WUSTL recognized as a top producer of Fulbright Scholarships

Chronicle of Higher Education cites both student and faculty Fulbright winners

Washington University in St. Louis has been named as one of the top producers of Fulbright Scholarships in the nation.

Thirteen WUSTL students and eight faculty members were selected as Fulbright grantees for the 2010-2011 academic year.

WUSTL was one of only 11 institutions ranked by the Chronicle of Higher Education as a top producer of both Fulbright students and Fulbright faculty.

“As Washington University pursues an aggressive internationalization strategy, the success of our students and faculty in being granted Fulbright awards is a testament to our strengths in a variety of international fields,” says Priscilla Stone, PhD, assistant provost for international education.

“Students are chosen for their academic merit and leadership potential from a very competitive pool and Washington University’s success rate is one of the highest of any university,” Stone says. “This is a major accomplishment for our students and faculty, as well as our institution as a whole.”

For the story on student Fulbright winners, which, in addition to the 13 cited by the Chronicle, lists one student who applied at large and one who was accepted but declined, visit news.wustl.edu/news/Pages/20933.aspx.

Three faculty members were chosen from the School of Law. For a story on those recipients visit news.wustl.edu/news/Pages/20942.aspx.

One faculty member was chosen from the School of Medicine. For that story, visit news.wustl.edu/news/Pages/20701.aspx

Four Arts & Sciences faculty members were chosen.

They are: William G. Acree Jr., PhD, assistant professor of Spanish; Asad Qadri Ahmed, PhD, assistant professor of Arabic & Islamic studies; Catherine (Cassie) Adcock, PhD, assistant professor of history, of South Asian studies and of religious studies; and Andrew Rehfeld, PhD, associate professor of political science.

William Acree

Acree earned a bachelor’s degree from Berry College and his doctorate from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. His research spans the fields of Latin American literary and cultural studies and has a strong historical focus centering on the late colonial period and the 19th century.

Acree’s Fulbright award takes him to Uruguay, where he is currently tracing the rural roots of national theatrical traditions and the formation of a theater-going public in both Uruguay and neighboring Argentina.

The title of his project is “Lasting Impressions: The Creole Circus, the Countryside, and the Making of a Theater-going Public in Uruguay, 1860-1890.”

“Uruguay has an incredibly rich theater scene,” Acree says. “The capital city of Montevideo offers dozens of plays at dozens of theaters every week. It is a miniature Broadway of sorts.”

Yet the origins of this theater culture were not urban in nature, he says.

“They stem from ‘creole dramas,’ short plays dealing with gauchos, cowboys of the region, that became the main attraction at circuses throughout the Uruguayan and Argentine countryside from 1870-1910,” Acree says.

“These plays usually presented the same storyline: a hard working gaucho is maligned by a corrupt system of justice and ends up taking revenge. These creole dramas transformed the circus of acrobatic tricks into the creole circus, and were by far the most popular form of entertainment in both countries until the early 20th century. The plays also quickly made their way from the circus tent to the stage, giving birth to the national theatrical tradition.”

Asad Qadri Ahmed

Ahmed is using his Fulbright to gather information for a book on a circle of Muslim scholars that thrived between the 18th and 20th centuries.

Known as the Khayrabadiyya, these scholars were well-versed in traditional Islamic sciences and in medicine, and best known for making great innovations in the fields of philosophy, theology and logic.

Ahmed will travel to a number of cities in India, including Tonk, Lucknow, Patna, Rampur and Delhi, to collect archives and manuscripts for his book, tentatively titled Fadl-iHaqq Khayrabadi and Rationalism in the Islamic Scholarly Tradition.

Ahmed joined the Department of Asian and Near Eastern Languages and Literatures in Arts & Sciences in 2007. His undergraduate training at Yale University included western philosophy and literature; at Princeton University, where he earned his doctorate, he expanded his fields of interest to include Islamic intellectual history in its first 400 years and early Islamic history.

Other interests include Arabo-Islamic philosophy and theology, with a special focus on logic and epistemology, classical Arabic poetry and poetics, Hadith studies, Tafsir and Graeco-Arabica.

This year, Ahmed also was awarded fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Humanities Center, the Stanford Humanities Center, the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies and the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton.

Catherine (Cassie) Adcock

Adcock earned a bachelor’s from Bard College and her doctorate from the University of Chicago. Her research centers on modern South Asian history; South Asian religious traditions; religion in political culture; the politics of secularism; and Islamic traditions.

Adcock’s Fulbright award is funding nine months of study — seven in India and two in London — on “Cattle Wealth and the Gaushala: Public Discourse and State Policy in Northern India.”

She will be conducting research for her second book, a study of cow protection in northern India between 1881 and 1969. She will be looking at campaigns to institute a legal ban on cow slaughter in India.

“This subject provides an interesting window onto two questions: the legacy of colonial rule on Indian political culture and the configurations of secularism specific to India,” Adcock says. “For example, the British suppressed cow protection campaigns in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, judging them to be the product of Hindu nationalist sentiment and damaging to Hindu-Muslim relations.”

But there is more to the story, she insists.

“In the 1940s, the British incorporated the cow protectionist institutions, called gaushala, that had been founded during the height of cow protection, into its agricultural planning, deeming them economically viable,” Adcock says.

“After independence in 1947, these gaushalas were incorporated into the national planning schemes organized by Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, who was a great champion of secularism.”

Andrew Rehfeld

Rehfeld is using his Fulbright for research on whether voters are capable of exercising the necessary judgment to maintain endorsable representative government.

In particular, how do the biases identified by cognitive psychology play out among voters in their role as democratic citizens? He plans to write several articles and an interdisciplinary book exploring the history of problems representative government has faced in terms of failures of cognition; the problems that cognition raises for democratic institutions today; and the possible use of a nested decision-making approach as a solution.

In spring 2011, he will serve as the Fulbright Visiting Research Chair in the Study and Practice of Federalism at McGill University in Quebec, Canada, where he hopes to collaborate closely with a group of leading normative theorists and empirical social scientists based there.

Rehfeld came to WUSTL in 2001 as an assistant professor and was promoted to associate professor in 2007. His research explores the theory and practice of political representation, the history of political thought, the practice and contours of social science, and the political rights of children.

He is the author of two books from Cambridge University Press, one on the The Concept of Constituency and a second, now under contract, on Political Representation.