CONTACT: MARY GERAGHTY
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0011; fax (319) 384-0024
Release: May 24, 2000
Two UI graduate students win Fulbright Fellowships
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Two University of Iowa graduate students have won prestigious
Fulbright Fellowships to conduct research abroad. Ned Bertz, a doctoral student
in history, and Carrie Messenger, an M.F.A. student in creative writing, were
chosen from among more than 4,000 applicants for the approximately 960 grants
awarded to students.
Bertz plans to investigate the everyday interactions between Africans and
Indians in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. While modern historians have emphasized
the racial division, religious exclusion, and political and economic conflict
between the two groups, Bertz will concentrate on the daily, street-level
contacts between Africans and Indians. Using his command of both Swahili and
Hindi, Bertz plans to explore the racially and culturally mixed participation
of Tanzanians at the cinema, in the marketplace and at places of worship.
He expects to find that most of these contacts are harmonious and productive,
in sharp contrast to the politicized racial rhetoric between Africans and
Indians found in the conventional historical record.
Messenger plans to live in Romania for a year to conduct research for a
short story cycle she hopes to complete, "Why Don't You Come," that
uses the events of Romania in 1989 as a focal point. She says her stories
will cover the time period immediately before and after the overthrow of Ceacescu
from the perspectives of various young people in Romania and abroad. Messenger
also hopes to work with contemporary Romanian writers to translate their short
stories to English.
Her interest grew out of her experience as a Peace Corps volunteer in Moldova,
where she listened as people described how different their lives were compared
to their neighbors' in Romania under communism. "As I lived through two
bitter Moldovan winters, I tried to imagine what life was like in Romania
in the late '80s during strict rationing of heat, water and electricity,"
Messenger wrote in her Fulbright application. "The Romania of those times
sounded more like a science fiction distopia than a 20th century European
The Fulbright Program is designed to foster mutual understanding between
the people of the United States and the people of other countries. Annually,
approximately 4,500 new grants are awarded through national competitions of
students, teachers, scholars and professionals.
At the UI, student Fulbright awards are administered by the Office for Study
Abroad. For more information, contact Phil Carls at (319) 335-0353.