Lynn Dumenil Wins Fulbright Bicentennial Chair to Teach in Finland
Lynn Dumenil, the Robert Glass Cleland Professor of American History at Occidental College, has been awarded the Fulbright Bicentennial Chair in Finland to teach American history, culture and language during the 2001-02 academic year. Dumenil will join the University of Helsinki’s Renvall Institute in September 2001.
The Bicentennial Chair was established in 1976 to institutionalize a program in American history, culture and language at the University of Helsinki. A minor with a concentration in North American studies was added to the university curriculum in 1986. Coursework puts an emphasis on history or cultural studies, literature, international relations, sociology and political science. The chairholder is an important resource not only for developing the interdisciplinary approach to American studies at the University of Helsinki, but for cultivating programs at four other Finnish universities with American studies programs: Tampere, Turku, Oulu and Jyvaskyla.
The Finland experience will be Dumenil’s fourth opportunity to teach in an international setting. She co-led an American studies workshop at the Salzburg Seminar in Austria, as well as participated in programs at Tokyo’s International Christian University and at the University of Mumbai in India.
In addition to conducting a seminar and teaching one survey course, she will supervise graduate theses, conduct research-sharing groups and assist in curriculum development. Dumenil will also give occasional guest lectures at other universities.
“One thing I plan to keep firmly in mind during my time in Finland is my strong belief that education, whether in the United States or elsewhere, is a two-way street,’’ Dumenil says. “Students’ insights and questions have forced me to sharpen my thinking and have led me in new directions. My international teaching experiences have been exceptionally valuable and I have particularly benefited from the comparative insights they offered me.”
“The opportunity that the Fulbright program provides of having an extended stay in Finland and getting to know both students and faculty is ideally suited to my interest in cultural and intellectual exchange,” she adds.
Dumenil, 50, is a Venice resident who has taught at Occidental since 1989. She earned her doctoral and master’s degrees at UC Berkeley and her bachelor’s degree at USC. Dumenil is the author of “The Modern Temper: American Culture and Society in the 1920s,” “Freemasonry and American Culture, 1880-1930,” and is co-author of “America: A Concise History.” Her current book projects are “World War I, Citizenship and State: Los Angeles on the Homefront,” and “Woman-Made History.” Dumenil was recently elected president of Occidental’s Faculty Council. Joining her in Finland will be husband Norman Cohen, a retired Occidental history professor. The couple has run in the Los Angeles Marathon and plans to take up cross-country skiing in Finland.
The Fulbright Program was established in 1946 under legislation introduced by former Sen. J. William Fulbright of Arkansas. About 234,000 scholars, 88,000 of them from the United States, have participated in the program since its inception. The Fulbright Program awards about 4,500 new grants annually, funded chiefly by an annual appropriation by Congress. The congressional appropriation for the Fulbright Program in fiscal year 2000 was $105.7 million. Foreign governments contributed an additional $28 million.