Through a Fulbright grant, Carla Guerrón Montero, associate professor of anthropology at the University of Delaware, spent the month of November breaking down the academic and applied divide between European anthropologists.
The Fulbright Senior Specialist Grant, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, aims to promote the linkages between U.S. scholars and other institutions around the globe. Fulbright specialists travel and work with these institutions to fulfill a particular need in the scholar’s area of expertise.
During her time abroad, Guerrón Montero spent four days in Tartu, Estonia, at the fourth annual international conference, “Why the World Needs Anthropologists,” hosted by the European Association of Social Anthropologists’ Applied Anthropology Network. At the meetings, she was elected U.S. liaison for the network.
“There is a need to have a broader conversation about why anthropology is still useful and has a great deal of application instead of a fossilized discipline that no one needs,” she said. The conference featured lectures and workshops that focused on the role of anthropology in the information technologies field.
“It has been amazing to see the people that have come here to give talks, but also the audience, made up mostly of young people desperate to find answers,” she said.
Guerrón Montero later visited Ljubljana, Slovenia, where she spent the rest of her Fulbright giving guest lectures at the Research Center of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts (ZRC SAZU) and the University of Ljubljana.
“Slovenian anthropology has been mostly academic, with little influence outside the academic world,” Guerrón Montero said. Slovenian anthropologists are currently playing an integral role in the development of Europe’s first organization of applied anthropologists during the 21st century.
Guerrón Montero shared key lessons from the United States and Latin America to contribute to erasing these barriers on another continent.
“I think that anthropology is such a diverse, flexible and holistic discipline that it allows us to solve problems, still using theory and rigorous methods, but serving very practical needs. I think there is a great deal of potential that few people recognize about anthropology,” Guerrón Montero said. “That is what it is so useful for me to have been there, and for me to bring ideas from Slovenia back to the University of Delaware, too.”
According to Guerrón Montero, 60 percent of students who receive a degree in anthropology become applied anthropologists. “We need to do more work to make people aware of the usefulness of anthropology in every field,” she said.
Celebrating a legacy of Fulbright at UD
While Guerrón Montero completed her Fulbright in Slovenia, UD celebrated Fulbright on campus.
As part of its Global Month programming, the Institute for Global Studies (IGS) hosted the third annual UD Fulbright Society Reception on Nov. 10. During the event, attendees celebrated the 70th anniversary of the U.S. Fulbright Program and recognized members of the University community with special Fulbright milestone anniversaries of their own.
The reception featured a keynote address by George Watson, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, who recognized Jay Halio, professor emeritus of English, and John Hurt, professor emeritus of history, who received their Fulbright awards 50 years ago.
The dean also recognized faculty who were awarded Fulbrights 25 and 30 years ago. Vicki Cassman, associate professor of art conservation, Alan Fox, professor of philosophy, and Russell Murray, professor and chair of music, all received Fulbright awards in 1986, while Gretchen Bauer, professor of political science and international relations, pursued her first Fulbright in 1991.
Held in Old College Hall, the setting of the reception also gave guests the opportunity to explore the University Museums exhibit, “The Ese'Eja People of the Amazon: Connected by a Thread,” based on a multi-disciplinary team project of which Guerrón Montero was a member.
Earlier in the day, IGS was joined by Jennifer Connor, social media program officer at the Institute for International Education (IIE), who co-led a presentation with Lisa Chieffo, UD’s Fulbright Program adviser, for students interested in applying for a Fulbright award.
Since 1950, over 170 UD faculty, students, staff and alumni have received Fulbright awards. In 2016, five members of the UD community received Fulbright awards and two other members were chosen as alternates.
“Our goal is to weave global into the very fabric of our community,” said Amy Greenwald Foley, IGS associate director for global outreach, “and to support the University’s mission to produce graduates who are prepared to contribute to a global society that requires leaders with creativity, integrity and a dedication to service.”
UD faculty, students, and alumni interested in applying for a Fulbright award are encouraged to contact the Institute for Global Studies.
Article by Nikki Laws and Kayla Baptiste December 15, 2016