Guggenheim Fellows display diverse interests

Fellows’ scholarly work ranges from the Papuan language to comic memoirs.

By Isabella McKinley-Corbo

Four U of C scholars will join the ranks of 177 other recipients of the Guggenheim Fellowship this year to commence and continue projects in anthropology, business, graphic novels, and history.

Alison Bechdel, John H. Cochrane, Adrian Johns, and Don Kulick distinguished themselves from a pool of nearly 3,000 candidates by demonstrating “exceptional capacity for productive scholarship or exceptional creative ability in the arts,” according to the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation website.

For Kulick and Cochrane, the fellowship funds will be one of the final steps to the culmination of years of work.

A professor of anthropology in Comparative Human Development, Kulick will use his fellowship to work on a book concerning the demise of an isolated Papuan language that he has been studying since the mid-1980s.

Cochrane, as a distinguished service professor at the Booth School, plans to complete a book on the fiscal foundations of inflation. He has pursued the subject generally since graduate school and can now research it in more depth.

Bechdel, on the other hand, envisions continuing on her current path. A celebrated cartoonist, particularly for her comic strip “Dykes to Watch Out For,” and a 2011-2012 visiting fellow at the Richard and Mary L. Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry, Bechdel plans to complete her third graphic memoir.

Johns, the Allan Grant Maclear Professor in History, plans on studying the intellectual property defense industry. “ stimulate public attention to and debate about the measures that society takes to uphold information, and to encourage explicit reflection on how we should try to reconcile the information society with the good society,” he wrote in an e-mail.

The recipients hailed the University as a positive professional influence. Kulick commended the U of C’s commitment to research in comparison to other universities that he has worked at in the past.

“None of them have come close to the U of C in their commitment to, and support of, primary research,” Kulick wrote in an e-mail.

“I would be a bum if it weren’t for this place,” Cochrane wrote.