Announcements, Awards, Fellowships

Assistant Professor Awarded Mellon Fellowship and Membership to Institute for Advanced Study

Congratulations to Dr. Nahir Otaño Gracia, Assistant Professor of Medieval Studies, who has been awarded membership to the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton University, where she will spend the academic year in residence. The Institute for Advanced Study is part of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Fellowship for Assistant Professors, and it is one of the world’s leading centers in promoting curiosity-driven pursuits of knowledge that cross disciplinary boundaries and advance the most innovative ideas in the sciences and humanities.

Dr. Otaño Gracia’s research focuses on the connections between the North Atlantic and the Iberian Peninsula, and it reconceptualizes the ways we understand North and South relations in the Middle Ages—an emerging topic in Medieval studies. She teaches both undergraduate and graduate courses on world literature, race, romance, and the Middle Ages. Most recently, Otaño Gracia collaborated with the Medieval Academy of America, the largest organization in the United States in the field of Medieval studies, to create the Belle Da Costa Greene Award, a grant to support the research of a Medievalist of color. Otaño Gracia’s most recent articles, “Towards a Decentered Global North Atlantic” and “Presenting Kin(g)ship in Medieval Irish Literature,” were published in Literature Compass and Enarratio, respectively. Moreover, her work on the state of the field and the public humanities has yielded two essays, “On Hidden Scars and the Passive Voice” and “Movements of Exclusion,” both published online. The former has also been published at Pree magazine, an online journal exclusively dedicated to Caribbean writing.

As evidence of Otaño Gracia’s superior academic excellence, she was also awarded a Mellon Fellowship in Medieval Studies at the University of Notre Dame’s Medieval Institute for AY 2020-2021. Between the two prestigious fellowships, Otaño Gracia has accepted membership at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, where she will finalize her book manuscript, The Other Faces of Arthur: Arthurian Texts from the Global North Atlantic, a study of Middle Welsh, Old Irish, Old-Norse Icelandic, Castilian, and Catalan texts (c. 1300-1600). The book highlights a pan-European circuit of Arthurian literature and demonstrates why we must include the North of Africa and Iberia in the study of the North Atlantic. Otaño Gracia will spend 2020-21 in-residence at the Institute as a Member and Visiting Scholar, where she will finish her first book project for publication.

The Institute for Advanced Study has fostered a tight-knit community of faculty and visiting scholars, including Albert Einstein, J. Robert Oppenheimer, and Hetty Goldman. With the support of the Institute, Otaño Gracia will finish her first book, but her membership also opens doors to other scholars of color and underrepresented areas of historical study. Please extend a hearty congratulations to Dr. Otaño Gracia!