Two UC Davis professors and a professor emeritus have been awarded prestigious Guggenheim fellowships this year, enabling them to pursue extensive research in their respective fields.
Francis Dolan, a professor of English, Artyom Kopp, a professor of evolution and ecology, and Lynn Hershman Leeson, professor emeritus of technocultural studies are among 180 artists, scholars and scientists from around the United States and Canada to receive grants from the Guggenheim Foundation.
Established in 1925, the Guggenheim Foundation awards approximately 200 grants each year to individuals who have “demonstrated exceptional capacity for productive scholarship or exceptional creative ability in the arts.” The average amount of Fellowship grants in 2008 was approximately $43,200, according to the foundation’s website.
Dolan, who is currently the director of undergraduate studies in the English department, will spend her fellowship year working on her fourth book entitled True Relations: Reading, Evidence and Seventeenth-Century England. The book argues there is a relationship between debates about evidence in 17th-century England and debates about evidence among early modernists today, Dolan said.
“I’m thinking about a variety of ‘relations,‘” she said. “Texts that present themselves as reliable relations or accounts of something that really happened and how they were read and evaluated then and are employed as evidence now.“
Dolan’s research will likely require her to spend some time in London studying legal records and manuscripts, but she will spend the majority of her fellowship year in Davis.
“Most of the time I will be here in Davis, reading, thinking and writing,” she said. “For me, that’s a very happy prospect.“
Kopp, whose research focuses on the genetic and molecular mechanisms of evolution, will sequence and compare the RNA of hybrids of different populations of Drosophila flies to study how mutations in certain regulatory sections of genes play a role in the variation found between individuals within the same species. The research will require him to spend much of his fellowship at the University of Veterinary Medicine in Vienna, Kopp said in an e-mail interview.
“[This research] is very different from anything I’ve done in the past,” he said. “The whole point of this sabbatical is to explore a completely new field, learn new skills, hang out with colleagues I don’t normally meet and generally get outside of my comfort zone … If I stayed in Davis, the temptation to keep doing what I normally do might be too strong.“
Leeson, who is currently Chair of the Film Department at the San Francisco Art Institute, will spend her fellowship year working on her next film, Women Art Revolution, The (Formerly) Secret History.
UC Davis professor of anthropology, Marisol de la Cadena was a 2008 recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship. She has spent the last year conducting research in Peru focused on how people who live in different cultures participate in the same institutions. She said that one of the best aspects of the fellowship is the flexibility it has allowed her.
“The great thing about these grants is that you do whatever you want with them – you can spend a lot of time thinking, playing with ideas, with words, with forms of writing,” she said.
A total of 14 faculty members from across the UC system were recipients of 2009 Guggenheim fellowships, the most of any university system.
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