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Prof. Alagona to Lead 2013-14 Sawyer Seminar

UCSB Receives $175,000 from Mellon Foundation for Seminar on Comparative Study of Pacific Cultures.

UCSB’s proposal for the Mellon Foundation’s 2012 Sawyer Seminar competition has been approved by the Foundation’s Board of Trustees. The proposal, “Sea Change: Integrating the Historical Study of Human Cultures and Marine Environments in Three Pacific Regions,” involves History professor Peter Alagona as lead author and co-PI with Teresa Shewry (English) and David Lopez-Carr (Geography). Our proposal focuses on the subject of marine environmental history, broadly conceived.

In 2012 the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation invited UCSB to submit one proposal to its national Sawyer seminar series competition. Sawyer seminar grants provide support for comparative and collaborative research “on the historical and cultural sources of contemporary developments.” Sawyer seminars comprise temporary research centers, and generally last for one year.

The Mellon Foundation funds will support a number of campus events and activities during the 2013-14 academic year, as well as two year-long graduate fellowships and one year-long post-doctoral fellowship.

Read the full press release here.

The Mellon Foundation’s Sawyer Seminars program was established in 1994 to provide support for comparative research on the historical and cultural sources of contemporary developments. The seminars, named in honor of the Foundation’s long-serving third president, John E. Sawyer, have brought together faculty, foreign visitors, postdoctoral fellows, and graduate students from a variety of fields mainly, but not exclusively, in the humanities and social sciences, for intensive study of subjects chosen by the participants. This program aims to engage productive scholars in comparative inquiry that would (in ordinary university circumstances) be difficult to pursue, while at the same time avoiding the institutionalization of such work in new centers, departments, or programs. Sawyer Seminars are, in effect, temporary research centers.

The Mellon Foundation’s Sawyer Seminar page provides more information and a list of past seminar topics since 1994.

hm 6/19/12, 6/21; jwil 05.ix.12