May 02, 2017

John Bodinger de Uriarte, associate professor and chair of the Department of Anthropology at Susquehanna University, has been awarded a Fulbright Scholar award to study and teach at the University of Iceland and the National Museum of Iceland, both in Reykjavik, during his fall 2017 sabbatical.

His project, The Stories of Sovereignties: Museums and “the National” as Public Identity Narrative, focuses on how the National Museum of Iceland’s main narratives have changed over time, shaping assertions of national identities that reflect changes in Iceland’s politics, ideologies and economies.

The work builds on Bodinger de Uriarte’s existing research into museums and cultural centers in Native America and their relationships to national museums elsewhere in the United States.

“National museums are sites for the exercise of self-representation, an intersection of sovereign politics, national identities and national histories,” Bodinger de Uriarte said. “My research asks the questions, ‘Who gets to tell which national history to whom and authenticated through what means?’”

Bodinger de Uriarte’s Fulbright research will examine how the National Museum of Iceland tells its story of national beginnings in the absence of an indigenous population.

“The National Museum also oversees a network of local museums throughout the country,” he said. “I’ll be looking at how these sites articulate both national and community cultural narratives.”

Bodinger de Uriarte’s research grant is the result of a collaboration between the U.S.-Iceland Fulbright Commission and the National Science Foundation (NSF), the first collaboration of its kind between the Fulbright Program and NSF, an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering.

Beginning in 2015, the U.S.-Iceland Fulbright Commission and NSF embarked on a three-year pilot program through which U.S. students and scholars have the opportunity to apply for grants for Arctic-related projects in a variety of social and natural science fields.

Bodinger de Uriarte is the director of the diversity studies and museum studies programs at Susquehanna and leads the Global Opportunities programs GalapaGOs and GO Iceland.