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SU’s Burkard, Mitchell named 2008 Guggenheim Fellows
SU’s Burkard, Mitchell named 2008 Guggenheim Fellows April 14, 2008Sara Millersemortim@syr.edu
The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation has announced that in its 84th annual competition for the United States and Canada, Syracuse University’s Michael P. Burkard, associate professor of English in The College of Arts and Sciences, and Don Mitchell, Distinguished Professor of Geography in the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs and The College of Arts and Sciences, are among the new Guggenheim Fellowship winners for 2008. The competitive fellowships — with awards totaling $8.2 million — are given to artists, scientists and scholars chosen from a group of more than 2,600 applicants.
Guggenheim Fellows are appointed on the basis of stellar achievement and exceptional promise for continued accomplishment. In all, 75 disciplines and 81 different academic institutions are represented by this year’s 190 Guggenheim Fellows.
Michael P. BurkardFor almost a decade, Burkard has taught in SU’s graduate Creative Writing Program and is internationally recognized for his poetry collections that include “Unsleeping” (Sarabande Books, 2001), “Entire Dilemma” (Sarabande Books, 1998), “My Secret Boat: a notebook of prose and poems” (W.W. Norton, 1990) and “Ruby for Grief” (University of Pittsburgh, 1981).
Burkard’s poems have appeared in American Poetry Review, The Paris Review, Ploughshares, Poetry and many other magazines. In April 2006, Burkard was again invited to anchor a special supplement in the American Poetry Review with his work.
Sharing knowledge of poetry and other creative writing styles with individuals outside of campus is a big part of Burkard’s work and the Community Writers Project in which he teaches. Through the Community Writers Project, Burkard has brought SU undergraduate and graduate students to numerous area schools and community centers throughout a semester to teach creative writing. He also extends the project beyond the City of Syracuse to include visits to the Onondaga Nation, where he introduces Native American students to various writing techniques that improve their arts literacy skills. The Community Writers Project is also an integral part of the development of the community arts literary journal “Stone Canoe,” which features the work of local and national poets. Burkard serves as a board member for the journal and is its poetry editor.
Another one of Burkard’s major engagement projects in the community has been the Art, Literacy and Technology program he helped develop. As part of The Partnership for Better Education, Burkard teaches creative writing techniques to Syracuse high school students and helps them develop photographic and written essays about their lives. With photographer Stephan Mahan, Burkard helps the students create a collaboration of photographs they’ve taken and poems they’ve written.
Burkard received a bachelor’s degree from Hobart College and a master of fine arts degree from the University of Iowa’s Iowa Writers Workshop. His honors include fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center, the Alice Fay di Castagnola Award from the Poetry Society of America, two NEA grants, two New York Foundation for the Arts grants and a Whiting Writers’ Award. He has taught at many colleges and universities, including New York University, Sarah Lawrence College and the University of Louisville.
Don MitchellMitchell, a professor in the geography department in the Maxwell School and The College of Arts and Sciences since fall 1997, is a cultural geographer with research and teaching interests in investigating the way people think and live their lives in particular places. He specifically focuses on issues related to migratory labor and agricultural landscapes, urban public spaces, the homeless and hungry, and other marginal populations in U.S. cities.
Mitchell’s work has often focused on how the interaction between society and its marginalized members changes the landscape. He is the author of three books: “The Right to the City: Social Justice and the Fight for Public Space” (The Guilford Press, 2003); “Cultural Geography: A Critical Introduction” (Blackwell Publishers, 2000); and “The Lie of the Land: Migrant Workers and the California Landscape” (University of Minnesota Press, 1996), as well as numerous articles on public space, homelessness, migratory workers and culture. In “The Lie of the Land,” he explores how the conflict between farm workers and farm owners shaped California’s Central Valley between 1913 and 1942. With his Guggenheim award, Mitchell plans to pick up the story of migratory workers in California in 1942, when the United States implemented a wartime “guest worker” program that ended up lasting until 1964. During the “Bracero” period, Mitchell argues, agribusiness solidified its hold on California agriculture, cementing the highly productive and highly exploitative system of food production that persists to this day.
Mitchell is the founder and director of The People’s Geography Project, which brings the insights of radical and critical contemporary geography to lay audiences, activists and teachers. He is also a member of the Syracuse Hunger Project, a community-university consortium that examines and addresses the changing geography of hunger and food insecurity in the Syracuse area.
In June 1998, Mitchell was awarded one of 29 annual MacArthur Fellowships. He was the first SU faculty member to receive this honor. In 2002, he held a Fulbright Fellowship at the University of Oslo. His research has also been supported by the National Science Foundation.
Mitchell earned a Ph.D. at Rutgers University in 1992.