The Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, established in 1935, is the only book award for writings about diversity and race.
For years, Case Western Reserve University has highlighted the issues of race and diversity in its annual Anisfield-Wolf Lecture, but the complexities of such issues cannot be explored with depth in a single lecture.
That’s why the university’s Baker-Nord Center for the Humanities and SAGES, the undergraduate seminar program, are excited to welcome a new fellow, Lisa Nielson, who will lead several semester-long classes dedicated to these important themes.
Nielson is the university’s first fellow related to SAGES’ partnership with the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, which is administered by the Cleveland Foundation.
The Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, established in 1935, is the only book award for writings about diversity and race. As a fellow, Nielson has the opportunity to expand the reach of the Ainsfield-Wolf Book Award’s mission.
“The SAGES-Anisfield-Wolf partnership was designed to further our shared goals of better understanding racism and appreciating the rich diversity of human cultures,” said Peter Whiting, director of the SAGES program.
Nielson — an accomplished cellist, music theorist and recording artist — comes from the University of Maine where she had teaching and research interests that spanned from women and gender in the Ancient Near East to Islamic history and literature to performance practices in Medieval, renaissance and baroque music.
She has developed two seminars for undergraduates: “Gender, Visibility and Performance: The Courtesan” and “Fantastic Voyages: The journey in the ancient and medieval world.”
The seminars will incorporate works by Anisfield-Wolf Book Award recipients. Among the many past recipients are Russell Banks (Cloudsplitter), Junot Diaz (The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao), Ralph Ellison (Invisible Man), James McBride (The Color of Water), Toni Morrison (Beloved), Henry Louis Gates Jr. (The Schomburg Library of Nineteenth-Century Black Women), Langston Hughes (Simple Takes a Wife), Edward Said (Out of Place) and Michi Weglyn (Years of Infamy: The Untold Story of America’s Concentration Camps).
Nielson received her PhD in historical musicology with a concentration in women’s studies from University of Maine in 2010. She also studied the Arabic language at the University of Damascus in Syria; performance practice at Oberlin College; and performance on the Viola da gama, a 15th century instrument also known as the viol, at the University of Washington.
She has recorded two CDs — Stories, Memories and Moons with guitarist William Simcoe and Music of the French Baroque with Robert Green.