It was announced in late April that three humanities and social sciences scholars at UCR have been awarded the Fulbright grants for the 2017-18 academic year. The three scholars will be traveling to Scotland, South Africa and India to further their research.

UCR Associate Professor of French and Comparative Literature Heidi Brevik-Zender will be attending the University of Aberdeen in Aberdeen, Scotland in order to work more closely with her colleagues in the U.K. and to further her research on the roles women had on 19th century French architecture. She will also hold a visiting professorship in which she will lecture on her research topic at the University of Aberdeen.

The 19th century was a time of urban development in France and women were not formally taught architecture in schools until after the 20th century. Because of this, Brevik-Zender wants to ensure that the work women contributed does not go unacknowledged.

“There is a misconception that women were not part of the conversation during the modernization of French urban environments in this century. My book seeks to fill in this scholarly gap and to reinsert the contributions of women into this cultural history,” Brevik-Zender explained in an email interview.

UCR Associate Professor of Anthropology Derick Fay will be going to South Africa to research the relationship between conservation law and resource rights, in regards to the 2012 trial of three fishermen that were arrested for attempting to fish in the Dwesa-Cwebe Nature Reserve. During this case, Fay served as an expert witness.The case is expected to be brought to South Africa’s constitutional court in the coming year.

According to Fay, these environmental laws have existed for a long time but were never heavily enforced. It was not until after the end of South African apartheid that these laws were strictly applied and have since caused conflict between the government and the local fishing villages. “The political transformation in South Africa becomes a moment where it’s like we have this opportunity to and people would say, we heard it on the radio, (Nelson) Mandela saying that the people (who) have lost their land must get it back. So we’re going and we are filing out land claim,” said Fay.

Fay will primarily be working in the coastal city of Cape Town, as well as in rural towns on the coast.

UCR Assistant Professor of Political Science Ajay Verghese will be going to India to determine if increases in socioeconomic development are creating a decrease in religious belief despite an increase in religious practice.

Verghese is set to survey around 3,600 Hindu and Islamic families about their religious practices, their economic status and their political behaviors.

In an email interview, Verghese stated, “It’s a deeply religious country, where four major religions were born … and just about every religious group in the world is represented within its borders. At the same time, it’s a rapidly developing country, and has a huge growing middle class. So, will secularization happen in India? Can we take the theories of Marx and Weber and apply them to the Indian case? That’s what I want to find out.”

Verghese will be spending nine months in India, traveling through various regions in the country.

Verghese explained, “I hope it makes us take religion and our theories of religion and politics more seriously in these (religious) parts of the world.”