Three Occidental College Professors Offered Fulbright Fellowships to Study Abroad
Three Occidental College faculty members – associate biology Professor Elizabeth Braker, associate Spanish Professor Salvador Fernandez and assistant anthropology Professor Jeffrey Tobin – have been offered prestigious Fulbright Fellowships to teach abroad.
The trio accounts for the most Fulbrights offered to Occidental faculty in a single year since four professors won the fellowships during the 1974-75 academic year. Their proposed assignments are as follows:
Elizabeth Braker, who has taught at Oxy since 1991, plans to spend six months affiliated with the ecology department at Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile in the Chilean capital of Santiago. Starting in August, she could teach a graduate course and conduct a collaborative research project on vulnerable, threatened and non-threatened plants in Chile’s San Carlos de Apoquindo region, an area whose abundant plant species are threatened by urban encroachment and non-native European grasses.
“Central Chile and California contain relatively similar proportions of the world’s endemic species; however, in contrast to California, with 39.2 percent of area protected, only 10 percent of Central Chile is protected,” Braker said. “This study will allow me to compare conservation strategies and biodiversity protection in the two regions at a broad level, while focusing attention on a clearly defined research question relevant to the conservation of threatened plants and their insect pollinators.”
Salvador Fernandez plans to spend up to five months as a senior lecturer at Spain’s Universidad de Barcelona and the Universidad Autonoma de Barcelona, where he expects to teach American literature beginning in February. He has taught at Oxy since 1992. Fernandez will teach a Latin American/Mexican literatures and theory course and a Mexican-American/Latino cultural and literary studies course.
“Spain provides an excellent academic and social environment for my lecture-teaching project because of its historical and cultural importance for Latin America,” Fernandez said. “Its influence in the literatures and cultures of the Americas, which includes Chicano/Latino literatures in the United States, continues to be as vital as it was 500 years ago. For the Americas, Spain serves as an ideal cultural avenue for our scholarly exploration into newer areas of Spanish-language studies and cultural and literary productions, generally associated with trans-Atlantic studies.”
An Oxy faculty member since 1998, Jeffrey Tobin will travel to Buenos Aires in July to teach and conduct research on Jewishness at Argentina’s National Institute of Anthropology. Tobin, who is the recipient of a summer stipend from the National Endowment for the Humanities that covers the same project, will remain in South America through December.
“I’ll teach a graduate seminar exploring connections between anthropology’s roots as a so-called ‘Jewish science’ and the recent blossoming of ‘native anthopology’ practiced by Latinos, Indian-Americans and other ‘outsiders’ in U.S. society,” Tobin said. “I'll also conduct ethnographic research on how models of masculinity that circulate in Buenos Aires' Jewish community compare to the models of masculinity that circulate
in the dominant Argentine society and in Jewish communities in Europe and the United States.”
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. About 4,500 new grants are awarded annually. They are funded chiefly by an annual appropriation from Congress, with additional contributions made by foreign governments.