Colleen O'Brien Receives Prestigious Fulbright Award To Study In London

June 13, 2012 at 9:59 am

Dr. Colleen C. O’Brien, an assistant professor of Early American Literature at the University of South Carolina Upstate, has been awarded the Fulbright Research Chair in North American Studies at the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario Canada during the Fall semester, according to the United States Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board.

O’Brien will research the history of Black Loyalist communities, African Americans who emigrated to Canada after the Revolutionary War and eventually settled in Sierra Leone.  O’Brien is one of approximately 1,100 U.S. faculty and professionals who will travel abroad through the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program in 2012-2013.

Her research interests include hemispheric American studies and the history, literature, and culture of the nineteenth century. She earned her Ph.D. in English and Women’s Studies at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and has published various journal articles on transnational race relations, gender and sexuality. O’Brien’s first book manuscript, Romance and Rebellion in the Nineteenth Century Americas, is in review at the University of Virginia Press. She will be working on her second major project, Metaphors of Heart’s Blood and Home: Black Revolutionaries and Agrarian Freedom in the Americas, at the University of Western Ontario this fall.

Before coming to Upstate in 2008, O’Brien held  a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship in Africana Studies and History at Johns Hopkins University and also worked at the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Alabama. O’Brien is a native of Upstate New York and spends summers in a family cabin there. In her free time, she enjoys being outdoors with her two rescue dogs, Cappie and Marta.

The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. The primary source of funding for the Fulbright Program is an annual appropriation made by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.  Participating governments and host institutions, corporations and foundations in foreign countries and in the United States also provide direct and indirect support. Recipients of Fulbright grants are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields. The Program operates in over 155 countries worldwide.

Since its establishment in 1946 under legislation introduced by the late U.S. Senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas, the Fulbright Program has given approximately 300,000 students, scholars, teachers, artists, and scientists the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns.

Fulbright  alumni  have  achieved  distinction  in  government,  science,  the  arts,  business,  philanthropy,  education, and athletics.  Forty-three Fulbright alumni from 11 countries have been awarded the Nobel Prize, and 75 alumni have received Pulitzer Prizes. Prominent Fulbright alumni include: Muhammad Yunus, Managing Director and Founder, Grameen Bank, and 2006 Nobel Peace Prize recipient; John Atta Mills, President of Ghana; Lee Evans, Olympic Gold Medalist; Ruth Simmons, President, Brown University; Riccardo Giacconi, Physicist and 2002 Nobel Laureate; Amar Gopal Bose, Chairman and Founder, Bose Corporation; Renée Fleming, soprano; Jonathan Franzen, Writer; and Daniel Libeskind, Architect.

Fulbright recipients are among over 40,000 individuals participating in U.S. Department of State exchange programs each year.  For more than sixty years, the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs has funded and supported programs that seek to promote mutual understanding and respect between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. The Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program is administered by the Council for International Exchange of Scholars, a division of the Institute of International Education.

For additional information, contact Dr. Colleen O’Brien at 864-503-5678 or