UIC Doctoral Student To Study South African Xhosa

A University of Illinois at Chicago doctoral candidate in history has been awarded the competitive International Dissertation Research Fellowship from the Social Science Research Council.

Jochen Arndt, of Jupiter, Fla., is one of 77 awardees selected from over 1,100 submitted applications for the 2012-2013 academic year. He will use his $23,700 award to complete research on the South African Xhosa ethnic identity and consciousness produced by the relationship between the Xhosa-speaking people and missionaries.

“My research seeks to explore the ways in which 19th-century missionary linguists and African converts to Christianity together constructed what is now known as the Xhosa nation and ethnic identity of modern-day South Africa,” said Arndt, who studies colonial and world history, and South African history, particularly of the Eastern Cape area.

“I am especially excited about the research period in South Africa, because it will allow me to improve my Xhosa language skills and gain a deeper knowledge of contemporary Xhosa culture.”

The fellowship, in combination with the UIC history department’s Bentley Brinkerhoff Gilbert Fellowship and the American Historical Association – Bernadotte E. Schmitt Research Grant, will allow Arndt to conduct research at archives in Europe, South Africa, and the U.S.

Last year, Arndt was the recipient of a fellowship from the U.S. Department of Education for intensive study of the Xhosa language in preparation for his dissertation research.

Arndt, a native of Germany, earned a bachelor’s degree in international marketing from the University of Cooperative Education in Germany and a master’s degree in history from Stephen F. Austin State University.

The Social Science Research Council, founded in 1923, is an independent, non-profit international organization that “nurtures new generations of social scientists, fosters innovative research, and mobilizes necessary knowledge on important public issues.”

UIC ranks among the nation’s leading research universities and is Chicago’s largest university with 27,500 students, 12,000 faculty and staff, 15 colleges and the state’s major public medical center. A hallmark of the campus is the Great Cities Commitment, through which UIC faculty, students and staff engage with community, corporate, foundation and government partners in hundreds of programs to improve the quality of life in metropolitan areas around the world.

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