Travis and Trencher Named Fenwick Fellows

Posted: May 26, 2006 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

Toni-Michelle Travis, associate professor, Department of Public and International Affairs, and program director, African American Studies; and Susan Trencher, associate professor, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, have been named Fenwick Fellows for the 2006-07 academic year.

The Fenwick Fellowship is awarded annually to George Mason faculty members for the pursuit of a research project that utilizes and enhances the University Libraries’ resources while advancing knowledge in the faculty member’s field.

Toni Michele Travis
Toni-Michelle Travis

Travis’s study, “The Evolving Color Line,” will concentrate on the significance of this evolving, shifting line in American society, examining questions of color, privilege and subordination.

Her research will include reading and analyzing works on critical race theory, analyzing recent Supreme Court cases on affirmative action and immigration and examining government documents on the construction of census categories.

Through the fellowship, Travis expects to produce a conference paper that will be the basis for a book, “The Color Line Today”; develop a course on critical race theory; and add to the growing literature on critical race theory as well as public policy by connecting Supreme Court holdings and census labels to policy outcomes.

Susan Trencher
Susan Trencher

Trencher seeks to understand why social science experts from some fields – particularly anthropology and sociology – have largely disappeared as participants in exchanges in most public venues.

Earlier, anthropologist Margaret Mead had given a very public voice to the social sciences, speaking up in person and in print about the diverse subjects that fell within her area of expertise.

Trencher’s study will analyze Mead’s articles in Redbook magazine and examine both disciplinary and professional practice and relevant research literature.

As a result of the fellowship, Trencher hopes to create versions of a new course to be offered in her department; design workshops; publish related articles based on an analysis of Mead’s columns; and eventually publish a book with an ethnographic component that will focus on the engagement of social science in the public realm.

The fellowship provides each fellow with a furnished office in Fenwick Library and an award of $2,000 to support the research project. In the fall or spring of the following academic year, the libraries sponsor a lecture in which the fellow presents the results of his or her work to the university community.

Travis’s and Trencher’s research proposals were selected from those submitted by faculty this spring to the Faculty Senate Budget and Resources Committee and librarians representing the Council of Librarians.

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