Texas A&M names 10 Arts & Humanities Fellows for 2020

Texas A&M University today announced the selection of 10 faculty members as Arts & Humanities Fellows for 2020. Each fellowship includes a three-year grant of $15,000 to support scholarship in the humanities or creative work in the arts.

Since its launch in 2015, the Arts & Humanities Fellowship Program has sponsored projects by 41 faculty members, including the 10 newest fellows.

The program is designed to recognize the importance of the arts and humanities in shaping and advancing human civilization, Texas A&M Vice President for Research Mark A. Barteau said.

“For the past five years, our Arts & Humanities Fellowships have encouraged our faculty to generate knowledge in history, literature, political science, philosophy, architecture, interdisciplinary critical studies and other disciplines in the humanities,” Barteau said, “or to pursue excellence in the performing or fine arts. The intellectual vibrancy of these fields is essential, not only to Texas A&M’s research and scholarship, but to our education of society’s leaders. I am excited by the breadth of topics and creative methods represented among the projects of this year’s fellows, and look forward to their fruition.

All Texas A&M faculty who engage in scholarship in the humanities or in creative work in the arts are eligible to apply for the fellowships.

The program received 43 applications for the 2020 fellowships, according to Gerianne Alexander, associate vice president for research and director of the program.  “We are thrilled by the high quality of this year’s applications,” Alexander said, “and encourage all eligible faculty members to develop proposals for the 2021 fellowships.”

Each spring Arts & Humanities fellows are chosen by a peer-review committee from project-based applications. Selections are based on merit and originality, professional qualifications, clarity, benefit to the public and the quality of the overall presentation.

Arts & Humanities Fellowships for 2020 were awarded to the following faculty members:

José Luis Bermúdez, professor, Department of Philosophy & Humanities, College of Liberal Arts, who plans to develop a cross-disciplinary understanding of different conceptualizations of selfhood in the ancient, medieval and early modern periods, based on the proceedings of a federally funded workshop and his research into Aristotle’s theory of the soul.

David Donkor, associate professor, Department of Performance Studies, College of Liberal Arts, who will produce a book, Staging Independence, about Ghana’s 1957 independence commemoration and exploring the national, international and transnational importance of Ghana’s maiden independence.

Side Emre, associate professor, Department of History, College of Liberal Arts, who will apply a combination of visual arts, computer technology, codicology, history, religion, anthropology and mysticism to generate a multi-lingual, interdisciplinary study of unpublished Arabic and Ottoman manuscripts that feature hand-drawn Sufi diagrams of mystical cosmologies.

Carmela Garritano, associate professor, Department of International Studies, College of Liberal Arts, who will complete work on a book that combines energy humanities scholarship with African film and media, demonstrating the crucial role of humanities-based research in addressing fossil-fuel dependence and human-influenced climate warming, which disproportionately affects residents of the global south.

Sonia Hernandez, associate professor, Department of History, College of Liberal Arts, who will use the example of an attempted lynching of a Mexican migrant in 1900-era Texas to produce a book on how such moments of violence led regional Mexican and Anglo American elites and working-class Mexicans from Texas and northern Mexico to create unlikely cross-border alliances to mitigate violence.

Britt Mize, associate professor, Department of English, College of Liberal Arts, who will generate a public scholarly database and a traditional scholarly book to document the influence of the eighth century epic poem “Beowulf” on the modern world and to analyze its impact on academic and popular culture (scholarly, creative, political, educational and religious) from the 18th century to today.

Stephen Badalyan Riegg, assistant professor, Department of History, College of Liberal Arts, who will produce a book that explores how and why the Romanov dynasty both encouraged and encumbered European settlement in the Russian empire’s strategically vital periphery between 1800 and 1917 while examining how diverse Westerners benefited or hindered tsarist imperialism.

Hope Hui Rising, assistant professor, Department of Landscape Architecture & Urban Planning, College of Architecture, who will investigate approaches for designing sustainable settlements in places near rivers, lakes and oceans that can proactively adapt to the effects of climate change —such as rising sea levels or intense flooding — while also engaging in mitigation strategies that are more effective and timely.

Andrea Roberts, assistant professor, Department of Landscape Architecture & Urban Planning, College of Architecture, who will generate a book that examines the struggles of more than 500 Texas freedom colonies, exploring issues of land stewardship, ownership and cultural production while documenting the ongoing resistance to social forces that may seek to erase heritage, place and “free” black identity.

Robin Veldman, assistant professor, Religious Studies Program, College of Liberal Arts, who will study a phenomenon she calls ”incivil religion” — religious discourse that embraces incivility as its underlying mode of expression — with a focus on how this discourse portrays the environmental crisis, which may undermine the narrative of progress fundamental to discussions about America’s purpose and destiny.

About Research at Texas A&M University: As one of the world’s leading research institutions, Texas A&M is at the forefront in making significant contributions to scholarship and discovery, including in science and technology. Research conducted at Texas A&M generated annual expenditures of more than $952 million in fiscal year 2019. Texas A&M ranked in the top 20 of the most recent National Science Foundation Higher Education Research and Development survey based on expenditures of more than $922 million in fiscal year 2018. Texas A&M’s research creates new knowledge that provides basic, fundamental and applied contributions resulting, in many cases, in economic benefits to the state, nation and world. To learn more, visit Research@Texas A&M.