Faculty Awards

CHARLENE VILLASEÑOR BLACK, Professor of Art History and Chicana/o Studies at UCLA, has been appointed as Oxford University’s sixth Terra Foundation for American Art Visiting Professor for 2021-22. The Terra Foundation Visiting Professorship promotes the study of American art from a global perspective at the University of Oxford and beyond, thanks to funding from the Terra Foundation for American Art. Each Visiting Professor engages in advanced research in the visual arts of the United States, delivers public lectures and organises symposia that encourage international research collaboration. They also offer courses to undergraduate and graduate students.

Professor Black is also the recipient of a Getty Foundation Grant for Pacific Standard Time 2024, "Verdant Worlds: Exploration and Sustainability across the Cosmos." This project explores the intersections between the visual arts and science and is a collaboration between UCLA’s Center for Medieval & Renaissance Studies and Caltech’s Graduate Aerospace Laboratories. It explores the ways in which artists, scientists and imagineers informed each other, envisioning seemingly unimaginable futures, transforming fantasies into realities as they looked beyond known limits.
CATHERINE BONESHO, Assistant Professor of Near Eastern Languages & Cultures, has received a fellowship from the Frankel Center for Judaic Studies at the University of Michigan related to the study of Diversity in Second Temple Judaism for the 2021-2022 academic year. During the fellowship, she will work on her second book project Kings, Queens, and Caesars: Gentile Rulers in Early Jewish Literature. Her project integrates Classics and Jewish Studies by investigating the trope of non-Jewish rulers in early Jewish literature through case studies on the Jewish depictions of rulers like Alexander the Great, Titus, and Cleopatra.
ADRIANA VAZQUEZ, Assistant Professor of Classics, was awarded a prestigious Rome Prize for 2021-22 for her project “Window Reception: Brazilian Neoclassical Poetry and Lusophone Classics Across the Atlantic.” The American Academy in Rome annually selects Rome Prize winners by independent juries of distinguished artists and scholars through a national competition.
MICHAEL COOPERSON, Professor of Near Eastern Languages & Cultures, won the 2020/21 Sheikh Zayed Award Translation Prize for his Arabic to English translation of Impostures by Al-Hariri. The Sheikh Zayed Awards are the most prestigious and lucrative awards in Arabic literature: winners of the translation category each receive a gold medal, a certificate of merit, and a prize of AED 750,000. The award praises Impostures, published by Library of Arabic Literature in 2020, as “a bold, mature and innovative approach to translation [which] enabled Michael Cooperson to understand Maqamat Al-Hariri more intimately than anyone else, and to appreciate it as a treasure of Arab heritage.
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.