Jennifer Prough, Christ College assistant professor of humanities and East Asian studies, is the recipient of a Japan Foundation Research Fellowship for 2012.

The fellowship will allow Prough to live in Kyoto, Japan for research purposes January through August 2012. She will use the grant to fund studies for a book project about the cultural construction and representation of the ancient city of Kyoto and its interpretation as a marker of Japanese identity. By studying Kyoto’s tourist industry, Prough will determine how the city’s past creates its present image.

“These research grants are very competitive and prestigious and usually go to only the top scholars in all fields of Japanese studies,” said Mel Piehl, Dean of Christ College. “For Jeni to win one of these is extraordinary and marks her as a major up-and-comer in the field.”

The Japan Foundation, a Japanese government-supported agency for culture and academics, only awards 12-18 fellowships annually to scholars in North America. The purpose of the fellowship is to help promote Japanese studies overseas, and to give foreign scholars in Japanese studies a financially supported opportunity to conduct research in Japan.

“When completed, I will disseminate this research via presentation at scholarly conferences and by publishing a book targeting the undergraduate classroom audience,” said Prough. “Additionally, I will develop a web-based curriculum providing guidelines for professors who want to take students to Japan for a short study trip focusing on the intermingling of heritage and history as they travel around Kyoto.”

Prough received her doctorate in cultural anthropology from Duke University, Master’s in both social science from University of Chicago and gender studies and feminist theory from New School for Social Research. She received her Bachelor of Arts in East Asian studies and psychology from Valparaiso University.

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