5 UCLA professors win 2007 Guggenheim Fellowships

April 23, 2007

Five UCLA professors have won 2007 Guggenheim fellowships and a share of the $7.6 million that will allow 189 artists, scholars and scientists in the U.S. and Canada to spend a year working on a specific research project.

Artist Jennifer Bolande, professor of new genres in the department of art, will be creating two new bodies of work using photography, sculpture, collage, projected images and possibly film, sound and installation. Her art focuses on salvaging, archiving or bringing new life to some dormant, overlooked or nearly extinct aspect of the cultural landscape, such as modern appliances, modernist towers and movie marquees.

"The fellowship will greatly assist in providing the time and resources necessary for the research, development and production of my work," she said, "not only this year, but [it] will pave the way for what I'll be doing in the years which follow."

J. Arch Getty, a history professor and authority on the former Soviet state, hopes to finish a book on the role that centuries-old forms of cultural etiquette may have played in Soviet society, especially politics.

"The Soviet state, with its rules, regulations and structures, may have been a kind of façade which hid what was really going on -- namely personal connections and networks," he said. "It's the old adage that it's not what you know but who you know."

Getty plans to spend six months doing research in the archives of the Communist Party in Moscow.

Peter Nabokov, a professor in the departments of world arts and cultures and American Indian studies, will work on two books. The first is a fully restored, edited version of the origin myth of the Acoma Pueblo in western New Mexico. The second is a biography of the Acoma Indian who narrated that myth to Smithsonian Institution scholars in 1928. For the past 15 years, Nabokov has been interviewing the narrator's 99-year-old son and sole survivor.

"I am grateful and humbled to win this award and ready to sit down at my desk for a long, long time," Nabokov said.

J. David Neelin, a professor of atmospheric and oceanic sciences and a member of UCLA's Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics, will use his fellowship to refine methods of analyzing rain in climate models. He conducts research on the Earth's climate system, climate variability and processes that govern tropical precipitation.

Teofilo F. Ruiz, a history professor who specializes in medieval Spain, will work on a book about Spanish festivals between 1350 and 1640. In the hope of shedding light on the transition from the Middle Ages to the early modern period, Ruiz has extensively researched practices relating to royal entries, carnivals and Corpus Christi processions, as reflected in Spanish and French archives.
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Guggenheim fellowships have been awarded annually since 1925 by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation to individuals who have demonstrated distinguished achievement in scholarship or the arts and who show exceptional promise for future accomplishments.

UCLA is California's largest university, with an enrollment of nearly 37,000 undergraduate and graduate students. The UCLA College of Letters and Science and the university's 11 professional schools feature renowned faculty and offer more than 300 degree programs and majors. UCLA is a national and international leader in the breadth and quality of its academic, research, health care, cultural, continuing education and athletic programs. Four alumni and five faculty have been awarded the Nobel Prize.

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