Two faculty members of Emory College have earned Guggenheim Fellowships
for 2002. The six-to-12-month fellowships are awarded by the John
Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation to scholars, artists and scientists
for their distinguished achievement and the promise of future accomplishment.
Larry Barsalou, professor of psychology, and Kristen Mann, associate
professor of history, are the two Guggenheim recipients. Each plans
to use the funding from the fellowships to write a book and will
be on sabbatical next year to put in the necessary labor.
Fellowships like the Guggenheim are vitally important to
the research mission of the University, said Mann, a specialist
in colonial African history. Although I really enjoy it, when
youre teaching a full classload it can be tough to put two
thoughts together. Having blocks of time where you can concentrate
on research is crucial.
Mann already has written much of a book that will be called The
Birth of an African City: Trade, State and Emancipation in 19th
Century Lagos. She said she will spend the next year revising
the manuscript and readying it for submission to her publisher.
Through the book, Mann said she intends to probe the relationship
between the long-term changes in the economy and culture of the
Atlantic world and the origins of Lagos, now the capital of Nigeria
and one of the largest cities in the world.
An adjunct faculty member in anthropology and the Institute of
African Studies, Mann also has done research on marriage and the
family, gender, and slavery and emancipation.
The title of Barsalous proposed book is The Human Conceptual
System. A cognitive psychologist, Barsalou said he wants to
re-examine theories about the way the human mind represents concepts.
For thousands of years, Barsalou said, philosophers agreed that
sensory-motor representations played a major role in the minds
conceptual system; we experience something, store the experience,
then partially reactivate the experience when thinking about the
Over the last 100 years or so, the dominant theories have stated
instead that the conceptual process is more symbolic and amodal.
The growth of computer science has played a role in this shift.
Now, Barsalou said, the pendulum is swinging back toward a more
sensory-motor way of thinking, reinventing older views in the modern
contexts of cognitive psychology and neuroscience.
Its the most basic conceptual system, Barsalou
said of his image-based theory. You can imagine a simple organism
having it, and seeing it evolve continuously into the human conceptual
With his new book, Barsalou said he will sketch out an alternative
to the current, more amodal ways of thinking about concepts. Its
the culmination of work he has been doing over the past 10 years.
Fellowships are based on recommendations from hundreds of experts
and approved by the Guggenheim Found-ations board of trustees.
For the 2002 fellowships, 184 scholars, artists and scientists were
selected from more than 2,800 applicants around the country, with
awards totaling $6.75 million. Since its creation in 1925 the foundation
has granted more than $200 million in fellowships to more than 15,000