Fenderson wins Mellon New Directions Fellowship

Jonathan Fenderson

Jonathan Fenderson, an associate professor of African and African American studies in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, has won a 2024 New Directions Fellowship from the Mellon Foundation.

Established in 2002, New Directions Fellowships support faculty in the humanities and humanistic social sciences in acquiring new skills outside their areas of expertise. Awardees receive the equivalent of one year’s academic salary, as well as two summers of additional support and tuition, course fees or equivalent costs associated with new training programs.

Fenderson, who studies African diaspora social movements, is one of 10 New Directions recipients for 2024. The fellowship will support training in ethnomusicology and sound studies relating to his current research, tentatively titled “Project Noise: NYC Public Housing, Neoliberalism and the Ascent of Hip-Hop America.” Drawing on historical archives, periodicals, visual media, interviews and a vast catalog of albums, songs and sonic production, “Project Noise” will explore hip-hop’s roots in immediate local experiences, particularly the built environment, and its implication for our understanding of race, class, governance and urban life.

Fenderson is only the fourth WashU faculty member to win a New Directions Fellowship, following Nancy Reynolds, an associate professor of history in Arts & Sciences, in 2014; and Rebecca Messbarger, a professor of Italian in Arts & Sciences, and Mark Pegg, a professor of history, both in 2005. The Center for the Humanities in Arts & Sciences coordinated WashU’s internal nomination process and then helped Fenderson develop and submit his final proposal. For more information about the fellowships, visit mellon.org.

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