Burt and Kurtz Named 2004 Fenwick Fellows

Posted: September 23, 2004 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Fran Rensbarger

Jo-Marie Burt, assistant professor of government and politics in the Department of Public and International Affairs, and Howard Kurtz, assistant professor in the Department of Theater, are the Fenwick Fellows for this academic year, announced John Zenelis, university librarian.

The Fenwick Fellowship is awarded annually to instructional faculty members to pursue a research project that utilizes the libraries’ resources and advances knowledge in the field. The award includes a research office in Fenwick Library and an award of $1,750 to support the research. The fellows give a university lecture on the results of their work in the following academic year.

Burt’s project, “Truth and Justice? Analyzing the Peruvian Truth and Reconciliation Commission,” is part of a three-year research project called “Truth Commissions in Comparative Perspective.” She will use her Fenwick award for a comprehensive analysis of the Peruvian Truth and Reconciliation Commission (CVR) and its implications for both reconciliation in Peru and also for the theory and practice of truth commissions worldwide.

Burt is linking her fellowship to a Fulbright research and lecture grant for 2004-05, which covers field work and teaching in Peru. Over the next three years, Burt plans to consolidate her theoretical framework, which includes delving into how and why the truth commission was created, how the findings were implemented, and what the impact of the commission was. She also plans to interview many of the commissioners and political and civil participants, as well as examine the record of the government’s response to the report. Her work will include analyzing the nine-volume CVR report and public reactions to it.

Finally, she will prepare a seminar, Political Violence and Truth Commissions in Comparative Perspective, which she will teach at George Mason and at the Catholic University of Peru. The course and fieldwork that begins in the summer of 2005 for this project are part of her work as a Fulbright Scholar.

Kurtz will address the topic, “The Costume Designer’s Search for Inspiration.” He will study the integration of more modern procedures of research, such as the Internet and other computer reference tools, and look at how the costume designer in an academic setting makes the transition from using traditional methods of research to incorporating newer technologies. Kurtz, a Helen Hayes Award-winning costume designer, developed and revised the costume curriculum at George Mason.

Using the script of a classic play rich in historical and graphic images coupled with characters of various ages and social status, Kurtz will use paper texts in the library to research and design costumes while a costume design student apprentice will use modern technology. Kurtz will use detailed procedures to analyze the different modes of research, compare their strengths and weaknesses, and select the most effective methodology useful for the contemporary classroom.

The two Fenwick Fellows for 2004-05 were recommended by the Faculty Senate Budget and Resources Committee, with representatives from the Council of Librarians participating, and selected from faculty proposals submitted in the spring of 2004.

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