Nine UCLA graduate students have been awarded Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad fellowships, which provide opportunities for doctoral candidates to comprehensively study the geography, history, culture, economy, politics, international relations and languages of a society or societies.

An additional UCLA student was named as an alternate for the program. This is the largest number of UCLA students selected for the fellowships since 2010. 

Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education, the program is designed to contribute to the development and improvement of the study of modern foreign languages and area studies in the United States. The average award per student this year is $45,372. 

These Fulbright-Hays fellowships enable graduate students to conduct doctoral dissertation research in modern foreign languages and different areas of study during a six- to 12-month period in one or more countries. The 2019 awardees, representing a wide range of disciplines, will conduct their research in Brazil, Mexico, Peru, Columbia, Israel, Egypt, Japan, Korea, Ethiopia, Armenian, Hong Kong and China.

The Fulbright-Hays DDRA Fellowship Program at UCLA is administered by the graduate division. 

The 2019 UCLA Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad awardees: 

​Jessica Bremner, urban planning, will study in Brazil. Bremner’s fieldwork in Sao Paulo, Brazil, will address the paradox of why housing policy in Brazil, which has implemented some of the most progressive social housing policies in the world, is making little headway on servicing the population’s housing needs. Bremner is interested in examining this housing paradox through the practices of urban housing movements because of the important role they play in shaping contemporary Brazil’s political and programmatic landscape. 

Andrea Gordillo, education and information sciences, will study in Colombia, Mexico and Peru. The arts serve social justice agendas in a variety of functions ranging from organizing to building capital to healing to protesting. In an effort to understand how the public pedagogy produced by the critical, marginal, and public arts contributes to social transformation and social justice, Gordillo will conduct a study with three arts collectives in Mexico, Peru and Colombia. 

Georgi Kyorlenski, archaeology, will study in Peru. Building construction was a major expectation for an Inca ruler and a measure by which their political success was evaluated. Kyorlenski’s research explores the role of monumental construction projects in solidifying political legitimacy during times of conflict — through the lens of the Inca civil war in Peru. 

Evan Metzger, Near Eastern languages and cultures/Islamic studies, will study in Israel and Egypt. By drawing on a range of sources in Arabic and Persian including legal treatises, court documents, historical chronicles, and poetry, Metzger’s research shows how legal concepts developed in formal texts of law were reworked by practicing jurists, judges and sultans to create an innovative legal institution based on text-based norms, local customs, precedent, moral aspirations and political compromise. 

Maarika Rickansrud, Asian languages and cultures, will study in Japan and Korea. Rickansrud’s research focuses on transnational literary networks between Korea and Japan from the late 1940s to 1980s and argues that the literary discourse of this time was an integral part of reshaping historical narratives and political imaginaries, and thus can contribute to our understanding of contemporaneous studies on these historical and political trends. 

Miranda Saylor, art history, will study in Mexico. Saylor’s research examines how artists in colonial Mexico uniquely embraced the controversial treatise Mystical City of God, published in 1670. These artists transformed the image of the Virgin Mary in sacred art by elevating her stature and altering narratives about Mary’s childhood, the Annunciation, and her ascent to Heaven. By embracing a bold and revised conception of the Virgin Mary as co-redeemer, sacred art in Mexico invented new ways of representing scripture, putting it at the forefront of developments in both painting and theology.

David Spielman, history, will study in Ethiopia. Spielman’s research examines 16th and 17th century development of Christian legal culture in Ethiopia, particularly the emergence of the church as a central player in the production and transmission of legal knowledge, and the dispensing of justice using the Law of Kings. Spielman hopes to contribute to the scholarship on law and justice in Africa outside the colonial experience. 

Anatolii Tokmantcev, Near Eastern languages and cultures, will study in Armenia. Tokmantcev seeks to account for the remarkable growth of the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ community in Armenia in the post-Soviet period, despite the high animosity on behalf of the state and the general population. Drawing on ethnographic, textual and historic data, he seeks to find out how and why individuals decide to become Jehovah’s Witnesses in Armenia, as well as what accounts for the hostile attitude toward them.

Wan Yeung, ethnomusicology, will study in Hong Kong and China. Since the 1920s, two urban centers have vied for preeminence in the premier theatrical art of Cantonese opera: Hong Kong, a British colony until 1997, and Guangzhou, the provincial capital of Guangdong province, under the administration of the Communist party since 1949. Barely 75 miles apart, the two cities developed under regimes with strikingly different political atmospheres, each formulating its own set of economic and aesthetic features. Yeung’s research seeks to understand the social, cultural, economic and political processes of each center.

Joel Herrera, sociology, was selected as an alternate.