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Department of English Faculty Receive National Humanities Fellowships

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E.K. Tan Selected for National Humanities Center Fellowship; Andrew Newman Receives One-Year Grant from National Endowment for the Humanities

Two faculty members from the College of Arts and Sciences Department of English have received significant national humanities fellowships. Associate Professor E.K. Tan was named one of 34 fellows for 2023-24 by the National Humanities Center. Professor and Chair Andrew Newman received a one-year grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). 

This is Tan’s first fellowship with the Center, joining its intellectual community to work on his current project, “Queer Homecoming: Translocal Remapping of Sinophone Kinship.” 

Ek tan
E.K. Tan

“I’m so pleased and proud that Professor Tan has earned this tremendous national recognition, as well as the time and space to carry out his innovative interdisciplinary scholarship, which puts so many fields in conversation,” said Newman. “His work will be enriched by his participation in an amazing community of scholars at the NHC, and they’ll all benefit from his contributions.” 

Each fellow will work on an individual research project and will have the opportunity to share ideas in seminars, lectures and conferences at the Center. These newly appointed fellows will constitute the 46th class of resident scholars to be admitted since the Center opened in 1978.

Tan, who currently serves as chair of the Department of Asian and Asian American Studies, specializes in modern and contemporary Chinese literature, Sinophone studies, the intersection of Anglophone and Sinophone literature and culture from Southeast Asia, queer Asian studies, film theory, cultural translations, postcolonial and diaspora theory.

His most recent work focuses on “queer homecoming” as a critical intervention into the normative patrilineal kinship structure in Sinophone societies, defined by traditional family values such as those of Confucianism. The concept enables the articulation of alternative kinship structures in mainstream cultural expressions (in literature, film and new media) to destabilize the myth of consanguinity among Sinophone communities in Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan and Asian America.

“We are extremely pleased to be able to support the exciting work of these scholars,” said Robert D. Newman, president and director of the National Humanities Center. “They were selected from a truly exceptional field of applicants spanning the wide range of humanities disciplines. We look forward to their arrival in the fall as they pursue their individual projects and form a robust intellectual community.”

Through its education programs, the National Humanities Center strengthens teaching on the collegiate and pre-collegiate levels. Through public engagement intimately linked to its scholarly and educational programs, the Center promotes understanding of the humanities and advocates for their foundational role in a democratic society.

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Andrew Newman

Earlier this year, the NEH announced $28.1 million in grants for 204  humanities projects across the country, including a one-year grant to Andrew Newman to complete his book project, The High School Canon: The History of a Civic Tradition, which investigates the teaching and learning of the books of literature that were shared across generations of teachers and students in American schools since the mid-20th century, focusing on the role of literature instruction in a democracy.

This project builds on the work that Newman is doing with secondary school teachers as co-director of a 2023 Summer Institute, “Making the Good Reader and Citizen: the History of Literature Instruction in American Schools,” funded by a 2022 National Endowment for the Humanities grant. To be held virtually at the University of Texas, El Paso this summer, this institute will bring together 30 middle and high school teachers from around the country to examine the history of literary education. In July 2021, Newman and his collaborator, Jonna Perrillo, University of Texas, El Paso, directed a smaller version of this program hosted virtually by Stony Brook.

“I’m so proud of our humanists, E.K. and Drew, for their significant, national recognition,” said Nicole Sampson, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and distinguished professor of chemistry. “They are doing excellent work to elevate the importance of the humanities and bring attention to the strength of this discipline at Stony Brook.” 

Newman is the recipient of a 2019-20 fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. Recent work from this project appears in Public Books, The Conversation, and Inside Higher Education.

“It is really validating to receive support from the National Endowment for the Humanities for a study of American education that shares their founding premise: “‘democracy demands wisdom,'” Newman said. 

Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at www.neh.gov

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