Art history Ph.D. candidate wins Newcombe Fellowship

Lara Fresko Madra, a doctoral candidate in the field of history of art, archaeology and visual studies, has been selected as a recipient of the Charlotte W. Newcombe Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship.

Administered through the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, Fresko Madra is one of 23 recipients for the 2020-21 academic year.

Lara Fresko Madra

Fresko Madra is studying the history of artistic practice through a lens that challenges the distinction between the aesthetic and the political.

“My dissertation, tentatively titled ‘Heterochronic Imagination and Historiography in Contemporary Art from Turkey (1990-2020),’ is an analysis of the manifestations of violent pasts and their continued reverberations in contemporary art practices from Turkey,” she said. “Examining works by seven artists, I ask how the last three decades of contemporary art from Turkey has reflected upon the tumultuous history of the country.”

Fresko Madra’s research interests were influenced by years working as a curator and writer in contemporary arts in her hometown of Istanbul, Turkey, where she was also politically involved. Seeing the interaction between art and politics in her own life, she wanted to understand better how the two worked together as well as how the past resonates in the present.

“I loved teaching while I worked on parts of my dissertation. It contributed a lot to my own work,” she said. “But at this later stage in the process, it will be great to have the time to just focus on writing.”

Founded in 1981, the Newcombe fellowship was established to provide funding to Ph.D. candidates in the humanities and social sciences writing ethically focused dissertations at American institutions, to allow for 12 months of full-time dissertation writing.

Katya Hrichak is a communications assistant in the Graduate School.

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