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July 9: Carnegie Mellon Humanities and Social Sciences Professors Win 2009 Guggenheim Fellowships


Shilo Raube

Carnegie Mellon Humanities and Social Sciences Professors
Win 2009 Guggenheim Fellowships

PITTSBURGH—Carnegie Mellon University's Mariana Achugar and Terrance Hayes have been confirmed as 2009 Guggenheim Fellows. The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation awards the fellowships and research grants annually to honor "stellar achievement and exceptional promise for continued accomplishment" for those who "add to the educational, literary, artistic and scientific power of this country, and also to provide for the cause of better international understanding."
"Professors Achugar and Hayes join a prestigious group of Guggenheim Fellows, and to have their accomplishments and ideas acknowledged this way is a significant honor," said John Lehoczky, dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences (H&SS). "It's unprecedented for two H&SS faculty members to win a Guggenheim Fellowship in the same year, but not surprising. The fellowships are designed to support outstandingly talented individuals performing groundbreaking research. Professors Achugar and Hayes exemplify this ideal."
achugarAchugar, an associate professor of Spanish and second language acquisition skills in the Modern Languages Department, was one of 33 recipients of the 2009 Latin American and Caribbean Guggenheim Fellowship. A native of Uruguay, Achugar investigates language, identity and ideology from a critical discourse perspective. During her yearlong fellowship, she will explore what Uruguayan teenagers know about the military dictatorship and how they learn about it by following nine high school students from different political, social and educational backgrounds.
"My research will connect two strands — what history is and how it is taught in terms of language throughout intergenerational periods," said Achugar. "It's my dream project to further examine the roles language, memory and pop culture play in constructing Uruguay's recent history."
hayesCreative Writing Professor Terrance Hayes is among the 180 artists, scientists and scholars awarded a 2009 Guggenheim Fellowship in the United States and Canada competition, chosen from more than 3,000 candidates. One of only nine poets selected, Hayes plans to use his fellowship to complete a new collection of poetry that he is developing based on the Japanese presentation format Pecha Kucha. In a Pecha Kucha presentation, each speaker has six minutes and 40 seconds to narrate 20 images for 20 seconds each.
"Last year, I was invited to speak at the Carnegie Mellon School of Architecture's graduation, which was done in Pecha Kucha. They asked people from different backgrounds to talk about a common topic - open systems," said Hayes. "It was exhilarating to witness different approaches to language, fed with design elements, become one whole unified voice that described open systems."
For the graduation ceremony, Hayes took verses from famous poems and used them to create a single collage. "I loved the result of putting together intense and powerful pieces of separate poems and creating a new and unique poem," he said. "Shortly after, I began doing it with my own work."
Hayes also will use his Guggenheim Fellowship to travel to Japan to study the use of other Pecha Kucha presentations.
Since its inception in 1925, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation has granted nearly $275 million in fellowships. For a complete list of the 2009 Guggenheim Fellowship winners, visit