Jim Tranquada
Professor Kelema Moses

Occidental College’s Kelema Lee Moses is one of 10 recipients of a 2019 Getty Foundation/American Council of Learned Societies Postdoctoral Fellowship in the History of Art, awarded to encourage projects that make substantial and original contributions to the understanding of art and its history.

Moses, an assistant professor of art and art history, will use the 12-month, $65,000 fellowship to work on her book about the design of Hawai’i’s state capitol building, Island Modernism/Island Urbanism: Encountering Statehood in Honolulu, Hawai'i.

Moses’ book examines the design processes, political actors and policies involved in the creation of the 1969 Hawai’i state capitol building that served as a stage on which a clash between U.S. (neo)colonialism in the Pacific and native Hawaiian self-determination played out.

“I'm honored to receive the Getty/ACLS Postdoctoral Fellowship from two organizations that support global approaches to thinking critically about art and the built environment,” says Moses, who will be on sabbatical during the 2019-20 school year to pursue her research and writing.

“I would like to acknowledge my colleagues and students in the Art and Art History Department for their unwavering support, passion, and imagination. It is a pleasure to be part of a discipline that challenges us to fully engage with the inherent complexities and contradictions of our visual world,” she says.

This is just the second year that the Getty/ACLS fellowships have been awarded to encourage diverse international perspectives in the field of art history. Moses is one of five U.S. scholars to be so recognized, the other fellows coming from England, Russia, Italy and Australia.

All 10 fellows will convene at the J. Paul Getty Museum for a week-long residency upon completion of their fellowships as part of an effort to create a community of scholars.

Moses’ teaching and research combine historical perspectives with discussions about critical contemporary issues related to the built environment of the United States and Asia-Pacific region. Her work has been supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, National Endowment for the Humanities, the Society of Architectural Historians, the East-West Center at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, and the Institute for the Arts and Humanities at Penn State.

A graduate of the University of Virginia, she earned her master’s and doctoral degrees at Penn State. She joined the Occidental faculty in 2014.