Libraries Announce Fenwick Fellowship Winners

Posted: November 11, 2002 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Fran Rensbarger

Kristin Johnsen-Neshati, Department of Theater, and Hazel McFerson, Public and International Affairs, have been selected as Fenwick Fellows for the 2002-03 academic year.

The Fenwick Fellowship is awarded annually to instructional faculty members to pursue a research project that utilizes the University Libraries’ resources and advances knowledge in the field. The award includes a research office in Fenwick Library and $1,500 to support fellows’ research.

“We are gratified to be able to assist more directly faculty research through the Fenwick Fellows program, especially during this period of fiscal difficulty,” says University Librarian John Zenelis.

Johnsen-Neshati’s project is “World Stages,” in which she will investigate non-Western theatrical traditions, such as Iranian, Egyptian, and Turkish theater, through the use of dramatic texts, criticism, and videos. In the process, the assistant professor of theater plans to further course development for World Stages, an upper-level theater seminar that is currently the department’s only offering for the General Education global understanding requirements.

Johnsen-Neshati’s research will also add to the Libraries’ collection of non-Western theater materials. Additionally, she expects to identify topics in non-Western theatrical practice she can write about for publication.

McFerson will use the fellowship to establish a collection of archival and baseline data chronicling the experiences and intergroup relations among Asian immigrants, Asian Americans, African Americans, and Amerasians of part African-American ancestry. McFerson, an associate professor of international studies, will focus her research on the periods after the 1965 Immigration Reform and 1989 Amerasian Homecoming acts, both of which increased the numbers and countries of origin of Asians in the United States.

To establish her collection, McFerson will acquire historical and contemporary materials such as documents from outreach programs of social service and government agencies, reports, newsletters, newspaper articles, refugee orientation materials, and audio and videocassettes relating to refugee camps and resettlement of Southeast Asian refugees in the United States. She expects that George Mason student interns will assist in establishing a subject-related database, collecting archival materials, and conducting and recording interviews. McFerson will also compile a report based on collected data to disseminate to Asian Studies and African American Studies programs, as well as to scholars throughout the United States. Appropriate parts of McFerson’s collection may be deposited in the Libraries’ Special Collections and Archives.

Fenwick Fellowships are awarded annually through university-wide competition evaluated by members of the Facilities, Support Services, and Library Committee of the Faculty Senate. Awards are determined by the availability of funds and the quality of research proposals received. Though the committee reports there were many qualified proposals this year, funding was available for only two awards.

Johnsen-Neshati and McFerson will present their Fenwick Fellows lectures during the 2003-04 academic year.

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