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Deborah Galyan
College of Arts and Sciences

Last modified: Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Five IU Bloomington professors awarded 2013 Guggenheim Fellowships

April 16, 2013

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Five Indiana University Bloomington professors in the College of Arts and Sciences are recipients of the prestigious John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship for 2013. Poet Ross Gay, Polish translator Bill Johnston, biologist James Bever, linguist Robert Fulk and religious studies professor David Haberman are among the fellows notified earlier this month.

"The five Guggenheim Fellows this year represent the extraordinary breadth and depth of the creative and academic excellence on this campus," IU Bloomington Provost Lauren Robel said. "Whether our students are interested in poetry, the evolution of plants, translation of Polish texts, the philology of early English, or South Asian religions -- or some combination of these -- they will have the opportunity to learn from the faculty who are recognized as experts in their fields."

"This is an important and happy moment in the College," said Larry Singell, executive dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. "These fellowships will allow our accomplished scholars to pursue freely their research interests. This experience will advance their scholarship and benefit their colleagues and students. Thus, the impact of a Guggenheim is felt across multiple generations of scholars."

Gay is assistant professor in the Department of English and associate director of the Creative Writing Program. He is author of the poetry collection "Against Which," and his poems have appeared in American Poetry Review, Harvard Review and Columbia: A Journal of Poetry and Art, among other publications. He plans to use his fellowship to explore new forms of writing and poetry, as well as interview African American farmers from across the nation for a book project.

Johnston is chair of the Department of Comparative Literature. Known as one of the leading translators of Polish literature in the English-speaking world, he served as director of IU's Polish Studies Center until 2008. He has held fellowships from both the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. He will use his fellowship to work on a new translation of "Pan Tadeusz," an epic poem in rhyming verse by Polish Romantic poet Adam Mickiewicz that was first published in 1834. While the poem has been translated several times already, Johnston said most people agree the existing translations are inadequate in various ways.

Bever is professor in the Department of Biology. A former Fulbright Fellow and a Bullard Fellow, Bever was elected an American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellow in 2012. His research focuses on the areas of ecology, evolution, microbial interactions and pathogenesis. He will use his fellowship to write a book that builds from the forces driving plant-microbe interactions to a general framework for understanding the dynamics of plant communities.

Fulk is Class of 1964 Chancellor's Professor of English and adjunct professor in the Department of Germanic Studies. With a particular interest in the ways in which linguistics and language study intersect with the analysis of medieval literature, his research areas include early Germanic, Celtic, Old English and Old Icelandic languages. His current project, supported by his fellowship, is "A Comparative Grammar of the Early Germanic Languages." The last complete grammar in English devoted to the topic was published in 1939.

Haberman is professor in the Department of Religious Studies. His research interests include South Asian religious traditions and, more recently, the intersection of religion and ecology. He's involved in this emerging field and serves on the advisory board of the Form on Religion and Ecology based at the Yale University School for Forestry and Environmental Studies. He plans to use his fellowship to work on a book project focused on the worship of Mount Govardhan, one of the most distinguishing features of the sacred landscape of Braj, the region in northern India associated primary with Krishna.