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Ryan Piurek
IU Media Relations

Last modified: Thursday, April 17, 2003

Two IU Bloomington faculty members receive Guggenheim fellowships

Two Indiana University Bloomington faculty members, Devin DeWeese, associate professor of Central Eurasian Studies and director of the Research Institute for Inner Asian Studies, and Kevin Young, the Ruth Lilly Professor of Poetry, have been awarded Guggenheim fellowships for 2003.

The awards are granted on the basis of distinguished achievement in the past and exceptional promise for future accomplishment. Each of the IU recipients will receive approximately $36,000 to help them pursue their research interests.

Since 1925, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation has granted more than $220 million in fellowships to over 15,200 individuals. More than 100 of those winners have been IU faculty members. The 2003 fellowship winners include 184 artists, scholars and scientists selected from over 3,200 applicants.

DeWeese's research interests include Islamic Central Asia, Soviet Central Asia, Sufism in Central Asia, Islamization, religion and Inner Asia, and Islamic hagiography (Turkic and Persian). He oversees the Research Institute for Inner Asian Studies (RIFIAS), an internationally respected program devoted to scholarship in the history, languages and cultures of Inner Asia.

DeWeese is the author of several publications, including the groundbreaking Islamization and Native Religion in the Golden Horde (1994), which was the first major study of conversion to Islam in Inner Asia and its role in the shaping of communal self-understanding from the 14th to the 20th centuries. He has also conducted research titled "Shrine and Pilgrimage in Islamic Central Asia," designed to catalogue Muslim pilgrimage sites in Central Asia on the basis of historical accounts and Soviet-era anti-religious literature. He is currently researching the history of one of the major Sufi orders in Central Asia, the Yasaviya, for a forthcoming two-volume monagraph.

Young's first book, Most Way Home (1995), was selected for the National Poetry Series and won the John C. Zacharis First Book Award from Ploughshares. His second book of poems, To Repel Ghosts (2001), based on the works of the late artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, was a finalist for the James McLaughlin Prize from the Academy of American Poets.

Young's poetry and essays have appeared in several national publications, including the New Yorker and the New York Times Book Review, and have been featured on National Public Radio's All Things Considered. His latest book of poems, Jelly Roll: A Blues, a collection of blues-based love poems, was released in 2003 and hailed by Publisher's Weekly as "a versatile lyric tour de force." Young is the editor of the forthcoming Blues Poems anthology, which will feature a diverse range of poets from Langston Hughes to Gwendolyn Brooks.

The full list of 2003 Guggenheim fellows is available at