with other recipients are a wonderful part of the overall structure of the award. I look forward to talking with other scholars here at UT who are engaged in archival and related research projects, and I know that it will help keep me on track. For those of us who have to travel to do our research, this kind of support and encouragement from the university is almost as important psychologically as it is financially. My work is done almost entirely alone, and having the COLA community behind me means more than I can express. I am very grateful.”

Ten additional faculty members will be granted Humanities Research Awards next academic year.

This year’s other recipients include:

Hans Boas,
associate professor of Germanic studies, for “Linguistic Infrastructure in Texas: Past potentials, current challenges, and future opportunities”

Yoav Di-Capua, assistant professor of history, for “Arab Thought on the Eve of Dystopia, 1939-1967”

Alison Frazier,
associate professor of history, for “The Beginning of the World in the Italian Renaissance: Conversations about Creation, 1300-1500”

Sabine Hake
, professor and Texas Chair of German Literature and Culture, Germanic studies, for “Political Affect: The Fascist Imaginary in Postfascist Cinema.”

Tracie Matysik, associate professor of history, for a monograph, “Spinoza Matters” and a translation, “Women on Nietzsche, Gender, and Sexuality”

Robert Oppenheim, associate professor of Asian studies, for “An intellectual History of Korea and American Anthropology”

Paula Perlman, professor of classics, for two Cretan studies, “The Inscribed Laws of Ancient Crete” and “Constructing Crete: Society and History, ca. 1000-400 B.C.”