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Guggenheim Fellowship awarded to anthropology professor

Fri, 04/18/2014

LAWRENCE – A University of Kansas professor who studies Chinese Inner Asia as an area of linguistic and social convergence was named a 2014 Fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.

Arienne Dwyer, a professor of anthropology and co-director of the Institute for Digital Research in the Humanities, received a prestigious 2014 Guggenheim Fellowship. Guggenheim Fellows are appointed on the basis of distinguished achievement and exceptional promise for future accomplishment. Dwyer’s fellowship was one of 177 awarded out of a pool of about 3,000.

She will take the fellowship during the 2015-’16 academic year to work on a book on Inner Asian “convergence,” which argues for an areal grammar, in which the dominant languages, Tibetan and Chinese, both influenced and were influenced by nondominant languages of the area.

This is the second prestigious fellowship Dwyer has received this academic year. She was also awarded a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

“Arienne Dwyer has achieved a feat that few researchers can match. It’s an outstanding achievement in itself to receive either a Guggenheim or an NEH fellowship in one year. That she has been selected for both awards in one year speaks volumes to the importance and integrity of her work,” said Danny Anderson, dean of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences.

“The Guggenheim is primus inter pares among fellowships in the humanities, arts and social sciences,” said Victor Bailey, director of the Hall Center for the Humanities. “Professor Dwyer is to be unrestrainedly commended for attracting an award that will add prestige and luster to her own career, and to the university she serves.”

Dwyer is known for identifying Chinese Inner Asia as a language convergence area (Sprachbund), and for her work in Uyghur language and cultural studies. Her work bridges linguistic typology and ethnography, critical discourse analysis, indigenous advocacy and digital humanities.

During her Guggenheim Fellowship, she will apply text-mining techniques to the languages of Inner Asia in order to assess similarity and difference in linguistic, literary and historical aspects of the area. She has extensively studied the mutual influence of languages in contact in previous work. For example, she discovered that Chinese caused a Mongolic language to develop tonal contrasts.

The upcoming Guggenheim book project, “Inner Asian Convergence,” will connect with other work, including her current NEH Fellowship. That book project, "Camel Spring: Narratives and Meta-Narratives of the Silk Road," explores the stories told by and about Central Asians. Much of Dwyer’s collaborative work can also be studied and accessed through the Interactive Inner Asia and Uyghur Light Verbs web sites. The audiovisual and transcription materials of oral arts and everyday life in the region that she and colleagues have collected are preserved and easily accessible for future generations of Inner Asians and researchers.

Dwyer has won 12 major external grants and fellowships since joining KU in 2002, including several major research grants from the National Science Foundation and the Volkswagen Foundation, an American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship and a joint NEH/National Science Foundation Fellowship. These grants have supported and trained about 50 KU students.

This is the 90th year of Guggenheim Fellowships. Since 1925, the foundation has granted more than $315 million to almost 17,700 individuals, including recipients of Nobel and Pulitzer awards, and other significant international honors. 



KU in the news
The Huffington PostWed, 07/30/2014
Doug Ward was touring Lewis Hall with his son, incoming freshman Ethan, when he noticed the new residence halls under construction. The halls will open in fall 2015. Ward, who also is an associate professor of journalism, says, “Most of us spend our time in a relatively small section of the university. I like seeing what’s going on in places I can’t get to." What modern feature could you not live without in your residence hall? Tags: KU William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications #exploreKU #ResidenceHalls #MoveIn #Freshman #College #Construction

Inside KU: Military language training, bullying, arthritis and KU's Panorama "Inside KU" explains how a Department of Defense grant is helping to provide real-world language training to military personnel soon to be deployed around the world. Learn more about KU Graduate Military Programs at (http://bit.ly/1rZHgAh). Also: KU researchers are working with Kansas schools to develop policies to stop bullying (See http://bit.ly/1jvhpxL). Bioengineering students at KU work on a potential treatment for arthritis (See KU-BERC at http://bit.ly/W1zAR5). The historic Panorama in KU's Natural History Museum is being expertly preserved (See http://bit.ly/1mPqJNd). The Time Warner Cable Sports Network's "Inside KU" is hosted by Jeannie Hodes.


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