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Ursinus Faculty Member Receives ACLS Fellowship

Teresa Ko, an associate professor of modern languages and the Latin American studies coordinator, has been named one of the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) 2020 fellows.

The goal of the ACLS fellowship is to support scholars in the humanities so that they can devote themselves full time to their research projects. Ko is among the 81 fellows, selected from a pool of nearly 1,200 applicants, to be recognized for her research goals.

According to the ACLS, each of the fellows have been awarded between $40,000 and $75,000 in order to support six to 12 months of full-time research and writing. More than $4.3 million has been awarded through the program this year.

“The ACLS fellowship is really competitive and prestigious, so I couldn’t be more excited, grateful and honored to be selected,” Ko said, adding, “I am also thankful to Ursinus College for supporting me for this fellowship.”

She will be using her year-long research leave to dedicate her time to a book project tiled Argentina: Race in a Raceless Nation.

“Argentina is an interesting case for the study of race because throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, it constructed itself as a homogeneously “white” nation. There was always this idea that Argentina was a racial exception in Latin America. In recent years, however, the myth of its supposed Europeanness began to be overturned,” she shared.

“My book asks two main questions. First, how did a nation formed by the interactions of diverse racial groups achieve a largely unquestioned white national identity? Second, why have Argentines recently embraced multiculturalism and to what extent does it rearticulate national belonging or achieve racial justice?”

Ko will use her time as a fellow to seek the answers to those questions through literature and other cultural manifestations throughout the year.

She will miss her students and colleagues during this time, but she is excited about having time to focus solely on reading and writing. “I am hopeful also that once this book is finished it will contribute to a deeper understanding of race in Argentina.”—By Mary Lobo ’15