The Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad program has been awarded to 12 UCLA graduate students, the most chosen from any university nationwide for the third year.

Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education, the Fulbright-Hays program allows awardees to study aspects of a society or societies, including their culture, economy, history and international relations. The fellowship is designed to contribute to developing and improving the study of modern foreign languages and area studies in the U.S.

The 2023 UCLA Fulbright-Hays fellows come from diverse disciplines. They will conduct their research in Brazil, Chile, England, Japan, Mexico, Nigeria, South Korea, Sweden, Taiwan, Trinidad and Tobago, and Tunisia.

The Division of Graduate Education administers the Fulbright-Hays research abroad program at UCLA. More information is available at the UCLA Fulbright Fellowships website.

The 2023 awardees are:

Thomas Bassett, urban planning, will study in Brazil. Using archival materials, Bassett's research explores the influence of private organizations in forming public planning and policy. His case is private auto clubs in early 20th century Brazil, a country that turned to road building instead of mass transit options for transportation. The results should shed light on why and how roads — and the car — became such a planning imperative for Brazil in terms of national integration and interior settlement.

Jeanette Charles, history, will conduct fieldwork in Trinidad and Tobago and Nigeria to understand contemporary Afro-Venezuelan religiosity and Black consciousness. Charles explores histories of spiritual citizenship, religious kinship and Afro-Venezuelan grassroots organizing from 1958–2018. Her research helps us understand how spirituality and politics have worked together in the history of rebellions, resistance and revolutions in Africa and the African diaspora.

Victoria Davis, Asian languages and cultures, will study in Japan. Davis’ research examines michiyuki travel passages in early modern and Meiji era (1603–1912) theater and literature. Davis is interested in how geography imagined on the stage engaged with maps, travel guides, poetic topoi, and other ways of knowing space and place, particularly in relation to the city of Osaka.

Samuel Feldblum, geography, will study in Chile. Feldblum’s project investigates water governance in central Chile and how Chile’s water system is being reshaped amid longstanding drought conditions. Through interviews and archival work, this research will analyze the social dynamics of water privatization, social movements focused on water access, and the connections between Chile’s water management and broader political economy — with an eye toward possible futures.

Lily Hindy, history, will study in England and Sweden. Hindy’s research examines how the Kurdish nationalist movement in Iraq and the diaspora harnessed the bureaucracy of human rights to gain international attention for their plight and support for autonomy between 1975 and 2003. England and Sweden are home to relatively large and politically active Kurdish communities from Iraq; Hindy will engage in oral history interviews and archival research during the grant period.

Matthew Hing, anthropology, will study in Mexico. Hing’s research explores the experiences of community health workers in Chiapas, analyzing the personal, social and economic impacts of their participation in CHW programs and the changing dynamics of their work. The study also investigates how CHWs shape their own visions for their work and communities.

T. Yejoo Kim, anthropology, will study in South Korea. Kim’s work aims to understand the contemporary social reality of the Korean division. Kim follows the security and neoliberal “peace” projects in Seoul and the South Korean border region surrounding the Demilitarized Zone, ethnographically tracing how peace liberates yet also disables bodies, mobilities, histories and futures.

Thomas Newhall, Asian languages and cultures, will study in Taiwan and Japan. Newhall will focus on cataloging and studying the contents of a recently discovered temple archive related to monastic rules in Japan, and similar materials found in libraries and temples in Taiwan.

Lavanya Nott, geography, will travel to India. Employing participant observation and archival research, Nott’s project explores past and current projects for food sovereignty in postcolonial India and their entanglements with anti-imperialist internationalist currents across developing nations. She is particularly interested in how struggles around food sovereignty have transformed in response to neoliberalism and how they relate to broader political and economic sovereignty questions for the postcolonial world.  

Edward Painter, geography, will study in Taiwan. Painter’s research project is situated within migrant soccer leagues and attends to the barriers impeding play and the strategies used to overcome them. Focusing on the lives that migrants make outside of the workplace, the project emphasizes the socio-spatial aspects of guest-worker programs.

Deborah Price (not pictured), Asian languages and cultures, will study in Japan.

Ava Katarina Tabatabai Hess, art history, will study in Tunisia. Hess’ project focuses on vernacular art from Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco during the 19th and 20th centuries. It examines figurative Islamic images that proliferated within printmaking and under-glass painting traditions and their relationship to the region's shifting social and political landscape from precolonial, colonial and post-independence periods.