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LAURELS: Fellows of the American Council of Learned Societies

By Dateline Staff on April 30, 2018 in University

Quick Summary

  • ACLS gives grants to Hsuan L. Hsu, Cecilia M. Tsu and ‘Chuck’ Walker
  • More fellows: Kathryn Dewey, Linda Harris and Neelima Sinha
  • Gregory Downs elected to the Society of American Historians
  • Association names Outstanding Retiree: Janet C. Hamilton

Three UC Davis humanities scholars are among 78 American Council of Learned Societies Fellows for 2018. The grant competition drew nearly 1,150 applicants for awards of $40,000 to $70,000 to support six to 12 months of full-time research and writing.

The UC Davis awardees and project descriptions, summarized from abstracts:

Susan L. Hsu mugshot

Hsuan L. Hsu, professor, Department of English — “The Smell of Risk: Atmospheric Stratification and the Olfactory Arts,” tracing cultural deployments of olfaction during a historical period of “differential deodorization”: While odor has been eradicated or carefully designed in some civilized, bourgeois spaces, bad air has been redistributed to racialized geographies within and outside of the United States in the form of smog, pesticides and a range of other externalities.

Cecilia M. Tsu mugshot

Cecilia M. Tsu, associate professor, Department of History — “Starting Over: Refugee Resettlement in the Reagan Era,” in which Tsu focuses on Hmong refugees from Laos, examining the ways in which refugee resettlement sparked some of the most contentious debates in the United States during the late 20th century about the role of government and how Americans should conceive of their national identity in the aftermath of the Vietnam War.

Charles F. Walker mugshot

Charles F. “Chuck” Walker, professor, Department of History — “Violence and Its Long Shadow: The Shining Path in Peru” asks how a Maoist group took hold in Peru and how this conflict resulted in at least 70,000 dead. The project contextualizes the Shining Path in the history of global violence and terror, and studies its long-term impact on Peru as well as the efforts of and responses to Peru’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

“ACLS fellowships provide rare opportunities for transformational research in the humanities and humanistic social sciences,” said Elizabeth Spiller, dean of the College of Letters and Science. “The fellowships are highly competitive — only the smallest handful of schools had three or more awards — and they are on the National Research Council’s ‘highly prestigious’ award list. I am very pleased to be able to congratulate Hsuan, Cecilia and Chuck on this achievement.”

New fellows of the:

  • American Society for Nutrition — Kathryn Dewey, distinguished professor of nutrition. The title of fellow is the society’s highest honor, given to members in recognition of significant discoveries and distinguished careers.
  • Institute of Food Technologists — Linda Harris, Cooperative Extension specialist in microbial food safety, and chair of the Department of Food Science and Technology. The institute recognizes members as fellows in recognition of outstanding and extraordinary contributions to the field.
  • American Society of Plant Biologists — Neelima Sinha, professor, Department of Plant Biology, is the recipient of the ASPB Fellow Award for distinguished and long-term contributions to the field, and for service to the society.

Speaking of fellows ... Laura Marcu, professor of biomedical engineering and neurological surgery, was among nine UC faculty members inducted recently as fellows of the National Academy of Inventors. Dateline UC Davis announced her election in December. The induction ceremony took place April 5 in Washington, D.C., as part of the academy’s seventh annual conference.

With this year’s inductions, UC now has more than 60 members in the academy. “The UC system is an innovation powerhouse, not only in California but throughout the world,” UC declared in a news release on the new inductees. “UC generates an average of five inventions per day and holds more patents than any other university in the country.”

Gregory Downs has earned a string of accolades over his career as a historian of the Civil War and Reconstruction. His latest — election to the Society of American Historians — honors his historical writing.

Downs is the author of After Appomattox: Military Occupation and the Ends of War, and Declarations of Dependence: The Long Reconstruction of Popular Politics in the South, among other works. He co-wrote the National Park Service’s Theme Study on Reconstruction. 

He joins about 400 historians and writers — including Professor Emeritus David Brody of UC Davis — in the invitation-only Society of American Historians, which was established in 1939 at Columbia University by the historian/journalist Allan Nevins to promote literary excellence in the writing or presentation of history.

Current fellows are scholars, journalists, independent historians, essayists, biographers, novelists, filmmakers, curators and poets — people working in many different genres on topics that deal in whole or in part with

Janet Hamilton rides in horse-drawn carriage.
Janet Hamilton in the Picnic Day Parade.

If you saw the Picnic Day Parade, that was Janet C. Hamilton riding in a horse-drawn carriage as Outstanding Retiree for 2018. The Retirees Association bestows this honor in recognition of outstanding service to the association, additional community service, contributions to UC Davis during employment and “innovative problem-solving and advocacy activity of benefit to UC Davis retirees.”

Hamilton’s UC career spanned nearly 30 years, concluding as vice chancellor of the Office of Administration from 1991 until her retirement in 2003. The training classroom in the Hubert Heitman Jr. Staff Learning Center bears her name in recognition of her strong commitment to staff development.

She has been a member of Retirees Association executive board since 2013, having joined to “participate in the commitment to advocate for quality retiree benefits” and to foster the continued engagement of retirees in campus life. She served as president in 2014-15.

Dateline UC Davis welcomes news of faculty and staff awards, for publication in Laurels. Send information to

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About the author(s)

Dateline Staff Dave Jones, editor, can be reached at 530-752-6556 or Cody Kitaura, news and media relations specialist, can be reached at 530-752-1932 or