The Reves Center for International Studies has awarded the 2023 Reves and Drapers’ Faculty Fellowships to five William & Mary professors.

Each year, a committee of faculty and Reves staff awards the fellowships to support faculty-student research and collaboration on internationally-focused, engaged scholarship.

The initiative is open to full-time William & Mary faculty in all academic units, but projects must include an international, global and/or transnational focus or context and involve W&M undergraduate or graduate students.

With rare exceptions, the project must also include an overseas research component. Preference for the Drapers’ Fellowship is given to early career scholars conducting archival research in proximity to London or at institutions with established links to the Drapers’ Company.

 The 2023 Reves and Drapers’ Faculty Fellows are:

Reves Center 2023 Faculty Fellows

Nicholas Balascio, Associate Professor, Geology 

Project: Evaluating the climate context for the prehistoric human colonization of Peary Land, northernmost Greenland

The first arrival of people into northern Greenland circa 4,500 years ago represents a remarkable period in the human history of the Arctic. These pioneering settlements, located in the Wandel Dal valley of Peary Land, mark an important step in the progression of human migration across the North American Arctic. Archaeological data show that human occupation of northern Greenland was not continuous and that there were three settlement phases, each separated by an abandonment period of at least 1,000 years. There is no universally accepted hypothesis that explains the timing of human arrival in Peary Land or these periods of abandonment. The goal of this project is to develop environmental reconstructions from lakes in Wandel Dal to investigate the climate context for the prehistoric human colonization of northern Greenland.

Carrie Dolan, Assistant Professor, Kinesiology & Health Sciences

Project: Implementing a rapid assessment tool to monitor and improve vaccination coverage within Narok County, Kenya

The World Health Organization estimates that an additional 1.5 million deaths could be prevented if the UNICEF goal of vaccinating every child was achieved. Therefore, Ignite and Community Health Partners propose implementing a rapid assessment tool to monitor and improve vaccination coverage within Narok County, Kenya. This research project proposes to answer the following question of importance: Which factors appear to drive immunizations at Community Health Partner clinics? This includes examining which children have defaulted, the characteristics of children and caregivers that complete required immunizations and clinic policies and procedures that relate to immunization rates.

Jeffrey Kaplow, Assistant Professor, Government

Project: The past and future of nuclear proliferation

Our understanding of what drives states to seek nuclear weapons has changed over time. The spread of both civilian and sensitive nuclear technology has made indigenous capabilities and technical resources appear less essential to a successful nuclear effort. At the same time, the global strategic environment has shifted since the beginning of the Cold War, with a corresponding change in the credibility of nuclear alliances and security commitments. A shift in how states actually go about developing nuclear technology may have even deeper implications for designing effective nonproliferation policy. The preferred pathway to proliferation — long thought to be a small, covert nuclear weapons program — may be changing, with the result that future proliferating states seem more likely to repurpose civilian nuclear facilities for weapons purposes. If true, this shift has a number of important implications for policymakers seeking to limit the spread of nuclear weapons. This project will create detailed historical cases of nuclear pursuit, to help scholars and policymakers better understand how the drivers of nuclear weapons programs and the pathways to nuclear acquisition have changed over time.

Ranjan Shrestha, Lecturer, Economics

Project: Studying anemia in adolescent girls in Indonesia

Anemia affects around a quarter of the Indonesian population, with women and children bearing a greater burden of this health condition. Its prevalence in Indonesia has not declined substantially in the last two decades and some surveys suggest that it has increased among some population groups in recent years. This project will evaluate the long-term consequences of adolescent anemia on the health status and educational attainment of Indonesian women. Using the sample of women who were adolescents in the 1997 round of the Indonesian Family Life Survey (IFLS), this study will track the same individuals through multiple survey rounds to determine whether anemia persisted over their lifecycle and whether being anemic during adolescence affected their educational attainment. The findings of this study will provide insights on the consequences of anemia and provide guidance on policies to reduce its prevalence.

2023 Drapers’ Faculty Fellow

Patton Burchett, Associate Professor, Religious Studies

Project: Research for new book tentatively titled, “The Authentic Yogi: Yoga and Tantra between Science, Religion and Magic

The book focuses on the formation and impact of historically specific “modern” notions of (dis)enchantment, scientific rationality, superstition and authenticity that developed in colonial India and Victorian Britain and that are still playing out in important ways in present-day Hindu religious life as well as present-day Western forms of “spirituality.” The study will explore 19th and early 20th century representations of yoga and yogis in different Euro-American and Indian interpretive communities and textual genres. A key aspect of the book will be a study of the way 19th and early 20th century stage magicians regularly invoked the figure of the Indian yogi-fakir in their writings and performances in order to define and advance particular, disenchanted “modern” cognitive modes and ethical sensibilities. At the same time, many in the vibrant subcultures of New Thought and the occult-esoteric invoked the figure of the Indian yogi for altogether different purposes. In order to show this convincingly, this research will explore the archives of literature of conjurers and illusionists, as well as Spiritualists, Mesmerists, paranormal researchers and Theosophists to analyze their repeated references to and representations of yogis, fakirs and other Indian ascetics. 

Previous Reves Faculty Fellows and their projects are listed online.