News Release: Arts and Humanities, People, Religion and Ethics

May 6,  2009

Professor Receives Governor's Award in the Humanities

News Article ImageMartine Watson Brownley

Emory University English professor Martine Watson Brownley has received the 2009 Governor's Award in the Humanities for her scholarship, outreach and advocacy of the liberal arts as the founding director of Emory's Bill and Carol Fox Center for Humanistic Inquiry (FCHI).

The Georgia Humanities Council honors "humanities heroes" of the state each year through presentation of the Governor's Awards to individuals and organizations who build community, character and citizenship in Georgia through public humanities education.

Recipients of the Governor's Awards in the Humanities are nominated by the public, reviewed by a committee of the Georgia Humanities Council Board, and selected ultimately by the current governor. Brownley joins nine other recipients at the 2009 Governor's Awards in the Humanities luncheon May 7.

 "Dr. Brownley has made an important contribution to Georgia through sharing the importance of our stories and traditions,” says Gov. Sonny Perdue.

"I am very honored to receive this award, but it’s important to emphasize that Emory’s Fox Center is the result of the work of many, many people across the university and beyond: staff members, faculty, administrators, students, alumni and all of those who believe in the power of the humanities to shape lives," says Brownley. "Today, when our society tends to focus on the new, the pragmatic, the technological and the marketable, upholding the value of learning for its own sake, as the humanities do, is crucial to preserve and reinterpret the best of the past to keep it available for the future to use.

Brownley has served as director of the FCHI since it opened in 2002 as a residential research center for humanities scholarship with a mandate to coordinate interdisciplinary programming. Fellows from within Emory and across the nation have come to the center to work on their research. The center has become a focal point for humanities scholarship and events at Emory, and has provided significant programming for the public as well.

“Martine Brownley has developed and sustained a bold vision to increase Emory’s scholarly production in the humanities, disseminate scholarship across the community, and also support artist installations, scholarly roundtables and the “Great Works” series, which invites community participants to contemplate the life of the mind," says Rosemary Magee, vice president and secretary of the university. "She has served as an active and ardent spokesperson for the humanities locally, regionally and nationally." 

A graduate of Agnes Scott College and Harvard University, Brownley is the Goodrich C. White Professor of English, and holds faculty affiliations with Emory's comparative literature program and the women’s studies department, where she previously served as director. A specialist in 18th-century English literature, Brownley's current research interests include early modern English historiography and contemporary women novelists.

"She has developed the Fox Center into a nationally recognized institution in addition to her work as an acclaimed scholar and teacher at Emory for many years," says Emory College of Arts and Sciences Dean Robert Paul.  "Thanks to her, the residency programs have been remarkably successful and resulted in a wide array of finished dissertations and published books by Emory scholars and scholars from around the country."

As of May 2008, at the end of six years of operation, faculty fellows who had been in residence at the Fox Center had produced 29 books, 121 articles or book chapters, 136 conference papers and 19 dissertations.


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