Four NU profs bring home Guggenheim Fellowships

Casey Newton

Four Northwestern faculty members have won John Simon Guggenheim Fellowships for their work in arts and sciences.

Winners in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences were art Prof. Ed Paschke, history Prof. Jonathon Glassman, and English and religion Prof. Barbara Newman. Medical School pathology Prof. Frank Gonzalez-Crussi also won a Guggenheim.

Announced April 6, the awards include 182 artists, scholars and scientists selected from more than 2,900 applicants. The fellowships, which last either six months or one year, provide money for special research or other projects.

Recipients typically spend the duration of their fellowships away from campus. The average amount of a fellowship grant in 1999 was $33,568.

Paschke said he was surprised to win the fellowship.

“Early on in my career, I had applied for a couple fellowships and was not successful,” he said. “I figured that it just was not in the cards. But a friend encouraged me to apply for (a Guggenheim), and to my amazement, I got one.”

Paschke, a painter, said the fellowship will allow him to continue his previous work, which addresses issues of luminosity and light as a metaphor for enlightenment.

Glassman’s work addresses political culture in Zanzibar in the first half of the 20th century.

He said his research examines changes in the way people thought about ethnicity and the rise of “racial demagoguery.”

Glassman said it was exciting to be awarded the fellowship.

“People seem to sit up and take notice when you’ve won a Guggenheim,” he said. “I felt good. (Then) a lot of my colleagues were saying, ‘Hey, I remember when I won a Guggenheim.’ That brought me down a few notches.”

Newman will spend her time away from classes working on her book, “God and the Goddesses: Vision, Poetry and Belief in the Middle Ages.”

The book will analyze the nature of religious imagination by examining goddess figures in medieval literature.

She said it was satisfying to receive the Guggenheim on this, her fourth application.

“Persistence pays off,” she said. “I was very pleased.”

Newman also said she was happy for the temporary reprieve from departmental bureaucracy.

“I get a year off — no committee meetings!” she said.

Crussi got the Guggenheim on his first try — which was no surprise to him, he said.

“I felt confident,” Crussi said. “Maybe I’m a little too conceited, but I thought I was going to get it.”

Crussi attributed his confidence to positive reviews of his previous books and the unique nature of his work.

“I’m a physician, and a pathologist, and I also do more literary stuff,” he said. “I’m joining two separate fields.”

Crussi will write a series of essays focusing on birth and human reproduction.