Opportunities in American Studies

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Overview

 
American Studies awards (also called Study of the U.S. awards) are open to American scholars and professionals who have a thorough knowledge of some aspect of the rich tapestry of organizations, traditions, norms and other institutions that constitute life in the U.S. Every year, there are many awards available for scholars to engage students and conduct research in American Studies, American History and American Literature around the globe.  Host institutions overseas recognize the value of having an American scholar bring a first hand perspective of American history, literature, society and more to their students. Scholars themselves return with a fresh perspective on American history and cultural and are able to globalize their teaching and research to reflect their diverse experiences.

(Video Caption)
Jessica Hooten Wilson, Associate Professor of John Brown University in Arkansas. Host: Charles University, Prague, 2014. Video Courtesy of U.S. Embassy Prague.

 

Quotes from Scholars

 

 

Fulbright Bicentennial Chair Grantee Mark Miller lectures on the 2014 Senate elections at the University of Helsinki
Finland

Africa, Sub-Saharan
"I learned to value even more deeply the way "outside eyes" can read and interpret American stories. My grad students, from their community-minded perspective as Africans, wondered after reading Walden if Henry David Thoreau was mentally ill. They will never forget the "problem-solving" energy of Ben Franklin, or the cultural confrontation experienced by Mary Rowlandson, a Puritan woman who wrote about her captivity experiences. I learned from this teaching experience how much one's own cultural context shapes one's interpretations, or even the questions one brings to a text. As I develop World Literature courses for my home institution, I will pay more attention to collecting critical perspectives from outside a western context to help my students "see" from inside another's experience and worldview, if possible." (Teaching and Research, Uganda, 2012-13)

East Asia and the Pacific
"This has been an amazing experience, one that I will never forget and that will certainly have a transformative effect on my career and my family. I have already begun planning a further collaborative grant with Universitas Islamis Indonesia in Yogyakarta to provide writing workshops for faculty in the international programs there, and I am confident that this will be expanded into further programs there and in other Indonesian universities. In addition, I have gained important insights into the globalization of English which will change the way I do my scholarship and teaching in the United States, and the process of learning Indonesian and living in one of the world's most linguistically diverse places will forever change how I teach linguistics." (Teaching, Indonesia, 2010-11)

Europe-Eurasia
"Over the past three and a half months, I have been forced to continually reexamine my understanding of U.S. culture and the role of the U.S. both historically and at present. I owe this to the thoughtful and probing questions of my students who again and again pushed me to move beyond common assumptions about the U.S." (Teaching, Slovak Republic, 2014-15)

Middle East and North Africa
"...Not only were students in my American literature course not familiar with African American and women writers such as Langston Hughes and Naomi Shihab Nye but that they were especially interested in the questions of ethnicity, nation, and migration/immigration that such writers raise. Even the very traditional early British literature course I taught allowed me to raise questions of attitudes toward Europe's others in "Othello" and (carefully) compare Milton's Adam and Eve with their counterparts in Islam. I hope that this interaction has worked both ways, that my students have learned that American and British literature are not simply "great works" imposed on them from another culture that have to be taken in without question but opportunities for dialogue and new ways of reading that I will take away with me also." (Teaching, Oman, 2013-14)

South and Central Asia
"As a professional learner, I found the award a perfect opportunity to teach and research outside of my field, expand my notion of students, pedagogy, and universities, and turn every day across five months into an adventure. Just as my application proposed, I found a culture on the other side of the planet to get me away from my own so as to see both cultures more clearly. I was able to be a student once again. For five months, I was vulnerable, illiterate (I couldn't speak the local language), regarded as daft, unable to know the manners and read the signs. All this made me hyper-alert, gave me new eyes, made me re-do my default settings, showed me an alternative existence if I had been born here, taught me to trust difference, practice alternate modes of living, practice having a different system of values, etc. As a result, I learned in a compact series of months in a mode I hadn't since the days of my first two decades on this planet. It was wild and wonderful [and] it simply helped fire my imagination, which will burn on with a hard, gem-like flame."  (Teaching, India, 2014-15)

Western Hemisphere Region
"A significant outcome of my Fulbright experience is the insight and "insider's perspective" I gained about Canadian society and culture from staying as a tenant in the home of a native Canadian for my four months in Halifax and interacting--sharing meals, conversations, and local excursions--with other Canadians who were tenants there. I already have incorporated the new scholarship I encountered in Canada in my advanced undergraduate class on early African American women writers that I am teaching..." (Teaching/Research, Canada 2012-13)

  • Complete information on past Fulbright recipients in American Studies can be found in the Scholar Directory.
 

 

Examples of Successful Projects

 

Cassandra Falke spent the 2013-14 academic year as a guest Professor of American Literature at the University of Bergen.
Story Courtesy of Fulbright Norway

American Studies; Elkader in Algeria: The Discourse of America in the Maghreb
ALGERIA, University of Algiers, Algeiers

Gendering Spaces: Men, Women, and Industrial Work in the North American Wests
CANADA, University of Alberta, Edmonton 

Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century United States History and the Early Chinese Experience in America
CHINA, Northeast Normal University, Changchun

Communities of Difference: Tribal Cultures in the United States and India
INDIA, Ravenshaw University, Cuttack

Giant's Causeway: Frederic Douglass's Irish Odyssey and the Shaping of American Freedom
IRELAND, University College Cork-National University of Ireland, Cork

Charting African Diaspora: Untangling the Interlaced Ambiguities of the Blues
NIGERIA, University of Calabar, Calabar

  • Complete information on past Fulbright recipients in American Studies can be found in the Scholar Directory.
 

 

Resources

 

CIES offers a series of resources providing detailed information on many aspects of the Fulbright Scholar Program opportunities. Depending on your interests, you can find a wealth of answers to your specific questions in our upcoming and archived webinars.

  • Discipline Highlights: Political Science
  • Skole Roving Blog: One Fulbrighter’s Travels & Reflections in Norway
  • Presentation and Workshop Schedule - CIES program staff continue to visit university and college campuses countrywide, as well as participate in a range of conferences in the sciences. Please check the schedule to find out when program staff will be at an event near you. If you are interested in having CIES staff visit your campus and speak with department faculty about opportunities in your field, contact us at outreach@iie.org.
 

 

Contact Us

 

Kailey Smaczniak, Program Officer, Africa, Sub-Saharan, Middle East and North Africa, KSmaczniak@iie.org
Kaitlin Taylor, Program Coordinator, Europe-Eurasia, KTaylor@iie.org

OR

Regional staff listed in the Catalog of Awards

If you are not available to apply for the Fulbright U.S. Scholar program this year, please consider becoming a Peer Review Committee Member.