Four faculty members from the Ithaca College School of Humanities and Sciences will be traveling across the globe to study everything from how dance can empower nuns in northern India to how contemporary Namibian artists are depicting moments from their country’s history.
These research projects will be undertaken in 2017 and 2018 thanks to Fulbright grants awarded from the Core U.S. Scholar Program. The recipients are: Jennifer Germann, associate professor of art history; Lindsay Gilmour, assistant professor of theatre arts; Michael Smith, associate professor of history and environmental studies and sciences, and Paul Wilson, associate professor of art history.
Germann will travel to the University of York in the United Kingdom to conduct research into the Portrait of Dido Elizabeth Belle and Lady Elizabeth Murray, which was painted sometime between the 1770s and 1780s. At the time, it was rare for people of African descent such as Dido Elizabeth Belle to be named and recognized as subjects in portraits. Germann is going to write two journal articles providing more context and background into portraits such as these.
“I am delighted to have the opportunity to work with students and faculty at the University of York, and to dig into the history of this portrait,” Germann said.
For her research on the access nuns in northern India have to ritual dance, Gilmour will head back to a place she has spent quite a bit of time. “I’ve traveled to India repeatedly over the last 20 years, and I always dreamed I’d come back.” she said. “This grant is an opportunity to combine my passion for this area with my passion for dance.”
Once there, Gilmour will research the how dancing empowers nuns, as well as how it impacts their status within their community. “I really want to talk about what the ‘lived experience’ is for these nuns,” she said.
Smith’s research will take him to Nicaragua in fall 2017. There, he’ll be working with members of a village in Sabana Grande to help produce an environmental history of the community, which has thrived using energy sources such as solar power. He had previously visited the area in 2013 to participate in some sustainability projects.
“It was then that it became clear that my skill as a historian could be valuable in helping share the story of how this community has thrived,” he said.
Wilson will spend the spring and fall 2018 semesters at the University of Namibia. There, he’ll speak with local artists and museum curators about art produced in the 21st century, and how it depicts significant moments in the country’s history. He hopes that this new area of research can lead to the development of several classes back at Ithaca.
“Being awarded this Fulbright grant is an exciting opportunity,” he said. “I think it’s important for people in other countries to see how Namibian artists represent themselves.”
The quartet are the latest Ithaca College professors to be awarded Fulbright grants. Last February, the “Chronicle of Higher Education” named the college one of the top Master’s-level institutions for producing faculty winners.