Campus: CSU Long Beach -- May 16, 2003

CSULB Anthropology Professor Receives NEH Summer Stipend to Fund Research in East Africa

James Ellison, an assistant professor of anthropology at California State University, Long Beach, has been awarded a $5,000 summer stipend from the National Endowment for the Human-ities to fund research into the formation of a large ethnic group in Africa.

Ellison, who joined the university in the fall of 2001, will visit London in June for two months of research at the London School of Economics and the Public Records Office before departing for Tanzania, East Africa, to continue his work.

Ellison’s manuscript, “Colonial Performances: Remaking Nyakyusa Tradition and Identity in 20th Century Eastern Africa,” seeks to discover how colonial-era changes in popular rural dance performances resulted in the Nyakyusa becoming one of the largest ethnic groups in Tanzania.
“There were only 117 of these grants awarded this year and I was lucky enough to receive one and my first NEH grant at that,” said Ellison, whose primary research interest is colonialism and who is fluent both in Swahili and Nyakyusa.

“Getting this grant is good on a number of levels,” Ellison noted. “It’s very good for me personally and professionally; it will help me complete a book manuscript; it’s good for the Depart-ment of Anthropology because it recognizes the quality of the program we have here; and it’s good for CSULB because it shows again that we successfully compete for prestigious national awards.”

Ellison received his bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University and his master’s and Ph.D. from the University of Florida where he served as a lecturer.

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