April 27, 2000
Vol. 19 No. 15

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    Four University professors receive 2000 Guggenheim fellowships

    By Arthur Fournier and Bill Harms
    News Office

    Four University faculty members have received 2000 Guggenheim fellowships in the 76th annual U.S. and Canadian competition sponsored by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.

    The four received funding based on [michael camille]distinguished achievement in the past and exceptional promise for future accomplishment. The 2000 Guggenheim fellows from the University are Michael Camille, Professor in Art History; Susan Goldin-Meadow, Professor in Psychology; Laura Letinsky, Assistant Professor on the Committee on Visual Arts; and Ingrid Rowland, Associate Professor in Art History.

    The 2000 fellowship winners, announced by Guggenheim Foundation President Joel Conarroe, include 182 artists, scholars and scientists selected from more than 2,900 applicants for awards totaling $6,345,000.

    Decisions are based on recommendations from hundreds of expert advisers and are approved by the foundation’s board of trustees, which includes six members who are past fellows of the Guggenheim Foundation––Conarroe, Joyce Carol Oates, Richard Rifkind, Charles Ryskamp, Wendy Wasserstein and Ellen Taaffe Zwilich.

    The 2000 fellows include writers, painters, sculptors, photographers, filmmakers, choreographers, physical and biological scientists, social scientists, and scholars in the humanities. Chicago’s new Guggenheim winners described the academic endeavors they will continue with the aid of their Guggen-heim fellowship awards.

    Camille plans to travel through France during the award year to research a new book on sculpture in medieval Europe. “My project deals with the sculpture and art at the street level,” he said.

    He hopes to conduct primary site research in such towns as Bourges and Angers, where he expects to [susan goldin-meadow] by lloyd degranefind examples of wooden and stone sculptures that marked entrances to shops, inns and brothels during the Middle Ages.

    Camille has recently finished another book on sculpture, The Gargoyles of Notre Dame, which will be available from the University Press.

    Goldin-Meadow will use her Guggenheim fellowship award to write a book on gesture during the 2000-01 academic year. “I will call on my various lines of research on gesture in an account of what gesture can tell us about the mind and how it has a hand in shaping that mind,” she said.

    She has done extensive research with her students on gesture. She has found, for instance, that people who are blind gesture in much the same way sighted people do.

    Her work also has shown that students perceive additional information in academic lessons that teachers convey unconsciously through their gestures.

    Goldin-Meadow’s []work also has demonstrated the role gestures play in giving clues about a child’s readiness to learn. When gestures do not match speech, students are likely experiencing a period during which they are ready to learn a new task.

    Letinsky currently photographs domestic still lifes for a project she calls Morning and Melancholia. The images depict the quiet aftermath of a shared domestic life––leftover food, kitchen scenes and other sites of recently passed communion.

    Letinsky said she hopes the work will capture some of the simple ways in which people [ingrid rowland] by matthew gilsonmark the passing time in their daily lives. She plans to spend much of next year working on the project while traveling in Italy.

    “The University is such an intellectually serious environment, and I’m really happy to be a part of that,” she said. “I think the community here is taking greater notice of the visual arts. For me, that’s kind of exciting.”

    A book of Letinsky’s photographs from an earlier series of images, Venus Inferred, will be available in the fall from the University Press.

    Rowland will use her fellowship award to travel in Europe as she performs research for a biography of the Italian philosopher Giordano Bruno.

    “The Guggenheim will allow me to follow Bruno’s movements from southern Italy to France, Germany, Prague, Venice and finally to Rome, where he was burned at the stake by the Inquisition in 1600,” she said.

    The award will make it possible for her to consult local libraries along the route that Bruno traveled and to absorb local color. Rowland said the project will result in a book to be published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in 2002, as well as a translation of Bruno’s dialogue, On the Heroic Passion (De Gli Heroici Furori).

    In addition, the Guggenheim grant will support Rowland’s spring 2000 stay in Rome at the American Academy, where she is serving in a senior position as the department of education resident in art history.