Emily Green and Amaka Okechukwu Named 2021-22 Fenwick Fellows

FAIRFAX, VA – September 15, 2021: Dean of Libraries and University Librarian John G. Zenelis is pleased to announce the award recipients for the 2021-22 Fenwick Fellowships: Emily H. Green, Associate Professor of Music History, College of Visual and Performing Arts, and Amaka Okechukwu, Assistant Professor of Sociology, College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

Professor Green’s applied research project, Musical Practices of Early Black Virginians, seeks to document, present, and teach the early performance practices of free and enslaved Black musicians in Virginia. Green’s research will contribute to filling the gap currently existing between contemporary renditions of early songs and historically informed music practices, with a particular focus on colonial and antebellum Virginia. The project’s goals include creating an open-source website with resources for educators, publishing research for the academic community, developing courses for Mason students, and offering musical performances in the region. Professor Green’s Fenwick Fellow year will focus on the research and website creation, with the goal of offering coursework and concerts in the year following her fellowship.

Professor Okechukwu’s digital humanities project, Black Belt Brooklyn: Mapping Community Building and Social Life during the Urban Crisis, aims to map, illustrate, and historicize Black practices of resistance, mutual-aid, institution building, and vitality in Central Brooklyn during the 1970s and 1980s. With this project, Okechukwu’s goal is to push scholarly and popular understandings of the period of urban decline, particularly those conclusions generated about Black agency and cultural responses to urban decline. Her research offers a nuanced interpretation grounded in oral history, archival, visual, and spatial evidence of Black life. By creating a digital humanities project, Professor Okechukwu seeks to make her research more accessible and immersive, bringing viewers into a fuller picture of the social and political life in an urban Black community during the late twentieth century.

Dean Zenelis commented, “Each year the Fenwick Fellows program receives a number of creative and innovative proposals from Mason faculty members, and I am grateful for the work of the review committee in selecting this year’s recipients. It is rewarding to read in the proposals of this year’s fellows of their intent to work with two important centers within the Libraries – the Center for Mason Legacies and the Digital Scholarship Center. The breath of the research offered in these proposals – from applied musical research to digital humanities scholarship – is reflective of the Libraries’ range of collections and expertise. We look forward to hearing about the project results next year when Professors Green and Okechukwu share their findings.”

As is customary for recipients of the Fenwick Fellowship, Professors Green and Okechukwu will present on the outcomes of their projects in Spring 2023 at the annual Fenwick Fellow Lecture hosted by the University Libraries.

ABOUT THE FENWICK FELLOW PROGRAM: The Fenwick Fellowship is awarded annually to one or two Mason tenured, tenure-track, or multi-year appointment term faculty members to pursue a research project that uses and enhances the University Libraries’ resources while advancing knowledge in their fields. The winning proposals are recommended to the Dean of Libraries and University Librarian by a six-member selection committee including three instructional faculty members and three librarians, with one of the Associate University Librarians serving as administrative coordinator. The recipients are provided with a fully equipped and furnished research office in Fenwick Library and an award of $5,000 to support the recipient’s research project. The term for the fellowship is one academic year.

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