English Professor Receives Prestigious Fulbright to Travel to Northernmost University for Research Project

By Staci Wilson, CHASS Dean’s Office Student Intern
April 16, 2011

Michelle Raheja, Associate Professor of English, has been awarded a Core Fulbright Research Fellowship for the 2011-2012 academic year at the University of Tromso’s Centre for Sami Studies in Norway. The University of Tromso is the world’s northernmost university, located over two hundred miles north of the Arctic Circle, and home to the preeminent department of Sami studies. While on fellowship, Raheja will conduct research that stems from and expands visual and literary culture studies from her resent book, Reservations and Reelism: Redfacing, Visual Sovereignty, and Native American Film (2010). Her book explores how Native American filmmakers have shaped depictions of indigenous peoples since the inception of film. However, her Fulbright project will focus specifically on analyzing how Sami filmmakers make use of various visual aesthetic forms, including music videos, to critique and expand discussions of settler colonialism and the politics of assimilation.

Professor Raheja currently serves as Interim Chair of the California Center for Native Nations (CCNN) in addition to teaching courses in early American literature and Native American literary and visual studies. The CCNN is a research facility located at UCR, founded by Native American scholars Rupert and Jeanette Henry Costo, that initiates and facilitates research by, about, and with Native American communities, with a strong focus on California tribes. Raheja’s involvement with this center, as well as her exemplary research, make her the perfect candidate for the Fulbright award, whose mission is to, “increase mutual understanding between people of the United States and people of other countries.” The Fulbright Fellowship Program is government sponsored and awards research and travel opportunities on an annual basis to applicants who have demonstrated academic merit and leadership potential. Raheja is the second faculty member of the UCR English department to be granted a Fulbright award and the first to receive a Core Fulbright Research Award.

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