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Two Art History Graduate Students Receive Fulbright Awards

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Tess Kutasz and Cali Buckley

Cali Buckley and Tess Kutasz, Ph.D. candidates in the Department of Art History, have both been awarded 2015–16 Fulbright U.S. Student Awards. Buckley will spend next year in Germany, while Kutasz will be in Sweden. They will join over 100,000 Fulbright U.S. Student Program alumni who have received grants since the program began in 1948.

“This certainly is a testament to the significant international research our graduate students are undertaking,” said Craig Zabel, associate professor and head of the Department of Art History. “Having an entire academic year to focus solely upon one's research in another country is a tremendous opportunity that will create a lifelong research foundation for these two young scholars.”

Buckley’s dissertation, “Early Modern Anatomical Models and the Control of Women’s Medicine,” charts the changing mechanisms of control over women’s medicine in the early modern period through a variety of anatomical models of women. Having already compiled a catalogue of 139 manikins on research trips to London, Leiden (Netherlands), Dusseldorf (Germany), North Carolina, and California, Buckley plans to investigate accounts of their manufacture, which are still held in Germany.

“I picked a strange and rare set of objects to study – ivory anatomical manikins – and being able to write about them requires an enormous amount of archival research as well as the ability to study them in person,” Buckley noted. “They are also interactive, so I literally have to touch them to see how lecturers used them. It took me years to create a catalogue of them and to find their whereabouts. I still receive emails from people around the world who found ivory manikins in their parents' collections and would like to know more since there is so little information on them. Having a year to delve into the history of the workshops in which they were made, the collections that house them, and the records of lost objects will allow me to truly recreate their history.” 

Buckley plans to look at workshop archives and curatorial and provenance records, and consult with curators and scholars to rebuild a historical foundation for these objects. The Institute for the History of Medicine and Medical Ethics at the Friedrich-Alexander University in Erlangen-Nuremberg will sponsor Buckley, who also plans to spend time in Kassel and Schweinfurt during her Fulbright year – an opportunity for which she credits her advisor.

“There is no way I would even have considered applying for such an award if my advisor, Charlotte Houghton, had not put the idea in my head. It is the kind of award that you imagine other people getting – never yourself. Nevertheless, the department and my committee have been extremely supportive as well as critical enough to help me withstand the rigors of academic life.”

Kutasz will spend her time researching and writing her dissertation on “Queen Christina of Sweden and the Politics of Antiquities Collecting in Early Modern Rome.” While in Sweden, Kutasz will split her time between Stockholm and Lund, where she has been offered a Visiting International Researcher Residency in the Department of Archaeology and Ancient History, which will allow her to complete research already begun at the Swedish National Archives (Riksarkivet), Royal Library (Kungliga Biblioteket) and National Museum (Nationalmuseum). Kutasz was a 2014–15 recipient of the Creative Achievement Award from the Department of Art History.

“While in Sweden I'll be working primarily at the National Archives, where many of the surviving letters and documents from Queen Christina's time in Rome are held. My translations of visitors’ registers, palace inventories, letters to other European royalty, popes, cardinals, and academics will help me to provide a more complete picture of her as a queen and as a collector, expanding our current knowledge of the 17th-century antiquities market as well as the material culture of European court,” explained Kutasz.

“I have a huge amount of gratitude for the support that I've received from the Department of Art History and my advisor, Professor Brian Curran,” Kutasz added. “It is largely thanks to the generous contributions of funds and time from the Department of Art History and members of my doctoral committee that I have been able to conduct research abroad and take the time necessary to develop a project worthy of support from a program such as the Fulbright Program.”

The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program of the United States. Buckley and Kutasz will serve as cultural ambassadors while overseas, helping to enhance mutual understanding between Americans and the people in their visiting countries.