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June 16, 2009

Swann Foundation Announces Awards for 2009-2010

The Caroline and Erwin Swann Foundation for Caricature and Cartoon, administered by the Library of Congress, announces fellowship awards to three applicants for the academic year 2009-2010: Yasemin Gencer, Amanda Lahikainen and Jason E. Hill.

Because of an unusually large number of strong applications, the foundation’s advisory board did not award a single fellowship this year but instead decided to support three applicants’ projects with smaller awards.

Gencer, a doctoral candidate in the history of art at Indiana University, will receive a fellowship to support research for her dissertation titled "Pushing Out Islam: Cartoons of the Reform Period in Turkey (1918-1928)." She will contend that political cartoons produced during this decade--a decade that is critical to the history of modern Turkey--display and define a secular Turkish culture. This effect is achieved by contrasting symbols of Islam and Arabic culture with those of Turkish modernism. In many of these cartoons, Gencer says, textual and visual elements reinforce one another to advance a new Turkish Republic that is seeking to disengage itself from its Islamic past, stressing its secular and thus non-Islamic political and social structure, and thereby, aligning itself with modern Europe.

Lahikainen, a doctoral candidate in the history of art at Brown University, was awarded support for her investigation into ways in which British political satires used the French Revolution to represent and comment upon English domestic politics from 1789 to 1804 (from the fall of the Bastille to Napoleon’s coronation as Emperor.) In her dissertation titled "Anglicizing the French Revolution: The Politics of Humor in Late Eighteenth-Century English Political Graphic Satire," she will focus on a number of works by Isaac Cruikshank, James Gillray, Richard Newton, Thomas Rowlandson and James Sayers, analyzing how such graphic satirists capitalized on the fear of religious dissent, violence and radicalism at home, maintenance of political hegemony over Ireland, and continual threat of a French invasion. Central to her study of such imagery is the way in which humorous satires addressing serious events invited shifting responses of laughter, horror, and fear within a single frame.

Hill will receive an award to help complete his dissertation titled "The Artist as Reporter: Picturing the News at PM Daily, 1940-1948." A doctoral candidate in the history of art at the University of Southern California, Hill will examine the place of cartooning within the visual repertoire of PM Daily, a newspaper whose editorial independence and sophisticated visual program attracted the participation of many of the era’s most celebrated artists, including cartoonists Charles E. Martin, Ad Reinhardt, Arthur Szyk and Theodore Geisel (a.k.a. Dr. Seuss).

During the coming academic year, the three recipients of awards from the Swann Foundation for Caricature and Cartoon will conduct research in not only the Prints and Photographs Division's rich holdings of graphic art, but also use relevant periodical holdings in such other divisions as the African and Middle East Division and Serial and Government Publications Division.

New York advertising executive Erwin Swann (1906 1973) established the Swann Foundation for Caricature and Cartoon in 1967. An avid collector, Swann assembled a large group of original drawings by over 500 artists, spanning two centuries, which his estate bequeathed to the Library of Congress in the 1970s. Swann's original purpose was to build a collection of original drawings by significant creators of humorous and satiric art and to encourage the study of original cartoon and caricature drawings as works of art. The foundation's support of research and academic publication is carried out in part through a program of fellowships.

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PR 09-122
06/16/09
ISSN 0731-3527

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