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Congratulations to 8 Presidential Arts and Humanities Fellows


I’m excited to announce Indiana University’s inaugural Presidential Fellows, who have shown distinction within their fields and are on a path to become national and international leaders in the arts and humanities for their research and creative scholarship.

The new Presidential Arts and Humanities Fellows Program accelerates and amplifies the work of a cohort of outstanding IU scholars over an academic year, as they advance a significant research or creative activity project, participate in professional development, and collaborate with other faculty. The overarching goal of the program is to lift and promote IU’s already stellar arts and humanities communities and ensure their continued prestige.

The eight IU faculty in the inaugural cohort are:

  1. Heather Akou, associate professor of fashion design in the Eskenazi School of Art, Architecture + Design at IU Bloomington, who plans to publish a monograph on the history of work uniforms and connect with the public in her research as part of the fellowship.
  2. Edward Curtis IV, William M. and Gail M. Plater Chair of the Liberal Arts and professor of religious studies in the School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI, who will work toward completing a comprehensive history of Arab America as well as the larger goal of reconnecting the scholarly community after the pandemic.
  3. Stephanie DeBoer, associate professor of cinema and media studies in The Media School at IU Bloomington, who will work on a manuscript that explores the dynamics of urban screens in Hong Kong and Shanghai and expand on collaborative projects with support from the fellowship.
  4. Robert Horvath, associate professor of painting in the Herron School of Art + Design at IUPUI, whose work through the fellowship will result in a large-scale “period room” art project that will be displayed at the Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields. 
  5. Lasana Kazembe, assistant professor of urban teacher education in the School of Education at IUPUI, who sees the fellowship as an opportunity to expand the representation of voice and narratives of Africana peoples in the repertoire of creative scholarship.
  6. Sergio Ospina Romero, assistant professor of music in the Jacobs School of Music at IU Bloomington, whose research, writing, and teaching about sound reproduction technologies and Latin American music and jazz in the early 20th century will be supported by the fellowship. 
  7. Rowland Ricketts, professor of studio art in the Eskenazi School at IU Bloomington, who will explore the historical and contemporary ideas of national identity in 19th-century patriotic imagery in American coverlets.
  8. Uranchimeg Tsultem, Edgar and Dorothy Fehnel Chair in International Studies and assistant professor of art history in the Herron School at IUPUI, who will use the fellowship to deepen her sense of belonging at IU and her understanding of environmental art history, and to work towards completing a manuscript on eco-aesthetics in Mongolian art.

Congratulations to our first cohort of Arts and Humanities Presidential Fellows. I look forward to celebrating all that you will accomplish as part of this fellowship program and following your career successes.


Pamela Whitten

Indiana University

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