The Zora Neale Hurston Writing Fellowship at Bard College Welcomes Five Writers for Its 2023 Summer Residency ProgramANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.—Now in its second year, the Zora Neale Hurston Writing Fellowship at Bard College welcomes its cohort of five writers, Alcira Forero-Peña, Yu-Yun Hsieh, Juliana Nalerio, Amira Pierce, and Natallia Stelmak Schabner, this summer. The Hurston Fellows are in residence for three weeks from June 8 through June 28. During their residency, fellows are residing on Bard College at Simon’s Rock campus with housing and meals provided. Founded and directed by Visiting Associate Professor of Literature and American Studies Donna Ford Grover, the Hurston Fellowship enables writers from all disciplines who have not had the opportunity to develop their scholarship, and supports writers who are currently employed as adjuncts or visiting professors with terminal degrees and who have not yet published a book-length work.
The Hurston Fellowship recognizes the particular challenges that BIPOC women encounter in the academy. Few BIPOC women are tenured or tenure track and most occupy precarious positions at their academic institutions. It is not the aim of the fellowship to increase the number of BIPOC women to the pool of tenure and tenure-track applicants. The program exists to assist these underrepresented voices into the publication of their works. During their residency, each Hurston Fellow spends their time working, writing, and researching independently on dedicated projects.
“My work is about the people from a small place in the Caribbean that has changed a lot from the 1970s, and yet in April 2023 its population of Afro-Colombians do not have running water while wealthy new ‘neighbors’ do not seem to have that problem,” says Alcira Forero-Peña about her Hurston Fellowship project. “The town of Barú in the ‘island’ of Barú is being sold as ‘paradisiac’ and ‘pristine’ for and by ‘blancos’ or ‘white’ Colombians and foreigners, who little by little bought land on the island, by diverse means, and today’s native ‘baruleros’ have been left without land that used to be a source of their livelihood. The sea, a vital source of food and some income, increasingly is corralled by the hotels and villas whose owners do not want their guests to be ‘bothered’ with boats passing through so fishing is dwindling. What else has changed? The world has changed in and around Baruleros and this is the focus of my work.”
While in residence as a Hurston Fellow, Yu-Yun Hsieh is working on a novel about a foreigner’s adventures in New York City.
As a Hurston Fellow, Juliana Nalerio is working on a literary and historiographic project to read in and instigate a wild alternative to Humanism’s universal man: The Modern Brown Girl. She is interested in anthropological and historiographic approaches to literature and literary theory, as well as sexuality, visual cultural studies, and critical race and ethnic studies.
During her residency, Amira Pierce is working on Genealogy of Hope, a research/memoir project that focuses on her relationship with two ancestors: Wesley Shropshire, a great-great-great grandfather on her father’s side who lived in Rome, Georgia during the US Civil War and was a slave-owner who took a principled and alienating stance supporting the Union, as well as the story of Sheikh Ahmed Aref El-Zein, a great grandfather on her mother’s side who brought the first printing press to Southern Lebanon and published the journal Al-Irfan, which shared a relatively progressive version of Islam with the world.
In her dissertation “For Narrativity: How Creating Narratives Structures Experience and Self,” Natallia Stelmak Schabner argued that Narrativity—an open-ended, dynamic mental process of form finding and coherence seeking over time—is essential for experience of one’s Self. She illustrated this process at work in the interpretation and imaginative experience of literary works, and in subsequent publications extended these ideas, developing connections to theories of emotion, literary appreciation, action, and contemporary digital technology. “In my project, I plan to integrate the argument in my dissertation with this broader body of work, toward the aim of drafting a book manuscript on Narrativity as a core psychological capacity,” she says of her work as a Hurston Fellow.
“For many adjuncts the path to writing and research is closed. The institutions where they labor do not offer funds or sabbaticals for such work. The Hurston Fellowship is one way to help these women find time for their own work. Zora Neale Hurston was one of the first independent scholars—writing on an array of subjects from anthropology to fiction. Like Hurston, our fellows, without institutional support, must make their own way through the world of publication and research,” says Grover.
About the Fellows
Alcira Forero-Peña received her PhD in anthropology, with a dissertation “To Stand on Their Own. Women’s Higher Education in Contemporary Kerala, India,” from The City University of New York (CUNY) Graduate School in 2004 and an MA in cultural anthropology from Hunter College, CUNY in 1994. She has been an adjunct associate professor in the Department of Social Science at LaGuardia Community College, CUNY since 2010, where she has taught Cultural Anthropology, Peoples and Cultures of the Caribbean, and Urban Anthropology. She has also taught at Lehman College, CUNY; University of Colorado at Denver; and Universidad del Valle de Guatemala, where she was a Fulbright Scholar and visiting professor. She has been the recipient of a Carnegie Grant, Mellon Foundation Fellowship, Professional Staff Congress-CUNY Research Award to conduct ethnographic research conducted in Cartagena (Barú Island), Colombia; among others. Her publications include “Of Beauty and ‘Beauties’: Female Identities and Body Image in Colombia,” in Body Image and Identity in Contemporary Societies: Psychoanalytic, Social, Cultural and Aesthetic Perspectives (Routledge, 2015), and “Kerala (India) Notes for a Future Comparative Study between Their Societies” in Colombia e India en Perspectiva (2009). She has presented and given lectures in India, Canada, Argentina, and throughout the US.
Yu-Yun Hsieh received her MPhil and PhD in Comparative Literature, with a Film Studies Certificate and dissertation on “Ang Lee’s America: A Study of Adaptation and Transculturation,” from The City University of New York (CUNY) Graduate School in 2019; her MA in English from National Taiwan Normal University in 2007; and her BA in English from National Chung Hsing University, Taichung, Taiwan, in 2004. She has been an adjunct assistant professor of English at Baruch College since 2019 and an adjunct assistant professor of Liberal Studies at New York University since 2022. She has received a Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation Fellowship, CUNY Writing Across Curriculum Fellowship, and a Study Abroad Scholarship from the Ministry of Education Taiwan, and the 2008 Taipei Literature Award, among many other honors. She has presented research in Taiwan, UK, Germany, and throughout the US. Her publications include Chinese translations of The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon (2014) and The Unwinding by George Packer (2022); “Memory à la Americana: From Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind to Be Kind Rewind” in Refocus: The Films of Michel Gondry (Edinburgh University Press, 2020); and a New York Times Book Review of Robert Coover’s Going for a Beer: “Cervantes and Snow White Walk into a Bar” (2018), among others. She also performs in music and acting roles.
Juliana Nalerio received her PhD and MA cum laude in Advanced English Studies: Languages & Cultures in Contact from the University of Valladolid/Salamanca in 2015; her B.A. in humanities from the New College of Florida, The Honors College in 2011; and is currently a PhD candidate and Research Fellow in Modern Thought and Literature at Stanford University. She has taught as an adjunct in the History Department of the City College of New York, and a teaching assistant at Stanford University, University of Valladolid (Spain), and the University of Salamanca (Spain). She was a Scholar-in-Residence at the Carter/Johnson Library and Collection, an EDGE Doctoral Fellow at Stanford University, the recipient of a research grant awarded by Spanish Government (MINECO) Research and a New York City Teaching Fellowship awarded by the City of New York, among other honors. She has given lectures and presentations in Spain, Romania, Turkey, Portugal, the Netherlands, UK, and US. Her publications include “Anti-Black Racism, From Cuba to Catalunya” coauthored with Martin Rodrigo y Alharilla in Cultural Legacies of Slavery in Modern Spain (SUNY Press, forthcoming) and a book project tentatively titled Violence and Representation in “The Americas” Literary Response to Globalization (Rodopi-BRILL, forthcoming). She is also currently a docent at Stanford University’s Cantor Arts Center and Anderson Collection, editor at The Journal of Transnational American Studies, and editor at The Creative Process.
Amira Pierce received her MFA in fiction from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2011, MA in English Literature with a concentration in Creative Writing–Fiction from San Francisco State University in 2008, and BA in English and American Literature with a concentration in Creative Writing from New York University (NYU) in 2002. She has been Assistant Director of International Courses and Senior Language Lecturer in the Expository Writing Program at NYU since 2018. She has been the recipient of an NYU Global Research Initiative research grant, The Nelligan Prize for Short Fiction in Colorado Review, and the College of Humanities and Sciences Phi Kappa Phi Scholarship from Virginia Commonwealth University. She received three honorable mentions for Glimmer Train Very Short Fiction Contest, Short Story Award for New Writers, and Fiction Open, among other honors. She has presented or been invited as a guest writer/lecturer to conferences and institutions throughout the US, as well as in the United Arab Emirates as part of the NYUAD Writing Studies Working Group. Her publications include “The Monster Swallows Itself” in forthcoming Makeout Creek, “Before the Bombs” in The Ordinary Chaos of Being Human: Tales from Many Muslim Lands (Penguin Southeast Asia, 2020), and “Bus Stop” in The Evil One (Makeout Creek Books, 2016), among many other print and online publications. Her short film “Art over Zoom,” cowritten and coproduced with Lee Cohen was elected for Big Apple Film Festival, New York, New York, in 2020.
Natallia Stelmak Schabner received her PhD, with a dissertation “For Narrativity: How Creating Narratives Structures Experience and Self,” from The City University of New York (CUNY) Graduate School in 2017, MA with honors in International Relations from CUNY in 2004, and BS in International Relations from Belorussian Trade and Economics University in 1999. She has been an adjunct assistant professor at CUNY teaching philosophy courses since 2006 and served on the Editorial Board of Aesthetica Universalis, Moscow State University since 2021. She has also taught at Hunter College and was an Assistant Professor of Political Science at the State International Institute of Labor and Social Relations, Belarus. She has received a PSC CUNY Adjunct-CET Professional Development Fund Grant, NEH CARES Grant, and CUNY Graduate Teaching Fellowship. She has presented her research in Russia, the Netherlands, and US. Her publications include “The Virtuality of Experience and Active Reconstruction” (2021), “Narrativity in Thought and Action” (2020) and “Resolving the Paradox of Fiction: Active Reconstruction and Emotional Dissonance” (2019 in Aesthetica Universalis, among other publications.
About the Zora Neale Hurston Writing Fellowship at Bard College
The Zora Neale Hurston Writing Fellowship at Bard College is a 3-week residential program designed to enable writers from all disciplines who have not had the opportunity to develop their scholarship, specifically, those who are without access to sabbaticals or their institution’s research funding. We seek fellows who are currently employed as adjuncts or visiting professors with terminal degrees and who have not yet published a book length work. Prospective Fellows should submit a vita, a letter of recommendation by someone familiar with their work, and an abstract of the project they wish to work on during the three-week residency. The abstract should not exceed 2000 words. Applicants need a college or university affiliation and should have a minimum of five years of teaching as an adjunct, lecturer or visiting professor. The application deadline is April 15, 2024. All applicants will be notified of the admission Committee’s decision by May 15, 2024. To submit materials or for questions please email [email protected].
About Bard College
Founded in 1860, Bard College is a four-year, residential college of the liberal arts and sciences located 90 miles north of New York City. With the addition of the Montgomery Place estate, Bard’s campus consists of nearly 1,000 parklike acres in the Hudson River Valley. It offers bachelor of arts, bachelor of science, and bachelor of music degrees, with majors in more than 40 academic programs; graduate degrees in 13 programs; eight early colleges; and numerous dual-degree programs nationally and internationally. Building on its 163-year history as a competitive and innovative undergraduate institution, Bard College has expanded its mission as a private institution acting in the public interest across the country and around the world to meet broader student needs and increase access to liberal arts education. The undergraduate program at our main campus in upstate New York has a reputation for scholarly excellence, a focus on the arts, and civic engagement. Bard is committed to enriching culture, public life, and democratic discourse by training tomorrow’s thought leaders. For more information about Bard College, visit bard.edu.
Bard Press Contact:Jennifer Wai-Lan Strodl
Recent Press Releases:
- Bard College Receives $50,000 Grant from Teagle Foundation to Revise First-Year Seminar Curriculum around Civic Education
- Bard College Institute for Writing and Thinking Hosts Conference on “Climate Change in the Classroom: Embracing New Paradigms” on April 26
- College Leaders Urged to Act on Campus Voting Sites
- Bard College Named a Top Producer of Fulbright Students for 2023–24