Academic Affairs, News

Eight Middlebury College students have been named recipients of Kellogg Fellowships to pursue research in the humanities. Each fellow will receive $5,000 to support travel and research expenses for senior work related to their major program of study.

Lisa Gates, associate dean for fellowships and research, noted that the Kellogg Fellowship provides students in humanities disciplines and areas of humanistic inquiry the opportunity to do in-depth research for their senior work. “With the support of the Kellogg Fellowship, students are able to travel to research locations in the United States and abroad, attend conferences, and purchase materials for their scholarly or creative capstone work,” she said.

This year’s recipients and their projects are as follows:

Livia Cohen ’24, a religion and history major, will conduct research at the Esalen Institute, a nonprofit educational retreat center in Big Sur, California. The Esalen Institute is home to the “Human Potential Movement,” which claims that most people are engaging only a fraction of their potential and that with various forms of experimentation, they can achieve new levels of consciousness and harness their full capability. For her project, “Visions of Self and the Sacred: The Esalen Institute 1962– 1982,” Cohen will focus her research specifically on examining Esalen’s shifting notions of the individual during the rise and fall of the counterculture movement and the intensification of the Cold War.

Hannah Ennis ’24, an environmental studies major, will focus her work on the discord surrounding endangered wetlands. For her project, “Within the Impending Flood: What Wetlands Can Teach about Resiliency and Restoration in Community,” Ennis will explore how people living near bodies of water respond after the environment is negatively impacted. She hopes to answer the question “In the wake of a hurricane or a drought, what is the resettling process of the land and the community?” The research, Ennis explained, will help her “engage in meaningful study that can serve as a necessary paradigm shift for responding intentionally to climate change.”

Joe Hanlon ’24 will travel to Jordan, Palestine, and Israel to study the work of Palestinian artist Sliman Mansour, who in 1987 boycotted the import of art supplies during the First Intifada—a time of protest in response to Israeli military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Mansour, along with other Palestinian artists composing the New Visions Collective, sought a nonviolent response to the occupation, and therefore refused to buy and use Israeli goods, instead turning to the land and using clay, henna, straw, and mud. In his project, “Creation Under Occupation: The Art of Sliman Mansour,” Hanlon, a history of art major, will examine Mansour’s use of mud, and other natural mediums, as a politically relevant artistic medium.

Jessica (Zhanqi) Hong ’24, an anthropology major, will conduct research in Longtang village, located in Guizhou Province, one of the poorest provinces in China. There, migrant work is the primary source of household income, with each household having an average of at least two members working as migrant workers. In 2013, villagers passed a plan for tourism development with a hope to help villagers “earn a livelihood at home.” Since then, Longtang has received significant funding to facilitate tourism development. In her project, “An Emic Study of Village Individuals’ Participation in Tourism Development in Longtang Village, China,” Hong will explore how village members participate in tourism development and how their participation influences Longtang villagers’ lives and their perceptions of the future.

Chang Ma ’24, for his project, “Non-conceptuality in Mahāyāna Buddhist meditative practices,” will travel to Guangdong Province, China; Kathmandu, Nepal; New York; and Massachusetts, where he will attend meditation retreats and conduct research on Mahāyāna Buddhist philosophy. Ma hopes to investigate the role of conceptuality in various layers of consciousness and how non-conceptual wisdom, a state of awareness characteristic of the enlightened beings for the Yogācāra school, is possible in the human world seemingly permeated by dualistic, conceptual thinking. A joint major in philosophy and religion, Ma noted that his work will explore “an indispensable perspective of traditional Asian religion on the contemporary philosophy of mind.” 

Sophia McDermott-Hughes ’24 will conduct her research in Benzú, Spain, and Belyounech, Morocco. The two locations are considered to be one community separated by the drawing of the border between Spain and Morocco in 1956. A double major in anthropology and Arabic with a minor in Spanish, McDermott-Hughes will explore the unique case created by this particular postcolonial community. She noted that the border is unique because “it is more than a dividing line between two countries; it’s a focal point for many political inequities and tensions.” She added that some tensions include “the first versus the third world, the colonizers versus the colonized, the migrant crisis, and the global economic divide.” Her project, “Checkpoint Benzú: Identity Formation across the Moroccan-Spanish Border,” will explore various adaptations and means of coping with boundaries imposed on communities.

Arthur Romero da Veiga Martins ’24, a double major in English and gender, sexuality, and feminist studies, will travel to São Paulo, Brazil, and New York City for his project, “Meat Markets: Queer Examinations of Grindr.” Romero da Veiga Martins will conduct an analysis of the ways in which neoliberal capitalism and technology inform the production of our desires and our consumptive practices. He will also examine how gender, race, class, and other social markers have divided and continue to divide LGBTQ communities. He described his project as “an opportunity to tell a story—data driven, creative, and personal—about the struggles for acceptance and of finding a community.”

Tejas Srinivasan ’24, an English major, will spend time in London for his project, “Multiple Londons? Mapping Contemporary British Urban Fiction.” There, he will explore the geography of London novels published after 1980 when, he noted, there was an increase in the number and diversity of communities portrayed in fiction. “London is presented with meticulous detail in all these novels, as the trends, unspoken rules, and feelings of specific neighborhoods are foundational to the texts,” said Srinivasan. “The city itself becomes somewhat of a character in the novels.” Srinivasan will spend time in various London neighborhoods to research how characters living in each neighborhood relate to the city, whether they have the freedom to move around, or whether something external—whether that’s socioeconomic, racial, or personal—restricts their freedom to various areas of the city.

Unique to Middlebury College, the Kellogg Fellowship was established in 2014 in honor of Michael Kellogg, the husband of Lucy Pugh ’79 and father of Baird Kellogg ’10 and Camille Kellogg ’17.