OHC fellowships provide crucial support for faculty
The OHC was pleased to support ten Faculty Research Fellows and three Dissertation Fellows during 2016–17. These fellowships allow the recipient a term off from teaching to focus on their research, often in residence at the OHC, where they have a private office, peaceful surroundings away from departmental demands, and close proximity to the UO Knight Library. They also have an opportunity to be part of a scholarly community, and to share their ongoing work with other fellows and get valuable feedback during their Work-in-Progress talks.
The research projects supported by the OHC during 2016–17 were wide-ranging in their topics, and included Japanese horror cinema; the historical development and significance of comic book super-heroes’ miraculous bodies; the influence of African music and dance in Chilean culture; the impact WWI on American literature, and ways in which literature was used in the U.S. to promote the war effort; the reconstruction and performance of 19th-century ballets from contemporaneous choreography manuals; the popularity, hybridization, and cultural appropriation of Balkan “gypsy” (Roma) music; an analysis of the Asian novel Comfort Woman, with a focus on queer theory and the power of haunting; the influence of some of Italy’s major volcanic eruptions on Russian modernist literature; and parallels in post-revolutionary 20th-century novels from Cuba and Angola.
Drew Nobile, then a second-year Assistant Professor of Music Theory, used his research fellowship term to work on a couple of chapters for his first book, tentatively titled Form as Harmony in Rock Music, in which he identifies and analyzes pop and rock songwriting conventions used during the “classic rock” decades of the 1960s, 70s, and 80s. In his work, Nobile examines the relationship between the deep-level structure of the music and the meaning of the lyrics, and talks about how this relationship can be used to elicit specific reactions from listeners. He discusses how songwriters manipulate the conventions to thwart the listener’s expectations, and to create layers of expression that go beyond what is immediately perceived. (A UO Today interview with Nobile, in which he talks about his project and demonstrates some of his concepts with guitar and voice, is available here)
Getting a scholarly book published by a major academic press is a crucial step in the promotion and tenure process. (In his fellowship report, Nobile describes his book project as “the cornerstone of my case for tenure.”) It is especially difficult for junior faculty, just launching their academic careers and busy with designing and teaching new courses, to find the time and space to fully immerse themselves in their research for ten or more weeks. During his fellowship term, Nobile was able to complete a 60-page chapter from scratch, and outline another chapter in detail—something he says would have taken him at least two terms with normal teaching and service loads. The OHC is grateful to have the resources to provide UO humanities faculty with this crucial professional development support. Many thanks to the Provost, the Vice President for Research and Innovation, and, especially to our fellowship donors who contribute to this worthy endeavor!