URI Center for Humanities announces recipients of grant money

KINGSTON, R.I.– September 16, 1999 — This year, three University of Rhode Island professors will exchange their place in the classroom for opportunities to study in England, Greece, Turkey, and Italy while on sabbatical leaves. Much of their research will be supported by URI’s Center for the Humanities. Mary B. Hollinshead, associate professor of art and James Loy, professor of anthropology and sociology have been named Humanities Fellows for the 1999-2000 academic year. While the Center usually names only two fellows a year, a separate grant was awarded to Nedra Reynolds, associate professor of English, based on the merits of her research goals. Both Humanities Fellows will receive a $1,500 grant. As Fellows, they are required to initiate an undergraduate course relating to their research, and to present a public lecture describing and discussing their research findings to the academic community upon their return. Hollinshead, of Rehoboth, Mass., will study the form and development of monumental staircases in Hellenistic architecture (which encompasses the fourth through the first centuries B.C.E. in the Aegean basin and Italy) for a book. She will focus on how the political and social forces in the Hellenistic world influenced architectural traditions. Hollinshead will return to Greece, where she has excavated and studied periodically since 1968, and travel to western Turkey and Italy where she will record, draw, and photograph remains of ancient staircases. Hollinshead is considering an undergraduate seminar on ancient architecture, and another class emphasizing the political aspects of built structures based on case histories from Egypt, Persia, Greece, and Rome. For the past five years, Loy, of West Kingston, has studied both Charles Darwin, the well-known recluse who shattered the religious world with his theories on human evolution and Darwin’s family. In the spring of 2000, Loy will depart for England to conduct research for an upcoming biography of Darwin’s wife, Emma. While in England, Loy will have access to the Wedgwood and Darwin collections, which are housed at Keele University and Cambridge Museum. These collections include family documents, tens of thousands of letters, manuscripts, and family photos. Loy hopes his research will provide a new case study of the life of this gentry woman and wife in Victorian England, and provide new insight into the life of her husband. One particular point of interest, according to Loy, will be how much her deeply religious views influenced Darwin. Loy has proposed to teach a course called, “Emma Darwin: Gentry Wife and the Reluctant Handmaid of Evolution,” when he returns from his leave. According to Loy, his research, public presentation, and forthcoming biography will be of interest to historians, women’s studies specialists, and Darwin scholars. Reynolds, of Wakefield, will travel to England’s University of Leeds’ School of Geography next spring to research the influences of geography and social factors on the act of writing. She will publish her research on the changing conceptions of space in our culture that affect writers, the act of writing, and the teaching of writing in a book tentatively titled, “Geographies of Writing, Writers, and Writing Instruction.” While at the University of Leeds she will be a visiting researcher in the field of English and will attend lectures in the School of Geography. Reynolds notes that universities in the United Kingdom do not have writing programs or composition studies. She sees this as an opportunity to represent writing instruction and practices outside the United States. URI’s Center for the Humanities began in 1994 with a $10,000 grant from the College of Arts and Sciences. The Center’s aim is to enhance research and teaching in the humanities and has supported University lectures by major speakers representing humanistic disciplines and humanistic topics, and provides its own annual public programs and presentations. x-x-x For More Information: Jhodi Redlich, 401-874-2116