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Northwestern Professor Receives Mellon Fellowship

Brian Edwards is one of 12 scholars to receive a 2008 New Directions Fellowship from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

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June 11, 2008 | by Wendy Leopold
EVANSTON, Ill.—Brian T. Edwards, associate professor of English and comparative literary studies at Northwestern University, is one of 12 scholars nationwide to receive a 2008 New Directions Fellowship from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

The fellowship, one of the most generous in the humanities, assists university faculty in the humanities and humanistic social sciences who received doctorates between five and 15 years ago and whose long-term research interests call for formal training in another discipline. Edwards, whose work crosses between comparative literature, American studies and Middle East studies, will use the award to study sociocultural anthropology, Middle East studies, advanced Arabic and Persian (Farsi). He will also conduct fieldwork in Morocco, Egypt and Iran.

Edwards, who received his PhD in American studies from Yale University in 1998, has been on the Northwestern faculty since 2000. He teaches American literature and culture in an international context, globalization and culture, postcolonial and diaspora studies, and literature and cultural production of contemporary North Africa and the Middle East. A former Fulbright Fellow to Morocco, he is helping to develop the American studies program at Cairo University, Giza, as a Fulbright Senior Specialist.

His new book project, "After the American Century," examines the circulation of American culture and its forms in North Africa and the Middle East since 9/11. His first book, "Morocco Bound: Disorienting America's Maghreb, from Casablanca to the Marrakech Express" (2005), explored how America's fascination with North Africa related to the rise of the U.S. as a global power, as well as how Moroccan artists and intellectuals responded to American representations of the region.

At Northwestern, Edwards directs the Globalizing American Studies Project, a multi-year initiative with the Center for Global Culture and Communication and the Buffett Center for International and Comparative Studies.

In 2005 he was named a Carnegie Scholar as part of the Carnegie Corporation of New York's initiative to enrich the public dialogue on Islam. Edwards has lectured extensively in the United States and abroad and has been on the visiting faculty at University of Tehran's Institute for North American Studies and at the School for Advanced Studies in Social Sciences Etudes in Paris.