Knox College faculty receive Fulbright Fellowships

Karen Kampwirth to teach and study in Argentina; Jeremy Day O'Connell to conduct research in Scotland.

April 27, 2009

The U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Cultural Affairs has awarded two Knox College faculty highly coveted Fulbright Scholar Fellowships to lecture and conduct research overseas. Karen Kampwirth, professor of political science and chair of the Latin American Studies program, will teach at the University of Buenos Aires in Argentina. Jeremy Day O'Connell, assistant professor of music, will study music and linguistics at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland from August to December, 2009.

Karen Kampwirth, Argentina
Kampwirth will teach a course in Central American feminism and anti-feminism at the University of Buenos Aires, where she presented a lecture on the same subject in 2005. That experience gave Kampwirth the opportunity to learn more about the university and meet the faculty, who invited her to apply for the Fulbright opportunity. At that time, she was the program director for the Knox College study abroad program at the Universidad de Palermo in Buenos Aires.

Kampwirth has lived and studied extensively in Central and northern South America: Venezuela, El Salvador, southern Mexico, and Nicaragua. She says her first experience in Argentina helped shape her research and informed work on her forthcoming book, Gender and Populism in Latin America: Passionate Politics.

"This is the top public university in Argentina," she adds. "But Central American feminism and antifeminism is an area they don't have an expert in - and the area I know best. Teaching in Spanish means I can engage the students in the topic while I learn from them as well."

In addition to her course, Kampwirth also will help organize a graduate conference for the university and conduct preliminary research for future study. "Argentina and Nicaragua are the two Latin American countries that have been at the forefront of antifeminist organizing internationally," Kampwirth says. "I have already done extensive work on Nicaraguan antifeminism and plan to do some preliminary work on the history of Argentine antifeminism."

In addition, her husband Duane Oldfield, associate professor of political science at Knox and chair of the political science department, will serve as program director for Knox's study abroad program in Buenos Aires. Their children will enroll in a Spanish-speaking school. "This is a great opportunity for them to be immersed in the language and culture of Argentina," she adds.

Jeremy Day-O'Connell, Scotland
Day-O'Connell will study the musical aspects of spoken language at the University of Edinburgh.

According to Day-O'Connell, the University of Edinburgh has a world-class linguistics program and state-of-the-art phonology laboratory, where he will be conducting lab and field work recording native speakers of various languages.

"This will give me a chance to immerse myself in a totally new research area. It will represent a fairly drastic re-orientation in my research. And from my research, I would hope down the road to teach a class on the relationship between music and language," he said.

According to Day-O'Connell, a lot of scholars are interested in the relationship between music and language. This includes musicologists, linguists, psychologists and biologists. Sing-song phrases like ‘yoo-hoo,' ‘bye-bye,' ‘air-ball,' etc. can tell something about the evolutionary origins of music and language. "With my background in mathematics and my basic affinity for scientific thinking, I felt that an empirical methodology was needed and I was eager to pursue it. My reading in linguistics, however, has been quite challenging for me, and so I felt the need to surround myself with colleagues who could help. Edinburgh will be the perfect place for that."

Day-O'Connell, his wife Sarah, also an assistant professor of music at Knox College, and their two children will stay in Edinburgh from August through December.

The Fulbright Program, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, is the U.S. government's flagship international exchange program and is supported by the people of the United States and partner countries around the world. Under a cooperative agreement with the Bureau, the Council for International Exchange of Scholars (CIES) assists in the administration of the Fulbright Scholar Program for faculty and professionals.

Each year, American scholars and professionals travel to approximately 125 countries, where they lecture and conduct research in a wide variety of academic and professional fields. Fulbright awards include lecturing, research, and combination lecturing-research awards. Each award is country-specific, and usually discipline-specific.

Since 1946, the Fulbright Program has provided more than 286,000 participants from over 155 countries with the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research, to exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns. More information at the CIES website http://www.cies.org/.

Karen Kampwirth
Karen Kampwirth

Jeremy Day O'Connell
Jeremy Day-O'Connell