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Associate Professor of Art History Wins Prestigious NEH Fellowship

December 19, 2016

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Associate Professor of Art History Dawn Odell has been awarded a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities for her work titled, “Chinese Art in Early Modern Europe and America.” The NEH program, which supports individuals pursuing advanced research that is of value to humanities scholars, general audiences, or both, is highly competitive. The funding rate for the last five annual competitions has averaged just seven percent, and Odell received the only fellowship in Oregon this year.

“I am thrilled about this award,” said Odell, who is currently completing her project. “It will enable me to pursue research in Amsterdam; Charleston, South Carolina; Guangzhou; and Philadelphia to learn more about the eighteenth-century merchant Andreas Everardus van Braam Houckgeest and his collection of Chinese art. I wouldn’t be able to do this work without the fellowship. It’s extremely important to me and I’m very grateful.”

Professor Odell’s book-length manuscript explores the personal history of van Braam (1739–1801), a Dutch East India Company employee and the first American to visit the Chinese court, through the lens of his acquisition and display of Chinese art. As Odell writes, “It explains how van Braam’s life, unusual and peripatetic as it was, stands as a model for European/American engagement with Chinese art in a period during which the newly formed United States was attempting to expand its political influence in Asia, a model that helps us to understand present day conversations about racialized identities, global art markets, trade imbalance, and diplomacy.”  

This is not Odell’s first honor: a Fulbright Scholar and a Fulbright Alumni Ambassador, Odell earned the Lewis & Clark Teacher of the Year award in 2011.

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Elise Wilde ’18 wrote this story. 

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