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Anthropologist Wins Fellowship for Ethnographic Research Project

March 23, 2011

Svetlana Peshkova, assistant professor of anthropology, has been awarded a prestigious American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) Fellowship. The program supports scholars in humanities disciplines by providing funds for six to 12 months of continuous research. Funded fellows are expected to develop a major piece of scholarly work. Peshkova is one of 64 American scholars to receive an award this year out of a pool of 1,160 applicants. The award carries a $30,000 stipend.

“This is a highly competitive award and a great achievement,” says Kenneth Fuld, dean of the College of Liberal Arts. “It is especially helpful for someone in the early stages of her career who is developing her scholarship.”

Peshkova will use the ACLS fellowship to complete a book manuscript based on her ethnographic fieldwork in the post-Soviet Central Asia’s Ferghana Valley, a place commonly perceived to be a source of Islamic extremism. The manuscript examines the everyday lives of local women teachers and leaders, their feelings about being Muslim, and their visions of social change. Peshkova argues that these women are actively engaged in a moral transformation of their local communities and examines how their leadership furthers our understanding of religious renewal in the Valley. The manuscript presents a nuanced understanding of relationships among religion, the individual, the secular state, and social change.

Peshkova is particularly appreciative of the support and assistance she received from Professor David Watters and the Office of Research Development during the application process.

Many institutions and individuals contribute to the ACLS Fellowship Program, including the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The Ford Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and the Council’s college and university Associates, including the University of New Hampshire.

The UNH scholar to most recently receive an ACLS Fellowship is associate professor of history Julia Rodriguez who was funded in 2006 for her project on the science of citizenship in Latin America.

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