CLAS Professor receives fellowship to support research in dance studies

Rebekah Kowal, professor and chair of the Department of Dance, recently received the May Brodbeck Humanities Fellowship.
Monday, January 30, 2023

By Charlotte Brookins

Rebekah Kowal, professor and chair of the University of Iowa Department of Dance, is advancing research in the area of dance studies as the recipient of the May Brodbeck Humanities Fellowship from the UI Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost.  

Rebekah Kowal
Rebekah Kowal

This is a competitive award designed to encourage and support the study of language, linguistics, literature, philosophy, history, jurisprudence, criticism, and theory of the arts as well as humanistic aspects of the natural and social sciences at the University of Iowa.  

“This is the largest financial award I’ve ever received for my research,” says Kowal. “Receiving the award will give me more time to spend on research amidst my other duties and motivate me to get the work out into the world via publication.” 

Kowal, who has worked at the university for more than two decades, teaches dance history and theory, but also has a strong interest in the relationship between dance and social, cultural, and political change. A widely published researcher, Kowal previously received an award for her work The World Dances Through Manhattan: Dance Imports in a Globalizing World, 1945-1960. 

Her proposal, Dancers at War: Dancing the State and Citizenship, won her the award and will explore the relationship between dance and citizenship, especially during and after World War II. 

“It is a great honor to be recognized by the University of Iowa for my research in dance studies,” Kowal adds. “It is a goal of mine to write for an interdisciplinary readership and I’m excited that this research is resonating with a broad audience.” 

The $15,000 that accompanies the award will allow her to buy out of teaching one class this coming semester, allowing her time to further support her research. 

Kowal says she is appreciative of this fellowship and opportunity to advance her project.  

“I am deeply grateful to CLAS, the Office of the Provost, and the University of Iowa for the support for my research and this vote of confidence in its impact.”

Past recipients of the award can be viewed online.  

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Iowa is a comprehensive college offering 73 majors in the humanities; fine, performing and literary arts; natural and mathematical sciences; social and behavioral sciences; and communication disciplines. More than 17,000 undergraduate and 1,900 graduate students study each year in the college’s 37 departments, led by professors at the forefront of teaching and research in their disciplines. The college teaches all UI undergraduates through the General Education Program, and confers about 70 percent of the UI's bachelor's degrees each academic year.