By Gabrielle Maxey
Two University of Memphis professors will be traveling abroad this summer as part
of the prestigious Fulbright Scholar Program.
Dr. Jonathan Judaken
Dr. Jonathan Judaken, professor of history and director of the Marcus W. Orr Center
for the Humanities at the U of M, has been selected as a Fulbright Senior Specialist
and will travel to Israel. Dr. Bill E. Lawson, distinguished professor of philosophy,
has been awarded a Fulbright-University of Liverpool Scholar Award for 2011-12 and
will journey to England.
Judaken has been invited by both Haifa University and Tel Aviv University to give
a series of public lectures, seminars, workshops and consults on the basis of his
research on anti-Semitism, specifically based on the Critical Theories of Anti-Semitism
book he is writing.
“The most interesting thing about this is that there are no Fulbright specialists
designated in the humanities,” Judaken said. “Instead, my grant has officially been
given in sociology with my area of expertise as ‘ethnic and cultural studies, specially
focused on Jewish studies and the role of minorities,’ even though I am a historian
Judaken’s specialist designation applies for five years. A specialist can be called
upon as an expert by universities or internationally based non-governmental organizations
based upon project proposals they submit to Fulbright.
These project grants are not for research as is more customary for Fulbright scholars.
Activities include teacher training, short-term lecturing, conducting seminars, special
conferences or workshops, as well as collaborating on curriculum planning and institutional
and faculty development.
According to the Fulbright Scholar Program, this program “promotes linkages between
U.S. academics and professionals and their counterparts at overseas universities or
institutions with education focused programming.”
Dr. Bill E. Lawson
Lawson will travel to the University of Liverpool to study philosopher John Locke’s
views on forced labor and to the University of Nottingham to study the writings of
Frederick Douglass on photography. He will also teach a course on either Douglass
or African-American philosophy at the University of Liverpool during the six-month
Lawson’s research will focus on Locke’s writings about the social and cultural history
of 16th-century Britain including forced labor. His project is connected to the research
done at Liverpool’s Centre for the Study of International Slavery.
“I particularly like the interdisciplinary nature of the work at Liverpool,” Lawson
said. “The University of Liverpool brings together researchers and scholars in the
areas of art, music, literature, and social, political and intellectual history.”
Lawson is particularly interested in the work done by scholars in the Institute for
Irish Studies on the role of the Irish as forced laborers in the Americas.
One aspect of this program, Philosophy in Schools, connects with the Philosophical
Horizons program at the University of Memphis.
“Our program aims to introduce the history and practice of philosophy to Memphis children,
particularly those who are socioeconomically disadvantaged and attend schools that
are the least likely to have the resources to implement Philosophy for Children into
their curriculum,” Lawson said. “The University of Liverpool, like the University
of Memphis, is an urban university. And like Memphis, Liverpool has a community outreach
agenda, making the community work I do here a natural fit for the type of academic
engagement exhibited at Liverpool. The academic and social interests at Liverpool
make my research agenda, the facilities and faculty at Liverpool a perfect research
and teaching match.”
Lawson grew up in Philadelphia and received his PhD in philosophy from the University
of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His area of academic specialization is African-American
philosophy with an emphasis on social and political philosophy. His published works
include Between Slavery and Freedom with Howard McGary, Pragmatism and the Problem
of Race, edited with Donald Koch, Faces of Environmental Racism, Second Edition, edited
with Laura Westra and articles on jazz, the urban underclass, Locke and Frederick
Lawson has also taught at Spelman College, the University of Delaware and Michigan
The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored
by the U.S. government and is designed to “increase mutual understanding between the
people of the United States and the people of other countries.” With this goal as
a starting point, the Fulbright Program has provided almost 300,000 participants —
chosen for their academic merit and leadership potential — with the opportunity to
study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas and contribute to finding answers
to shared international concerns.
The Fulbright Program was established in 1946 under legislation introduced by then-Senator
J. William Fulbright of Arkansas. It is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s
Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.
Fulbright was a prominent and gifted American statesman of the 20th century. His political
career of more than 30 years in the U.S. Congress was distinguished by his unequaled
contribution to international affairs and marked by his tenure as the longest serving
chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He had profound influence on America’s
foreign policy, and his vision for mutual understanding shaped the extraordinary exchange
program bearing his name. His Senate career was marked by notable instances of principled
dissent. In 1954, he was the only senator to vote against an appropriation for the
Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, chaired by Senator Joseph R. McCarthy.