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Last modified: Wednesday, October 10, 2007

IU's Rabinowitch and Valdman awarded Mellon Emeritus Fellowships

Oct. 8, 2007

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- IU Bloomington professors Alexander Rabinowitch and Albert Valdman may be retired, but they are hardly resting on their laurels. Rabinowitch, professor emeritus of history, and Valdman, Rudy Professor emeritus of French and Italian, have been named recipients of highly selective Andrew W. Mellon Emeritus Fellowships for 2007-08.

Alexander Rabinowitch

Alexander Rabinowitch

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The Mellon Foundation's Emeritus Fellowships program was inaugurated in 2003 to support "officially retired" faculty who are still active and productive in the humanities and humanistic social sciences. Fellows receive awards to support a full year of research and other related expenses.

"To have two distinguished faculty members win this prestigious award in the same year is indeed a rare honor for a university ," said IU President Michael A. McRobbie. "This is yet another validation of the extraordinarily talented individuals we have long enjoyed among our humanities and social science faculty."

Only invited universities may submit nominations for the Mellon award, and each university may submit no more than three nominations. Over the three years that Indiana University has been invited to nominate, IU scholars have received six awards out of nine nominations. Only Princeton University and University of Chicago have received comparable numbers of Mellon Emeritus Fellowships.

"IU Bloomington faculty have long been known for their distinguished accomplishments in humanities and social science areas such as history and the study of foreign languages," said Sarita Soni, IU Vice Provost for Research. "The Mellon Foundation's recognition of Alex Rabinowitch and Albert Valdman is a credit to IU's strengths in the humanities, and further recognizes that the love for discovery and scholarship is long lasting and deep. IU is fortunate to have so many of its emeriti faculty choosing to remain in Bloomington; the value of their ongoing contributions to the university is enormous."

To date, IU's Mellon Emeritus Fellowship winners are Mary Ellen Brown in Folklore and Ethnomusicology, Peter Lindenbaum in English, and Stephen Wailes in Germanic Studies in 2005; Kenneth Johnston in English in 2006, and Rabinowitch and Valdman in 2007.

Rabinowitch, an expert in Soviet history, society and politics, will use his fellowship to support travel and work in St. Petersburg, where he has been invited to direct the preparation and publication of a volume of previously secret documents concerning the Bolsheviks and the Russian revolution of 1917. He had worked the past 20 years on a book that will be published later this month simultaneously in English by Indiana University Press and in Russian by a well-known Moscow publishing company. The title of the book, which also is based heavily upon recently declassified Soviet archival documents, is The Bolsheviks in Power: The First Year of Soviet Rule in Petrograd.

Albert Valdman

Albert Valdman

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Valdman, a specialist in linguistics and the study of French outside of France, will use his award to support production of a dictionary of Louisiana Regional French, a French which is in an advanced stage of language loss. Recently, Valdman also received an award of $300,000 from the National Science Foundation for sociolinguistic research on haitian Creole.

"I heartily congratulate Alex Rabinowitch and Albert Valdman on their Mellon Fellowship awards," said Karen Hanson, IU Bloomington Provost. "Both men are distinguished, internationally renowned scholars who have made and continue to make outstanding contributions to their fields of study. Alex's work in Russian and Soviet history and politics, and Albert's work in applied and descriptive linguistics are shining examples of the excellence and the breadth of research in the humanities and social sciences pursued by IU Bloomington faculty."

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation was formed in 1969 in memory of the early 20th-century oil businessman, politician, art collector and philanthropist. The foundation makes grants to build, strengthen and sustain various scholarly and artistic endeavors.