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Art History Professors Win Awards from American Council of Learned Societies and Fulbright U.S. Scholars Program

Lisa Pon receives ACLS Fellowship; Roberto Tejada named Fulbright-FAAP Distinguished Chair in the Visual Arts

Two Meadows art history professors, Lisa Pon and Roberto Tejada, have won awards from the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) and the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program, respectively.

Associate professor Lisa Pon has won a 2012-2013 fellowship for $45,000 from the ACLS.

Pon, an associate professor, has won a 2012-2013 fellowship for $45,000 from the ACLS to support her book project on “Venice and the Early Modern Plague.”

The ACLS Fellowship program supports research in the humanities and related social sciences, allowing recipients to devote six to twelve months to full-time research and writing; projects are expected to result in a major piece of scholarly work. The ACLS received 1191 applications and chose 65 for fellowship awards; criteria included the project’s potential to provide original and significant contributions to the field, quality and feasibility of the proposal, and the applicant’s scholarly record and career trajectory.

Pon’s book explores the architecture and urbanism of contagion in early modern Venice, from the 15th to the 17th century. “With few natural resources beyond its beautiful and strategic location, early modern Venice was particularly vulnerable to recurrent outbreaks of plague,” said Pon. “Its economy was based on trade that necessitated traffic to and from potentially plague-ridden lands. Venice’s responses to the challenges of the plague shaped the city in fundamental ways, from the output of its important printing industry, to changes in its government bureaucracy, to its great votive churches.

"My book explores the ways early modern Venetians sought to understand and control their experience of the plague.” An anonymous reviewer for the ACLS described the project as “truly contextual and cross-disciplinary,” one that will result in “an extremely significant book to expand our understanding of the precariousness of life in Early Modern times and the strength of the wills required to use monuments and artefacts to overcome that fragility.”

Roberto Tejada has been named the 2012-2013 recipient of the Fulbright-FAAP Distinguished Chair in the Visual Arts.

Professor Roberto Tejada, Distinguished Endowed Chair in Art History at Meadows, has been named the 2012-2013 recipient of the Fulbright-FAAP Distinguished Chair in the Visual Arts. The award from the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program will allow Tejada to engage in scholarship with faculty and students at the Armando Alvares Penteado Foundation (FAAP) in São Paulo, Brazil.

One of four Distinguished Chairs in different disciplines established in Brazil by the Fulbright Scholar Program, the FAAP Distinguished Chair was created to call attention to U.S. scholars’ contributions to the development of the visual arts in Brazilian universities and in the arts community. FAAP is a prestigious arts school and cultural center in São Paulo, housing both a theater and the Museum of Brazilian Art.

Dr. Tejada, an internationally known specialist in modern and contemporary Latin American and Latino/U.S. visual culture, will spend four months at FAAP in fall 2012 interacting with graduate and undergraduate students.

He said he is greatly looking forward to the opportunity. “My research in visual studies has encompassed a series of questions in the overlapping domains of art history, inter-American studies and critical theory,” he said. “I’ve had the opportunity to write about contemporary Brazilian artists for exhibition catalogs and other publications in Mexico and the United States, and I’ve more recently been devoting research to the greater art world of São Paulo.

"By contrasting contemporary art from Brazil and the United States, I look to locality as being critical to the production of art—as important as any meaning is to its representational effects.

“My goal as the Fulbright-FAAP Distinguished Chair in the Visual Arts is to establish the groundwork for productive exchanges between the Fundação Armando Alvares Penteado, SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts, collecting institutions in the Dallas area, and other U.S. and international stakeholders in Brazil’s contemporary arts,” he said.

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