WOOSTER, Ohio – Bryan Alkemeyer, an associate professor of English at The College of Wooster, has been awarded a 2019 Frederick Burkhardt Residential Fellowship by the American Council of Learned Societies.
According to the ACLS website, the Burkhardt program supports “scholars in the humanities and social sciences in the crucial years immediately following the granting of tenure, and provides potential leaders in their fields with the resources to pursue long-term, unusually ambitious projects.” The fellowship provides a $95,000 stipend, plus up to $7,500 for research costs and $3,000 for relocation expenses to support an academic year of residence at a university academic department or university-based humanities center of the recipient’s choice. Alkemeyer is one of 21 Burkhardt winners this year, including two each from Amherst and Princeton.
Alkemeyer will spend the 2019-2020 academic year in residence at UCLA, in the English department and the Center for 17th– and 18th-Century Studies. Rare materials in the university’s Clark Library will aid him in completing the manuscript for his book, Before the Primates: Metamorphoses, Miscegenation, and Speciesism, 1550-1750, which looks at how the Enlightenment era discovery of the existence of great apes combined with earlier observations about other animals’ behavior “to challenge philosophies of human uniqueness from the 16th to early 18th century.” He also will continue the research for his next project, Animal Authors: How Non-Humans Co-Created Literary Culture.
“Both books,” Alkemeyer says, “contribute to an emergent ‘post-humanities,’ decentering traditional notions of the human as a uniquely rational, linguistic, political, moral, and culturally productive being. Animal Authors argues that non-human beings had a constitutive impact on 18th-century English literary culture, so much so that certain historical animals, such as Horace Walpole’s cat, Selima, could legitimately be acknowledged as its co-creators.”
The American Council of Learned Societies, a private, nonprofit federation of 75 national scholarly organizations, is the preeminent representative of American scholarship in the humanities and related social sciences. The Burkhardt program is made possible by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
The College of Wooster is America’s premier college for mentored undergraduate research. By working one-on-one with a faculty adviser to conceive, organize, and complete an original research project, written work, performance or art exhibit, every Wooster student develops independent judgment, analytical ability, creativity, project-management and time-management skills, and strong written and oral communication skills. Founded in 1866, the college enrolls approximately 2,000 students.