Two Penn Professors Win 2008 Guggenheim Fellowships

PHILADELPHIA – Michael Leja, professor of art history in the University of Pennsylvania School of Arts and Sciences and Don Mitchell, a visiting scholar in residence in Penn’s Annenberg School for Communication have been awarded fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.

Leja studies the visual arts in various media; painting, sculpture, film, photography, prints and illustrations in the 19th and 20th centuries, primarily in the United States. As a Guggenheim Fellow, he will work on a research project on the flood of pictures in the mid nineteenth century.

"We are delighted that the Guggenheim Foundation has recognized Michael Leja's extraordinary scholarship, and we look forward to seeing the great work that the fellowship will support,” said School of Arts and Sciences Dean Rebecca Bushnell.

Mitchell, who studies laborers and the working classes, marginalized people and theories of culture in Marxism and geography, will use the fellowship to continue his research project called Bracero: Remaking the California Landscape, 1942-1964.

“We’re very proud of Don Mitchell for this achievement, and are especially happy it occurred during his tenure with Annenberg,” said Annenberg Dean Michael Delli Carpini. “The Scholars Program in Culture and Communication, where Professor Mitchell teaches, was created to bring world-class academics like Don Mitchell to Annenberg so that their expertise and knowledge could be shared with all students.”

Each year the Guggenheim Foundation recognizes distinguished scholarly achievement and exceptional promise for future accomplishment by granting aid to scholars, artists and writers pursuing research in one of 75 fields, from the natural sciences to the creative arts.

More than 2,600 applicants competed for fellowships totaling $8.2 million. Awards are based on recommendations from hundreds of expert advisors and are approved by the Foundation's Board of Trustees.