Race Historian, Activist Among 2003 MacArthur FellowsCHICAGO
An historian whose work focuses on the role of race in the social and cultural evolution of Egyptian identity and modern Islamic society is among this year’s class of MacArthur Fellows. Dr. Eve Troutt Powell, an associate professor of history at the University of Georgia, along with 23 others will receive $500,000 in “no strings attached” support over the next five years from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.
Powell’s research sheds new light on the complicated dynamics between colonial powers and colonized peoples. In her recent book, A Different Shade of Colonialism: Egypt, Great Britain, and the Mastery of the Sudan, she points to the ways that the intellectual and political elite distinguished themselves as racially and ethnically superior to the Sudanese, in much the same way that the British colonials distanced themselves from their Egyptian subjects. Thus, she introduces racial stereotyping and slave-holding, topics often overlooked in studies of the Middle East, as practices that played an integral role in the formation of 19th-century Egyptian self-image (see Black Issues, May 9, 2002).
Several other fellows were recognized for research, scholarship, creative efforts and community activism that directly influences people of color in the United States and beyond.
Children’s novelist and poet Angela Johnson’s award-winning books for children and young adults presents feisty, intelligent and sensitive African American girl narrators struggling with their parents, their independence and the challenges of growing up.
Human rights champion Corinne Dufka has worked to bring attention to the trauma inflicted by Sierra Leone’s civil war. As an investigator for the U.N.-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone, she documents atrocities of the previous decade and challenges Sierra Leoneans to preserve their recent history both to bring past criminals to justice and to deter future human rights abuse.
As founder and director of the African Women’s Health Practice in Boston, Dr. Nawal Nour created the first practice in the United States to address the medical and emotional needs of female immigrants who have been ritually circumscribed. Nour’s work moves beyond the cultural debate regarding female circumcision to recognize that it also represents a chronic medical risk throughout the lives of women who have undergone the ritual.
Lateefah Simon, executive director of the Center for Young Women’s Development in San Francisco, leads a distinctive and bold program to guide troubled girls from delinquency and poverty to healthy and productive adulthoods. In the service of impoverished teens and young women with histories of drug addiction, prostitution, or abuse, the center offers a path toward improved self-esteem and economic stability.
The fellows program places no restrictions on how recipients may use the $500,000, and no reports are required. For more information, visit the MacArthur Foundation Web site at <www.macarthur.org>.
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