Meredith Professor Sherry Shapiro Receives Fulbright Award
Sherry Shapiro, professor of dance and director of women’s studies, has been awarded a Fulbright Scholar grant to research and lecture at the University of Cape Town in South Africa from January through July 2009.
The Fulbright Program’s purpose is to build mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the rest of the world.
South Africa’s post-apartheid national curriculum makes the country an appropriate setting for Shapiro’s research, which brings together her work in dance and the social justice aspects of women’s studies.
“The new national curriculum, adopted in 1996, required that all disciplines must address issues of social justice, identity and equality,” Shapiro said. “I am interested in how dance programs are implementing issues of social justice into the curriculum.”
Shapiro has received what is known as a 60/40 Fulbright grant, in which she will spend 60 percent of her time researching and 40 percent teaching.
Her research will focus on dance education in the new South African curriculum. She will examine the implications for dance education in the process of democratic transformation.
She will also teach a choreography course for dance education students at the University of Cape Town and in the community, and provide workshops in dance education for teachers.
The course and workshops will use a process Shapiro developed and uses at Meredith. She describes the process as using “dance as a vehicle for increasing both self and social understanding among students.”
Shapiro is looking forward to the experience of working with “a community that is focused and concerned with ethical, moral and social justice issues … this process will be really enriching to my work.”
Through researching and teaching in an international setting, faculty members “gain new eyes,” Shapiro said. “We have so much to learn from other teachers, scholars and from other students and situations.”
While in South Africa, Shapiro will be writing reflections in a journal format. Visit this site often for updates on her Fulbright experience.