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(Boston) — Four faculty members from Boston University’s College of Arts and Sciences were selected as winners of fellowships from the prestigious John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, which recently announced its 187 U.S. and Canadian awards.
BU recipients include Thomas Barfield, professor and chair of anthropology, for his project entitled “Political legitimacy in Afghanistan;” Frank J. Korom, associate professor of religion and anthropology, for “The impact of modernity on traditional Bengali scroll painters and singers;” Richard Primack, professor of biology, for “Climate Change in Thoreau’s Concord;” and Julian Zelizer, professor of history, for “National Security Politics from the Cold War to the War on Terrorism.”
“These Guggenheim fellowship awards are well deserved recognition of the achievements of our four colleagues as scholars and researchers,” said Boston University President Robert A. Brown. “We are fortunate to have professors Barfield, Korom, Primack and Zelizer at Boston University.”
Guggenheim Fellows are appointed on the basis of unusually impressive past achievement and exceptional promise for future accomplishments.
“The grant is a wonderful opportunity to continue my work on Afghanistan, particularly to develop the long-term perspective on the country’s history and culture,” said Barfield. “The hope in these regions is that after more than 25 years of invasion and civil war, Afghanistan will once again return to an era of peace and hope for the future.”
“I am truly honored to be a 2006 recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship,” said Korom. “This award will allow me to take a leave of absence to complete a multi-year project on the impact that modernity has been having on a caste of scroll painters/singers in West Bengal, India, and to spend time helping these artists achieve the recognition they deserve. Receiving a Guggenheim is a once-in-a-lifetime privilege.”
Professor Primack noted that for the last three years, his students and he have been documenting the earlier arrival times of migratory birds and the earlier flowering times of plants in Concord and other sites in Massachusetts as a result of a warming climate.
“We also have been recording changes in the abundance of wildflower species in Concord since Thoreau’s time,” said Primack. “During my sabbatical year, I will use this (award) to write a book on the subject, and three months will also be spent as an invited Visiting Professor in the Zoology Department at Tokyo University.”
“I feel greatly honored to be awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship,” said Zelizer. “In addition to joining a prestigious group of scholars and artists, this fellowship will enable me to work on my forthcoming book on the history of national security politics.”
Since 1925 the New York City-based Guggenheim Memorial Foundation has annually offered fellowships to artists, scholars and scientists in all fields. The 2006 selection committee, which drew on the recommendations from panels and juries involving hundreds of distinguished professionals, chose 187 winners from 2,887 applicants for awards totaling $7.5 million.
What distinguishes the Guggenheim Fellowship program from all others is the wide range in interest, age, geography, and institution of those it selects as it considers applications in 78 different fields, from the natural sciences to the creative arts. The new Fellows include writers, playwrights, painters, sculptors, photographers, film makers, choreographers, physical and biological scientists, social scientists, and scholars in the humanities. Many of these individuals hold appointments in colleges and universities with 100 institutions being represented by one or more Fellows. Since 1925, the Foundation has granted more than $247 million in Fellowships to just over 16,000 individuals.