Enhancing research, creative activity in arts and humanities

title textEleven of WSUs most innovative scholars and artists have been selected for faculty fellowships and mini-grants from the Center for Arts and Humanities (CAH) and the Office of Research.

Representing seven academic units and totaling nearly $78,000 in direct support, the funded projects include the creation of new international musical collaborations, investigations of interracial marriage in the historical American West, sustaining arts-based substance abuse treatment amidst the isolation enforced by the coronavirus pandemic, and more. Six of the grant recipients will serve as CAH faculty fellows for 2020-21, and the five others will receive mini-grants to bolster on-going projects.

“We are excited to support faculty as they advance not only their academic fields but also the communities we serve,” said Todd Butler, director of the center.

Funded by a five-year commitment from the Office of Research and its strategic research investment program, the center’s grant programs strengthen and enhance research and creative endeavors across WSU. Any faculty member pursuing arts and humanities-related work, regardless of rank or home department, is eligible to apply.

“This year, almost all of the arts and humanities departments—as well as associated faculty working in the social sciences—were represented in the proposals submitted, testifying to the ongoing vitality and reach of these disciplines at Washington State University,” said Butler.

Faculty fellows receive financial support for their individual work, but the centerpiece of the academic-year program is the cohort’s monthly meeting to discuss their work-in-progress and also how they might engage more effectively with both scholarly and public audiences. Reflecting upon her CAH experience, School of Music instructor and 2019 faculty fellow Melissa Parkhurst shared, “The CAH Faculty Fellowship put me in regular communication with a group of dedicated interdisciplinary scholars. I gained a vital support network, valuable feedback, and ideas for future projects.”

The CAH Faculty Support Committee provides guidance for the annual Office of Research funding. This year the committee divided grant support between the fellowship program and the new CAH mini-grant program, which enables faculty to apply for funding for smaller, one-time projects that may fall beyond regular departmental or college resources.

“The mini-grant program supports the kind of early-stage creativity and insight that often falls through the cracks but represent some of our best opportunities to cross geographic, disciplinary, and methodological boundaries. With this support, we’re seeking to reimagine what is possible in our work,” said Butler.

CAH Faculty Fellows for 2020 are:

  • Andra Chastain, Department of History, will use the funds to make final revisions to a book manuscript detailing the political and social struggles over the Santiago metro system in Chile from the 1960s to the present.
  • Jason Philip Gruen, School of Design and Construction, will research for the first-ever book-length overview of the WSU campus, which will show how the University has invented an idyllic campus image through design, rhetoric, photography, and historic preservation.
  • Linda Heidenreich, Department of History, will conduct research for a book-length study of women and ideologies of the early United Farm Worker’s Movement.
  • Keri McCarthy, School of Music, will release Ambiguous Traces, the third CD by the Pan Pacific Ensemble that showcases music by Asian and American composers and performances of the repertoire in highly-visible venues in the United States.
  • Raymond Sun, Department of History, will research and develop a permanent digital exhibit honoring the legacy of approximately 200 Washington State College war dead from World War II.
  • Jennifer Thigpen, Department of History, will explore the way in which nineteenth-century ideas about love, marriage, and gender combined with emergent concerns about race to shape the American West in ways that can be felt into the current day.

Mini-grant recipients for 2020 are:

  • Dean Leuthi, School of Music, will travel to Guanzhou, China, to disseminate research on choral pedagogy and train choral directors.
  • Vilma Navarro-Daniels, School of Languages, Cultures, and Races, will compare memorial museums in the Dominican Republic and Chile, juxtaposing political power’s impact on the historical denial of genocide in Chile with the well-consolidated and shared memory about atrocities committed in the Dominican Republic.
  • Nishant Shahani, Department of English, will conduct research for book project that seeks to bridge two generational periodizations of AIDS: the “height” of the AIDS crisis in the 80s and 90s, and today, when the disease is ostensibly manageable.
  • Julia Cassaniti, Department of Anthropology, will study the local perspectives on perception in Thailand, using empirical and interpretive data to investigate how culture and religion influence perceptual processes.
  • Susan Collins, Department of Psychology, will develop meaningful and empowering arts-related activities that may be safely and remotely provided to people living alone in permanent, supportive housing during the COVID-19 outbreak.

For more information on the Center for Arts and Humanities and its programs, see the center’s website at cah.wsu.edu.

Karen Hunt, Office of Research, for WSU Insider