Humanities faculty win fellowships

Three members of Northeastern’s humanities faculty have been honored with prestigious fellowships from highly respected institutions across the country.

Matthew McDonald, an assistant professor of music, has received an American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship to complete his book, “Breaking Time’s Arrow: Temporality in the Music of Charles Ives.” McDonald, who directs the music theory program at Northeastern, was previously awarded a Provost Grant by Northeastern to study the modern American composer’s manuscripts at Yale University.

“I’m looking forward to immersing myself in the project,” McDonald said. “My goal for the book is to make sense of Ives’s music—particularly the novel ways it unfolds in time, is experienced in time, and represents the experience of time—in the larger context of modernism in the early 20th century.”

Elizabeth M. Dillon, an associate professor of English, has received a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities to research the dynamics of cultural reproduction and the definitions of race and gender that emerged in European colonies in the West Indies during the 18th century. Dillon is focusing on the effects from the rising use of slave labor on Caribbean sugar plantations during that time.

Dillon will complete her fellowship at the American Antiquarian Society in Worcester, Mass., where she will have access to a host of source materials such as diaries, plantation records, letters, poems and newspapers.

“Having this time is just feels like an extraordinary gift, and I’m tremendously excited,” Dillon said.

Erika Boeckeler, recently hired as an assistant professor of English for the upcoming academic year, has received a fellowship from the Huntington Library in California to complete her book, “Playful Letters: The Dramatization of the Alphabet in the Renaissance.”

The book will expound upon the alphabet’s impact on early modern intellectual history in the alphabetic experimentation in Europe following the invention of the printing press. The latter event caused artists to start rethinking and testing the boundaries of the meaning and the usage of letters, says Boeckeler. The Huntington Library will afford her extraordinary access to literature and visual arts resources in languages such as English, French, German and Italian.

“I think the project will make a significant contribution to Renaissance studies,” Boeckeler said.