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Visual Cultural Studies Graduate Students Travel Globe Through Summer Fellowships

October 3, 2012 | 0 Comments

Four doctoral students in the University of Rochester’s graduate program in visual and cultural studies—Abby Glogower, Berin Golonu, Alicia Inez Guzmán, and Alexander Brier Marr—were awarded specialized fellowships to pursue research over the summer.

“The breadth and depth of these projects reflect the strength of our graduate program,” said Paul Duro, professor of art history and interim chair of the program of visual and cultural studies. “These prestigious fellowships are very competitive and our strong showing nationally is confirmation of the diverse strengths of our students in the field of visual and cultural studies.”


Abby Glogower, Visual and Cultural Studies, University of Rochester. Photo by University of Rochester, Brandon Vick.

Third-year student Abby Glogower received an Oberlin College Alumni Fellowship, which she used to conduct research at the Library Company of Philadelphia, one of the oldest libraries in the country. Glogower is focusing part of her dissertation on the relationships between Philadelphia photographers and printmakers during the 1840s-60s, following the invention of photography in 1839.

“Philadelphia was already a booming center for lithography, with entire districts full of studios which essentially functioned like Kinkos.” Glogower explains, noting that the Library Company also has a dedicated visual culture program that supports scholars, exhibitions, and symposia. “Working there was an ideal fit for a visual and cultural studies student.”

Berin Golonu, Ph.D. student, Visual and Cultural Studies, University of Rochester. Photo by University of Rochester, Brandon Vick.

Berin Golonu, a fourth-year student, spent a good portion of her summer conducting dissertation research in Turkey with the assistance of a Susan B. Anthony Institute Research Grant and a Celeste Hughes Bishop Award from the University of Rochester. While in Istanbul, she accessed museum collections and archives to research the history of Ottoman and Turkish painting and photography. Golonu’s dissertation analyzes changes in the views of landscape photography and paintings during the transition from the late Ottoman era to the new Turkish Republic and “how nationalist ideologies were represented through depictions of landscape.”

While in Turkey, she also traveled to the country’s Southeastern region to conduct research on an article she is writing about art and environmentalism in Turkey. It will be published in December 2012, in issue 120 of Third Text.

Alicia Inez Guzmán, Ph.D. student, Visual and Cultural Studies, University of Rochester.

Fourth-year student Alicia Inez Guzmán was a Richard E. Greenleaf Visiting Library Fellow at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. Funded by the Latin American Iberian Institute, this fellowship allowed Guzmán to look at land grant records, deeds, and maps at the Center for Southwest Research. There, she investigated how communal property, held by the indigenous and Hispanic people in New Mexico prior to U.S. annexation in 1848, gets pictured through the language of private property. Visiting the research center provided her with material for the first chapter of her dissertation, “Connected in Isolation.”

As Guzmán explains, “the research I conducted looks at changing conceptions of landscape in the Southwest and how ideas about property continue to reverberate for artists and local populations into the twentieth century.” At the end of the summer, she gave a public lecture at the University of New Mexico on her research.


Alexander Brier Marr, Visual and Cultural Studies, University of Rochester. Photo by University of Rochester, Brandon Vick.

Alexander Brier Marr, a fourth-year student, garnered a Predoctoral Fellowship from the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, housed at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. Aimed at enabling historians of American art to travel abroad, this funding allowed Marr to travel to Australia to research drawings by aboriginal men in the 19th century.

“I see their experimental work with new media, which at the time was paper and ink, as poorly understood in our country and overshadowed by more familiar aboriginal paintings,” says Marr. While there, Marr conducted additional research at the Sydney Biennale, one of the art world’s great international venues. According to Marr, who is beginning his dissertation on Native American art, “the trip allowed me to practice my conviction that the history of Native art is best understood in a global setting.”

Glogower, Golonu, Guzmán, and Marr are among a larger group of visual and cultural studies doctoral students who span six years of study and received artist’s residencies, fellowships, invitations to symposia, and travel awards this summer.

The visual and cultural studies program is an interdisciplinary doctoral program, housed in the Department of Art and Art History. It accepts five or six students per year. The program draws from coursework and faculty expertise in several University of Rochester humanities departments. For additional information on the program, visit

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Category: Society & Culture