Faculty Awards

Professor LUKE YARBROUGH of the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, has received a fellowship from the Israel Institute for Advanced Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in the 2020-2021 Academic Year. In partnership with Professor Uriel Simonsohn of Haifa University, he has co-organized a research group whose project is titled “Cultural Brokerage in Pre-modern Islam“. Professor JESSICA GOLDBERG from the UCLA Department of History and Professor Maria Mavroudi from UC Berkeley’s Department of History are also part of the research group.

The group will explore the dynamic by which Islamic civilization was informed by cultural polycentricism and pluralism and which multiple groups and traditions took part in molding. A variety of individuals acting as cultural brokers who served as mediators between social and cultural groups were conduits of cultural transmission by transferring, mediating, embodying, and exchanging various social and cultural capitals, such as spiritual authority, erudition, kinship ties, legal capacities, and more.
The American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) has awarded JAVIER PATIÑO LOIRA (Spanish & Portuguese) a fellowship to complete his book Sharp Minds: Metaphor and the Cult of Ingenuity in an Age of Science (1639-1654).

Sharp Minds tells a story at the crossroads of humanistic and scientific inquiry. It explores the 17th-century cult of intricate and wonder-arousing metaphors, called “conceits,” in connection with contemporary discourses on geometry, optics, and medicine. In a conversation, a sermon, or a play, conceits enabled a speaker’s “sharp mind” to arouse marvel in others by creating mind-blowing associations between disparate objects. The book argues that interest in Euclid’s geometry, telescopic and microscopic observations, distorting mirrors, and anatomy crucially informed the way Italian and Spanish theorists writing between 1639 and 1654 conceptualized the conceit’s logical and psychological workings. It reveals that scientific and technological innovations reshaped the way scholars imagined language’s ability to generate spaces of encounter and competition between the minds of speaker and listener.
Professor S. PETER COWE (Near Eastern Languages and Cultures) awarded a doctorate honours cause by the Russian-Armenian University of Yerevan in 2018 for contributions to the analysis of Armenian culture in Late Antiquity and the early Medieval period that inscribe it within a broader Mediterranean and Near Eastern context.