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College of Arts & Sciences
Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures

Two Doctoral Candidates in the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures Awarded Bilinski Fellowships!

The Bilinski Fellowship, a highly competitive, prestigious annual award, has been awarded to David Hancock and Irina Vasilyeva Meier, respectively from the Spanish and Comparative Literature Programs, for their exceptional achievements during their studies at LLC and their outstanding research projects. The fellowship supports research for these students during the 2015-2016 academic year as they complete their dissertations. 
David’s dissertation, “Neoliberalism Murdered: Biology, the Collective Imagination and Non-theoretical Knowledge in the Brazilian Crime Novel,” studies how the work of Rubem Fonseca published between 1983 and 2010 points to a correlation between neoliberal discourse, hegemonic masculinities, folk biology, race myths, and the social acquiescence of violence. 
“The Bilinski Fellowship,” says David gratefully, “has given me time to research U.S./Brazilian military history and social theory.” This has led David to propose that Fonseca’ “narrative disrupts the cultural software reproducing neoliberalism’s ideology of domination.” David goes on to explain that in order to make his claim, he had to statistically demonstrate increased violence in Brazil, do an archival investigation of the U.S. Department of State operating in Brazil since WWII, and expose connections between neoliberalism and Brazil’s increasing violence. Needless to say, such elaborate research could hardly be conceivable without the generous contribution of the Bilinski Fellowship.
Irina’s dissertation, “Evil Men Have No Songs: The Terrorist and Littérateur Boris Savinkov,” is a comparative and interdisciplinary study of the legendary mastermind behind the biggest political murders in Imperial Russia at the beginning of the 20th century, and his works. It examines the Russian revolutionary period as a unique historical and intellectual space, in which problematized and redefined notions of love, truth, and sacrifice led to Savinkov’s story. Irina claims that through his literary works, Savinkov tried to negotiate his personal paradoxical double identity of cold-blooded terrorist and suffering Christian martyr. 
Irina says, “It is an honor and a privilege to be named the recipient of the Bilinski Fellowship because it allows me to give all the time and effort to my research and stay on track with my academic schedule.” Prior to receiving this award, Irina traveled to Moscow, Russia, where she worked in the state archives of the Russian Federation on Savinkov’s personal letters, diaries as well as official police reports, memoirs, newspapers, and magazine articles that shed light on Savinkov as political and literary figure. The generous financial support of the Bilinski Fellowship provides her with the resources and time to integrate the essential archival findings into her dissertation. 
* The Russell J. and Dorothy S. Bilinski Fellowships are awarded annually to doctoral students in the Humanities and Social Sciences that have been admitted to candidacy in their degree program. These Fellowships support students as they complete and defend their dissertations.