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 VOL. 23, NO. 14FEBRUARY 6, 1998 

Society of Fellows Receives Grant for College’s Major Cultures Program

The Society of Fellows in the Humanities has been awarded a grant of $144,000 by the Arthur Vining Davis Foundation for three one-year fellowships to enrich Columbia College’s Major Cultures program.

  Davis fellows will be specialists in the study and teaching of the cultures of Africa, Latin America and the Middle East.

  The Arthur Vining Davis Foundation supports private higher education, hospices, health care, public television, and graduate theological education.

  The first recipient of the Major Cultures fellowship will be selected this semester from among the nearly 600 applicants in the Society’s 23rd annual international fellowship competition.

  The Davis fellows will join seven other postdoctoral fellows in the humanities resident at the Heyman Center for the Humanities. The fellows’ activities include weekly seminar sessions (involving senior scholars from various Columbia departments) held on Thursdays in the Heyman Center and open to all members of the Columbia community.

  With the awarding of the Arthur Vining Davis grant, the Society plans to build a comparable group of fellows who, in fulfillment of their undergraduate teaching assignment, will teach in Columbia College’s Major Cultures program.

  The Major Cultures requirement, which introduces undergraduates to cultures and civilizations outside the European-North American orbit, is made up of three categories of courses: broad introductions to major cultures; more specialized courses treating particular aspects of a major culture, and courses treating manifestation of these cultures in the United States. Students normally meet the requirement by taking one course from two of three categories.

  An eight-member fellowship selection committee, composed of faculty members from the Society’s governing board, will select the recipient of the Major Cultures fellowship.

  The members of the committee are: Jonathan Crary, art history and archaeology; Victoria de Grazia, history; Walter Frisch (chair), music; Patricia Grieve, Spanish; Robert Hymes, East Asian languages and cultures; David Johnston, political science; Karl Kroeber, English and comparative literature, and Allan Silver, sociology.

  Since its founding in 1976 with endowment grants from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the William R. Kenan Charitable Trust, the Society has supported more than 100 fellows who have taught more than 300 sections of general education courses in Columbia College, and have subsequently entered into impressive academic careers, several currently holding tenured positions at Columbia.

  The Society fosters productive inter-relations between primary-level undergraduate teaching and specialized advanced research. Society fellows enhance the humanities inter component of Columbia College’s general education program while developing sophisticated research skills and interdisciplinary thinking that transgresses limiting boundaries established by departmentalization and conventional field definitions.