Three Dartmouth faculty appointed Guggenheim Fellowships

by Ruben Gallardo | 4/20/18 2:35am

The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation awarded three Dartmouth faculty members Guggenheim Fellowships on Apr. 4. Anthropology professor Sienna Craig, choreographer, theater lecturer and director of the Dartmouth Dance Ensemble John Heginbotham and comparative literature professor Michelle Warren are a part of the 175 fellows selected from a pool of around 3,000 applications.

The 2018 winners include individuals from 49 different scholarly disciplines and artistic fields, according to the foundation’s press release. The fellowship recognizes scholars and artists for their exceptional scholarship or creative ability in the arts. It has been providing assistance to further developing scholarly research or artistic creation since 1925.

Craig’s research concentrates on health, illness, healing and medicine across cultures, as well as the ways in which individuals navigate the processes of migration and social change, focusing on the Himalayan region in Nepal and Tibetan region in China.

Craig said she will use the financial support from the fellowship to complete her book “The Ends of Kinship: Care and Belonging between Nepal and New York City, 1998-2018.”

The book combines qualitative methods and ethnographic research approaches to tell the stories of people from the Mustang region in Northern Nepal, who have immigrated to the New York City area over the past 20 years, Craig said.

“I think that this project has broad, not only appeal, but importance in a moment when migration and immigration and all of the ways that [these] are connected to identity are at the forefront of many people’s lives,” Craig said. “I think we have something to learn in understanding a little more how one relatively small community is navigating these kinds of issues.”

Since graduating from the Juilliard School in 1993 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in dance, Heginbotham has performed and choreographed with various performance companies across the world. He founded the contemporary dance company Dance Heginbotham in 2011 to support, produce and sustain his work, according to the company’s website. In 2012, Heginbotham joined the College as the director of the Dartmouth Dance Ensemble. He became a faculty member of the theater department last year, according to theater department chair Laura Edmondson.

In an email statement, Heginbotham said that the fellowship will offer him both time and resources to “build choreographic material and perform research for a large-scale performance project” involving a new music ensemble and his own company.

“What [Heginbotham] is able to do through the courses he teaches, dance composition and dance theater performance, [is that] students are now able to study [dance] as a discipline,” Edmondson said. “Students can now really challenge themselves and learn about the history of contemporary dance … from a leading choreographer in the country.”

Warren wrote in an email statement that the fellowship will support the completion of her third book, “Lives of a Medieval Book in Digital Dark Ages,” which investigates the creation, use and reproduction of a single medieval manuscript about the Holy Grail and King Arthur across 800 years.

She wrote that her book demonstrates “all the different ways that a manuscript and its text can be understood at different points in time.”

Craig said that in addition to the financial support that the fellowship provides for travel and research expenses, the award also buys scholars more time to focus on research rather than teaching. The fellowship also validates academics’ approach to scholarship, she said.

According to Warren, the coveted forms of recognition that accompany the fellowship and the potential impact of her book project enticed her to apply for the award again after previously applying in 2011.

“I always encourage my students to dream big, to put in the extra effort to be ambitious for their ideas,” Warren wrote. “I don’t want to overstate, but I did feel accountable to them to follow my own advice when I had the chance.”

Associate director for humanities grant support Charlotte Bacon said she supported Craig and Warren during the application process for the fellowship. The College offers grant-writing support services to faculty from all disciplines through the Grant Proposal Support Initiative, Bacon said. She added that these services are tailored to the specific needs of faculty, which could range from providing feedback on grant proposals to conducting research on potential foundations for funding.

“[Bacon] has the perfect blend of cheerleading and critique — she pushed me to make every sentence shine,” Warren wrote. “I’ve applied for a lot of fellowships in my career, but I never had an editor — let alone a brilliant one.”

Edmondson said she hopes that the recognition from Heginbotham’s award will shine a light on dance as an academic discipline and attract more students interested in dance to Dartmouth’s theater department.

Warren wrote in her statement that she plans on incorporating theories and examples from her book in her course, COLT 10.12, “Race in the Middle Ages,” as part of a digital humanities project.

“Digital infrastructure has such deep relations with race, racism and power structures across the centuries,” Warren wrote. “I think that we can make some important new discoveries in this course.”