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Fulbright: Whitmire to examine historic African American presence in Denmark

Ethelene Whitmire, professor in the School of Library and Information Studies at UW–Madison, has received a 2016-17 Fulbright Scholar award to conduct research during the fall 2016 semester for her book project, The African American Presence in Denmark in the 20th Century.

Ethelene Whitmire

Ethelene Whitmire in Denmark

On a 2013 visit to the country, Whitmire happened across the grave of Ben Webster – an African American saxophonist who had played with Duke Ellington and others.

“The more I visited the country, the more I learned about other African Americans who had a connection with Denmark. I wanted to learn more and to tell their stories,” she says.

In her research, she aims to address two questions: Why did African Americans go to Denmark? What were their experiences as African Americans in Denmark?

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Fulbright: Drewal to work with, learn from metal artists in Morocco

Henry J. Drewal

Henry J. Drewal

Henry J. Drewal, Evjue-Bascom Professor of Art History and Afro-American Studies at UW–Madison, began to discover the central role of the senses in the arts in the 1960s. While serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in Nigeria, he apprenticed himself to a Yoruba sculptor, an experience that proved to be transformative. He followed up in 1978 with mask-making apprenticeship with another Yoruba sculptor in Nigeria.

Through these experiences, he says, “I gained insights into Yoruba artistic concepts, not only in discussing them with artists and observing them as they emerged from the creative process, but also in attempting to achieve them in my own carving under the tutelage of Yoruba artists.”

Drewal has received a 2016-17 senior Fulbright Scholar award to continue exploring African art through what he calls Sensiotics – “the study of the multi-sensorial dimensions of the arts, both in the making and the reception of the arts by body-minds.”


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