Three Professors Named American Council of Learned Societies Fellows

Portrait photos of three professors
English professor Hsuan Hsu (left) and historians Cecilia Tsu and Charles Walker are among 78 American Council of Learned Societies Fellows for 2018.

Three faculty in the UC Davis College of Letters and Science will receive support from the American Council of Learned Societies in 2018–19 to work on books on the art and politics of smells, Hmong refugee resettlement in the U.S., and Maoist guerrillas in Peru.

As 2018 ACLS fellows, English professor Hsuan Hsu and historians Cecilia Tsu and Charles Walker will receive awards ranging from $50,000 to $70,000 to support six to 12 months of full-time research and writing.

They are among 79 humanities scholars nationwide in this year’s class of ACLS fellows, selected by peer reviewers from a pool of nearly 1,150 applicants.

“Fellows were selected for their potential to make an original and significant contribution to knowledge, resulting from research on cultures, texts, and artifacts from antiquity to the present, in contexts around the world,” said Matthew Goldfeder, ACLS director of fellowship programs. 

The UC Davis fellows’ forthcoming books promise new insights into environmental justice, refugee resettlement and global terror:

  • Hsu’s The Smell of Risk: Atmospheric Stratification and the Olfactory Arts will examine through literature, art, memoir and law how smog, pesticides and bad odors have been eradicated in some places and redistributed to others and how this reflects environmental injustice. He recently received an award from Creative Capital and the Andy Warhol Foundation to support writing about olfactory art.
  • Tsu, an associate professor of history, will chronicle the evolution of Southeast Asian refugee resettlement policy in the United States from 1975 to 1992, in Starting Over: Refugee Resettlement in the Reagan Era, focusing on Hmong refugees from Laos.
  • Walker, a professor of history, will explore the rise and defeat of a Maoist guerrilla movement in Violence and Its Long Shadow: The Shining Path in Peru. This forthcoming book will also address reconciliation efforts of a conflict that left at least 70,000 people dead. The project contextualizes the Shining Path in the history of global violence and terror.

“ACLS fellowships provide rare opportunities for transformational research in the humanities and humanistic social sciences,” said Elizabeth Spiller, dean of the College of Letters and Science. “The fellowships are highly competitive — only the smallest handful of schools had three or more awards — and they are on the National Research Council’s ‘highly prestigious’ award list. I am very pleased to be able to congratulate Hsuan, Cecilia and Chuck on this achievement.”

About the fellowship program

The ACLS Fellowship program is funded by the society’s endowment. Institutions and individuals contribute to this program, including The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, Arcadia Charitable Trust, the Council’s Research University Consortium and college and university associates, past fellows, and individual friends of ACLS. 

— Kathleen Holder, content strategist in the UC Davis College of Letters and Science