Five University of New Mexico doctoral students will receive a 2014 Russell J. and Dorothy S. Bilinski Dissertation Fellowship for their dissertation work. Recipients are Rebecca Ellis, Mary Henderson, Nicholas Schwarz, Gino Signoracci and Rachel Spaulding.

Their dissertations cover a wide range of topics, from preserving elementary school children's loyalty to home community Spanish to G.W.F. Hegel's problematic account of Native American philosophy. 

Russell J. and Dorothy S. Bilinski's goal in life was to be independent and challenged intellectually. Both Bilinski’s were true intellectuals; Adventuresome, independent and driven, Russell was a researcher, academician and an entrepreneur. Doro was an accomplished artist and patron of the arts. They believed that education was a means to obtain independence, and this is the legacy they wished to pass on to others.

The Bilinski Fellowship is offered to full time doctoral students studying English, American Studies, Foreign Languages & Literatures, History, Linguistics, Phliosophy or Spanish & Portuguese. They include a $12,000 stipend per academic semester for up to three semesters. The Bilinski Educational Foundation provides fellowship funds for students who maintain the highest academic achevement, but who lack the financial resources to pay for the highest caliber post-secondary education. .

Rebecca Ellis
Rebecca Ellis is an advanced Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of History. She spent the last year working and living in Argentina where she was developing her current dissertation project. In her dissertation Rebecca examines the creation of political communities among blind students and immigrants in Argentina during the first half of the twentieth century. Her project attempts to understand how the blind attempted to generate better and more diverse labor opportunities by differentiating themselves from other disability categories that policy makers in Argentina increasingly labeled as dangerous. Understanding how disability was differentiated in Argentina both internally and externally to the blind movement will help further our understanding of the ways in which early twentieth century political movements promoting the interests of disabled persons established the basis of later twentieth century movements grouping persons with disabilities into a single cause.

Mary Hudgens Henderson
Mary Hudgens Henderson is a PhD candidate in Hispanic Linguistics in the Spanish and Portuguese Department. She has an M.A. in Spanish and an M.A. in Teaching English as a Second Language, and taught in bilingual elementary schools in Colorado. Her dissertation is an extension of a project she originally began with her second-grade students of tracking “formal” and “informal” language variants. The dialect-awareness curriculum teaches bilingual students about modern sociolinguistics and style-shifting to context-appropriate language. Students explore issues of accent prejudice and the connection between speech and identity.

Nicholas Schwartz
Nicholas Schwartz is a fifth year Ph.D candidate in English at the University of New Mexico. His dissertation focuses on the numerous and varied writings of Archbishop Wulfstan of York (d. 1023) in order to show that this important late Anglo-Saxon churchman had a much more extensive relationship with and interest in the history of his land than has been previously noted. The history of Anglo-Saxon England is something which Wulfstan mines, suppresses, and even invents. Ultimately, Nicholas’ project will show that the events, people, and texts from previous eras of Anglo-Saxon England were often used by Wulfstan to shape religion and society in his own present day.

Gino Signoracci
Gino Signoracci is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Philosophy. His dissertation explores the reception of philosophies of India in German intellectual circles during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Specifically, it critiques G.W.F. Hegel's account of Indian culture and thought, which although deeply problematic contributed to an abiding sense among Western philosophers that Asian traditions were not "truly" philosophical. The work looks at local debates motivating Hegel's judgments and also appeals to the self-understanding of representatives of Indian traditions. Gino's research interests include classical and contemporary Indian philosophies, social and political philosophy, German Idealism, and the history of philosophy.

Rachel Spaulding
Rachel Spaulding is an advanced Ph.D. candidate in colonial literature in the Spanish and Portuguese Department. Her dissertation focuses on the textual productions and mystical experiences of three early modern Afro-women: Spain's Sister Teresa Juliana de Santo Domingo, also known as Chicaba, Peru's Úrsula de Jesús and Brazil's Rosa Maria Egipçíaca. Her interdisciplinary research applies performance theory to explain how these women's texts foster a reading of transformation from slave subject to mystical agent and it situates these women's words and experiences within field of Ibero-Atlantic history.

For more information, visit: Bilinski Foundation Fellowship