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September 16, 2002

Rockefeller Foundation gives UCSC $325,000 humanities award

By Ann M. Gibb

The Rockefeller Foundation has awarded a $325,000 Humanities Fellowship to UCSC. "This Humanities Fellowship is a very competitive program," said Lynn A. Szwaja, deputy director of creativity and culture at the Rockefeller Foundation. "This year we received 46 applications and gave eight awards."

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The UCSC award supports a three-year program of visiting scholars, small public conferences, and workshops focused on contemporary and historic globalization issues. The new program, "Other Globalizations: Histories, Trans-Regionalism, and Cultural Formations," will be based at the campus's Center for Cultural Studies.

"The Rockefeller Foundation has dealt with global studies for years," said Szwaja. "The terrorist attacks of September 11 made us feel our work was more relevant than ever, and that it's important to continue funding humanistic studies, and keep the flow of ideas coming."

This is the second Rockefeller grant earned by the Center for Cultural Studies, which was established in 1988 and has been at the vanguard of work in global cultural studies. Codirected by Gail Hershatter, professor of history, and Christopher Connery, associate professor of literature, the Center for Cultural Studies supports research, discussion, and events about cultural studies in a global framework.

The center's affiliated faculty at UCSC, in literature, history, history of consciousness, anthropology, politics, art history, and film, have been involved in a great range of research groups around related themes, including Civilizational Thinking, Asia-Pacific-American Studies, Inter-Americas Studies, and Pacific Island Studies. Visiting scholars also participate in the center's activities and research.

"With the Rockefeller Foundation's support, the Center for Cultural Studies is particularly interested in developing links with scholarly communities, such as those in Eastern Europe, Central Asia, and the Pacific, whose relations with U.S. universities are at an early stage," said Connery. Because the Rockefeller grant provides a $40,000 annual salary plus benefits for visiting scholars, applicants need not be dependent on support from their home institutions.

"We're hoping to attract scholars working in new areas of research, who can bring perspectives from the humanities disciplines to the study of globalization," said Hershatter. "Without a sense of history, cultural variation, or philosophical depth, discussions of globalization are apt to be superficial and incomplete."

For more information on the "Other Globalizations: Histories, Trans-Regionalism, and Cultural Formations," see the Center for Cultural Studies web site.

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