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Four Graduate Students Win Fulbright Awards

July 10, 2018

Brown University, again in 2018, produced the most Fulbright winners in the nation. Graduate students Katherine Freeze, Watufani Poe, William Skinner and Edward (Geoffrey) Wildanger are among the 35 current and former students to receive the award. They are traveling in Tajikistan, Brazil, Barbados and Germany respectively for research in the coming months. Read more.

"I'm excited to be able to participate in the Fulbright program which allows so many to participate in cultural exchange with communities in other countries,” says Poe.

Poe is a doctoral candidate in Africana Studies and also a master’s student in History through the Open Graduate Education Program. With the support of the Fulbright award and the SSRC's International Dissertation Research Fellowship, he will be in Brazil conducting research on Black LGBTQ activism throughout the country, focusing on how Black LGBTQ activists define freedom for themselves and their communities in the face of oppressive violence. 

“For me this allows me act as a connecting force for Black LGBTQ diasporas in the United States and Brazil through my research, which is exciting personally and politically,” says Poe.

In Germany, Wildanger will continue his research abroad at Leipzig University. He looks forward to collaborating with the African Studies and Philosophy departments, the Simon Dubnow Institute for Jewish Studies, as well as with the Deutsche Bücherei, “one of Germany’s greatest libraries,” he says.

Wildanger’s research focuses on German, French, and English literature, including multilingual survivors of the Shoah, colonialism, and writers involved with the U.S. Civil Rights Movement. He studies how they have negotiated writing in both dominant and minority languages and dialects.

Freeze, who recently arrived in Tajikistan, will conduct eighteen months of dissertation fieldwork with musicians from an ethnolinguistic minority population living in Badakhshan, a remote territory of the Pamir Mountains of eastern Tajikistan bordering China, Afghanistan and Kyrgyzstan.

As an ethnomusicology student, she is investigating how musical creativity is nurtured and recognized within these musicians’ communities, with a hope to ascertain whether globalized notions of “creativity” have any impact on cultural development in the region. 

Freeze is also supported by fellowships from American Councils Title VIII and the American Institute of Afghanistan Studies.

Bill Skinner, a PhD student in the department of the History of Art and Architecture, will spend the upcoming year in Barbados researching mass housing, town planning and the legacy of the plantation system on housing development between the 1930s and 70s. 

"Receiving a Fulbright will expand my research and shape my dissertation in ways unknown to me. It's a wonderful opportunity and I'm thankful for the award," he says.