Faculty

UChicago Humanities Scholar Receives NEH Fellowship

Victoria Saramago

For her rigorous research and original approach to connecting electrical energy and culture production in Brazilian literature and art from 1930s to the present, Assoc. Prof. Victoria Saramago received a $60,000 Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) on Jan. 10. Her book project “Against the Current: Electricity and Cultural Production in Brazil Anthropocene” will investigate the multiple ways in which Brazilian artistic practices have shaped perceptions of the production and consumption of electrical energy, and how electricity has enabled, affected, and, sometimes, destroyed cultural objects.

Saramago contends that modern Brazilian artists have addressed electrification critically, skeptically, and ironically, countering the narrative of progress found in 20th- to early 21st-century Brazilian politics. Their critical views question one of the most basic assumptions from post-World War II to today: that a reliable and growing supply of energy is vital for modern life.

“Victoria Saramago’s scholarship is at the cutting edge of the contemporary environmental humanities and in particular Latin American ecocritical studies,” said Alison James, professor and chair in the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures at UChicago. “More broadly, Victoria’s scholarship challenges us to reflect on the complex entanglements of representations and reality.

UChicago Humanities Professor Receives Honorary Doctorate from the Universite Jean Monnet

Larry Norman accepts an honorary doctorate from the Universite Jean Monnet de Saint Etienne.

For his rigorous research illuminating French literature, theater, and history, promotion of the arts, and emphasis on interdisciplinary studies, Prof. Larry F. Norman received an honorary doctorate from the Université Jean Monnet de Saint Etienne on Dec. 7, 2022. This achievement comes in same year as Norman’s award-winning book The Shock of the Ancient: Literature and History in Early-Modern France (2011) was translated into French.

“From his historical research on theater and aesthetics in 17th-century France to his leadership in making the University of Chicago a global center for the arts, Larry Norman embodies the combination of rigor and openness that makes this institution great,” said Richard Neer, the Barbara E. and Richard J. Franke Distinguished Service Professor in the Departments of Art History, Cinema and Media Studies, and the College and Director of Franke Institute for the Humanities. “His intellectual, professional, and personal generosity are inspiring, and this honor is richly, richly deserved.”

Two UChicago Humanities Scholars Receive the International Balzan Prizes

Martha C. Nussbaum and Philip V. Bohlman

UChicago Prof. Philip V. Bohlman and UChicago Prof. Martha C. Nussbaum were awarded the International Balzan Prizes for their seminal and sustained contributions respectively to ethnomusicology and music research and wide-ranging philosophical topics.

The annual Balzan Prizes honor “scholars and scientists who have distinguished themselves in their fields on an international level.” Bohlman has received the first Balzan Prize in ethnomusicology—a relatively new field—and only one of five awards in music scholarship ever granted. Of the four Balzan Prizes awarded in 2022, UChicago faculty received an unusually high 50 percent share.

Franklin D. Lewis, Prolific and Dedicated Scholar of Persian Literature, 1961-2022

Franklin D. Lewis

Franklin D. Lewis, a distinguished scholar of Persian literature at the University of Chicago for nearly 20 years, passed away on Sept. 19 in Chicago after a long illness. He was 61 years old.

Throughout his prolific career, Lewis published multiple books and articles. According to his colleagues, his masterpiece was Rumi: Past and Present, East and West, The Life Teachings of Jalāl al-Din Rumi (2008), which reassesses all previous research on the life of Persian’s foremost Sufi poet and navigates the complex history of the poet’s later reception worldwide.

“The book will serve as a touchstone for any future research on Rumi and has been translated into Persian, Arabic, Turkish, and Danish,” said Paul Losensky, professor of Comparative Literature at Indiana University. “Frank’s work, however, went beyond the mystical poets. His articles and chapters contribute to collected volumes and offer insights into other major figures in the classical tradition such as Ferdowski, Sa’di, and Hāfez.”

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