Gift from Arcadia will advance early global studies at UCLA through postdoctoral fellowships

Royce Hall fresco

The ideal fellowship candidates will be recent doctoral graduates in European medieval studies whose work takes an inclusive approach and who are conversant across academic disciplines.

Lucy Berbeo | June 14, 2023

UCLA received a gift of $552,693 from Arcadia, a charitable fund that works to protect nature, preserve cultural heritage and promote open access to knowledge, to establish the John W. Baldwin Postdoctoral Fellowship in the UCLA CMRS Center for Early Global Studies, one of the oldest and most prestigious research centers of its kind in North America.

Over a period of five years, the funding will allow the center to welcome three new scholars completing fellowships in European and global comparative medieval studies. The ideal candidates will be recent doctoral graduates in European medieval studies whose work takes an inclusive approach and who are conversant across academic disciplines.

“This forward-thinking gift represents a significant investment in the future of cross-cultural, interdisciplinary scholarship at UCLA,” said Alexandra Minna Stern, dean of humanities. “We deeply appreciate Arcadia’s generous support, which will allow us to bring vital new ideas and collaborations to our campus and ensure the university remains a magnet for early career scholars in these areas of study.”

The fellowships will mark a critical step forward in the center’s ongoing transformation led by director Zrinka Stahuljak, professor of comparative literature and of European languages and transcultural studies. In 2021, Stahuljak announced the center’s relaunch with a new name and expanded focus, taking a global perspective reaching far beyond the Eurocentric view that traditionally defined the field.

Once at UCLA, each postdoctoral fellow will have a formal affiliation with the center, which is housed in the UCLA Division of Humanities, as well as with their home department. In addition to research activities, they will teach one quarter out of each academic year and organize a scholarly event, such as a workshop or small conference, to be hosted by the center. The inclusion of teaching in the fellowships, says Stahuljak, will ensure each scholar thrives and contributes to building a holistic research and teaching profile for lasting impact, while taking advantage of exceptional faculty and institutional resources at UCLA.

The named fellowship honors the legacy of John W. Baldwin (1929 – 2015), an influential scholar of medieval France, professor of history at Johns Hopkins University and fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. The center this year hosted “The Future of Medieval France,” an international conference on the past, present and future of European medieval studies that paid tribute to Baldwin’s interdisciplinary work, said Stahuljak, by engaging Europe in the world at micro and macro levels.

“It is an exciting moment for this kind of comparative work, and we are grateful to Arcadia for recognizing it with this generous gift,” said Stahuljak. “We are honored to carry on the scholarly legacy of John Baldwin through this fellowship, which will continue to transform and advance the mission of the UCLA CMRS Center for Early Global Studies and significantly strengthen our vibrant academic community.”

Arcadia is a longtime supporter of the UCLA College and UCLA more broadly. Among its many far-reaching gifts, the charitable fund in 2022 supported the UCLA Library Modern Endangered Archives Program, and in 2019 and 2012 contributed to the UCLA Department of History to support graduate students, faculty and departmental improvements.

“We are pleased to support the UCLA CMRS Center for Early Global Studies,” said Simon Chaplin, chief executive officer of Arcadia. “Its inclusive approach creates exciting opportunities for preserving and sharing knowledge of global history and cultural diversity, and we are excited to partner with UCLA to provide opportunities for early career scholars in this field.”

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