Category: Research

UW’s Tripp to lead team examining role of women in peace-building in Africa

An international team of experienced researchers will examine women’s role in peace-building in Africa, supported by $961,600 grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Aili Mari Tripp

Aili Mari Tripp

 The two-year project, which begins July 1, will be administered by the Center for Research on Gender and Women at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and led by Aili Mari Tripp, UW–Madison professor of Political Science and Gender and Women’s Studies.

The project consortium also includes the Chr. Michelsen Institute in Bergen, Norway, and Isis-Women’s International Cross-Cultural Exchange, in Kampala, Uganda.

The researchers include scholars and women’s rights activists from Nigeria, Somalia, Sudan, Uganda, Norway, United States and Finland. They will be conducting research in Somalia, Algeria, northern Nigeria, South Sudan, and Sudan. Continue reading

21 UW-Madison students awarded 2016-17 Fulbright U.S. Student Program grants

Twenty-one University of Wisconsin–Madison students have been awarded 2016-17 Fulbright U.S. Student Program grants, the U.S. Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board announced recently.

These students are among more than 1,900 U.S. citizens who will teach, conduct research, and provide expertise abroad for the 2016-2017 academic year through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program, the country’s flagship program for international exchange. Recipients of Fulbright awards are selected on the basis of academic and professional achievement, as well as record of service and leadership in their respective fields.

The program, which provides recipients with funding for a full academic year of study, research or assistant teaching abroad, is sponsored by the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, with significant contributions from participating governments and host institutions.

Since its establishment in 1946 under legislation introduced by the late U.S. Sen. J. William Fulbright of Arkansas, the Fulbright Program has given more than 370,000 students, scholars, teachers, artists, and scientists opportunities to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas, and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns.

UW–Madison has been among the leading U.S. research institutions producing Fulbright fellows and scholars. In the most recent round, UW–Madison produced 60 applications, with 34 chosen as semi-finalists, including 21 finalists, who have been offered and accepted grants. Continue reading

Cullinane receives distinguished honor for accomplishments, service

For the past 25 years, Michael Cullinane has stood at the heart of Southeast Asian Studies at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

Cullinane has taught the introductory course in Southeast Asian Studies since 1991 and, in 2009, added a class on Southeast Asian Refugees of the Cold War. He has taught these courses for 48 semesters, with an average of 80 students per semester. Since 2006, the highly rated introductory course has been included in the programs for five First-year Interest Groups (FIGs).

Also since 1991, Cullinane has served as associate director of the Center for Southeast Asian Studies (CSEAS), one of UW–Madison’s seven U.S. Department of Education National Resource Centers (Title VI). He has been the primary author and manager of nine Title VI grants that have brought more than $11.7 million in program and fellowship funds to the university, as well as five Henry Luce Foundation grants totaling more than $1.8 million.

In addition, he is an internationally respected historian of Southeast Asia, particularly the Philippines – where his connection dates back to the late 1960s, as a teacher with the Peace Corps in Cebu City. His research has focused on 19th and 20th-century Philippine social, political, and demographic history.

For his accomplishments and long record of service, Cullinane has received numerous tributes, including being named an “Adopted Son of Cebu City” (2014) and receiving the Judith Craig Distinguished Service Award from UW–Madison’s College of Letters and Science (2015). This year, the UW–Madison campus has further honored him by adding the “distinguished” prefix to his faculty associate title. Continue reading

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

“In the beginning, there was no word, only sensations,” says Henry John Drewal.

“The senses are crucial to understandings of the arts, as well as the formations of persons and cultures, and histories,” explains Drewal, Evjue-Bascom Professor of Art History and Afro-American Studies at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

Henry J. Drewal

Henry J. Drewal

Drewal began to discover the central role of the senses in the arts in the 1960s. While in Nigeria teaching French and English and organizing arts camps as a Peace Corps volunteer, 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, and the Gelede mask he created still dances in annual festivals.

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.”

He adds, “In other words, my own bodily, multi-sensorial experience was crucial to a more profound understanding (oye) of Yoruba art, and the culture and history that shape it. This process of watching, listening, carving, making mistakes, being corrected by example, and trying again, was a transformative sensorial experience for me.”

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.” Continue reading

2016 Day in Africa brings 185 high school students to campus

The University of Wisconsin–Madison welcomed 185 juniors and seniors from eight Wisconsin high schools on April 13 for the 2016 Day in Africa program at Union South, sponsored by the African Studies Program.

The high school students explored the languages and cultures of Africa through a variety of sessions led by UW-Madison faculty, students, and staff. Many sessions incorporate the theme of health and healing in Africa and beyond.

The participating high schools were: Madison West, Madison East, Beloit Memorial, Pardeeville, Westosha Central, SAPAR, Oregon, and Kettle Moraine Global.

UW Day in Africa 2016 012Neil Kodesh, associate professor of history and director of the African Studies Program, gives the keynote remarks on Global Health in Africa to open the day’s program. Continue reading

Fulbright: Whitmire to examine historic African American presence in Denmark

Walking through a cemetery and noticing a name that seemed out of place led Ethelene Whitmire to a surprising discovery – and has provided the basis for her latest line of research.

“In the summer of 2013, I spent six weeks in Copenhagen,” explains Whitmire, professor in the School of Library and Information Studies at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. “I lived near Assistens Kirkegård, a cemetery where Hans Christian Andersen is buried. I would take a shortcut to my favorite café. On the path back to my apartment, I saw a prominent headstone with a very non-Danish name.”

Etheline Whitmire in Kerteminde, Denmark, where African American painter William Henry Johnson lived in the 1930s.

Etheline Whitmire in Kerteminde, Denmark, where African American painter William Henry Johnson lived in the 1930s.

The stone read “Ben Webster, 1909-1973.”

“I discovered that Ben Webster was an important African American jazz musician who lived in Copenhagen,” she says. She further learned that Webster – a saxophonist who had played with Duke Ellington and others – was among seven African American jazz musicians buried in Denmark.

“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.

Whitmire 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.  She aims to address two questions: Why did African Americans go to Denmark? What were their experiences as African Americans in Denmark? Continue reading

International Division, IRIS award seed grants for interdisciplinary research

Six interdisciplinary research projects that blend place-based scientific inquiry with international expertise have been awarded incubator grants by the International Division and the Institute for Regional and International Studies (IRIS) at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

These projects focus on Africa, South Asia, Eurasia, and Latin America, in fields as diverse as public health, child development, civil engineering, climate science, archaeology, genetics, virology, and environmental studies.

Offered this year for the first time, the grants are aimed at bringing together faculty in STEM fields who are conducting place-based research abroad with experts from regional and area studies centers within IRIS.

“These grants are based on the idea that scientific inquiry will improve through collaboration with regional experts, while area specialists will benefit from working with colleagues in the physical, biological, and quantitative social sciences,” says Richard Keller, associate dean of the International Division.

Funding for these awards, of up to $50,000 each, comes from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and other International Division funds. Continue reading

Faculty profile: Anthropologist Bowie ‘embraces the unpredictable’

The story of Katherine Bowie’s life and career might be titled “The Accidental Anthropologist” or perhaps “The Serendipitous Scholar.”

Bowie has followed a winding path guided by her constant curiosity and an openness to pursue unanticipated opportunities. As she explains, “Being a good anthropologist involves being well-prepared to embrace the unpredictable, just ready to go with the flow.” This philosophy has served her well.

This daughter of a Mayo Clinic doctor was once on a track to the medical profession herself, but instead opted for an odyssey that has taken her halfway around the world and back many times. Her journey led to her current position, as a professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Here, she also has been affiliated with and served as director of the Center for Southeast Asian Studies, one of UW–Madison’s federally supported National Resource Centers.

Katherine Bowie

Katherine Bowie

In her research, Bowie has focused on Thailand, living in-country for over eight years over the past 40 years.  Exploring Thai peasant history, political economy, social movements, electoral politics, gender and Theravada Buddhism, her publications range from serious topics like counterinsurgency and vote-buying to the bawdy humor of “joking monks.” (For a list of publications, go to Bowie’s faculty webpage.)

In recognition of her standing, she was elected last fall as vice president of the Association of Asian Studies (AAS), which places her in line to become president of the organization in 2017. With over 7,000 members drawn from a wide range of disciplines in the Humanities and the Social Sciences, the AAS, founded in 1941, is the largest organization in the world of scholars specializing in the study of Asia.

Asked about her career journey, Bowie tells a series of what she calls “shaggy dog stories,” often punctuated with laughter. Continue reading

UW–Madison ranks among top producers of both Fulbright Students, Scholars

The University of Wisconsin–Madison is one of just 14 institutions nationwide with the highest numbers of both students and faculty to receive U.S. Fulbright grants for 2015-16.

The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs recently announced the U.S. colleges and universities that produced the most 2015-16 Fulbright U.S. Students and Scholars. The Fulbright Program is the U.S. government’s flagship international educational exchange program. Top-producing institutions are highlighted annually in The Chronicle of Higher Education. Continue reading