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Two UC San Diego Faculty Members Celebrated as 2023 Guggenheim Fellows

Patrick Anderson and Jac Jemc will advance their scholarly and creative work through prestigious fellowship

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University of California San Diego faculty members Patrick Anderson and Jac Jemc are newly announced Guggenheim Fellows, a prestigious distinction awarded annually by the Board of Trustees of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.

Anderson and Jemc were chosen along with 169 additional artists, writers, scholars and scientists through a rigorous peer-review process of nearly 2,500 applicants. This year’s fellows represent 48 different scholarly disciplines and artistic fields, with the fellowships supporting research and creative work: Jemc is a 2023 Guggenheim Fellow in Fiction, and Anderson is a 2023 Guggenheim Fellow in Theatre Arts & Performance Studies.

“UC San Diego’s world-renowned faculty are among the most accomplished and respected experts in their fields,” said UC San Diego Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla. “Jac Jemc and Patrick Anderson join an elite group of Guggenheim Fellows, and we are so proud of their accomplishments and the opportunity to celebrate this recognition of their exceptional leadership and commitment to scholarly research and academic excellence.”

Patrick Anderson
Patrick Anderson

Patrick Anderson

Patrick Anderson is a professor in the departments of Communication and Ethnic Studies in the UC San Diego School of Social Sciences. He is a performance theorist and ethnographer whose research is focused on experiences of violence, mortality and pain. His previous books include “So Much Wasted,” a study of anorexia nervosa, staged fasts and hunger strikes, and “Autobiography of a Disease,” which narrates his own experience with a life-threatening illness from the perspective of a bacterial cluster.

Anderson was appointed to the San Diego Commission on Police Practices in 2018, where he spent four years conducting oversight reviews of officer-involved shootings, in-custody deaths and complaints against officers in the San Diego Police Department. While serving as a commissioner, Anderson also worked with over 100 local community organizations, many of which represent neighborhoods and groups that experience disproportionate rates of police encounters and police violence. He will use his Guggenheim Fellowship to complete a book about this work.

“I was humbled and honored to learn that I had been appointed a Guggenheim Fellow,” Anderson said. “And I’m equally humbled and honored to have collaborated in this work with so many local groups who have long been focused on improving public safety in San Diego: San Diegans for Justice, the Youth Council of Mid-City CAN, Pillars of the Community, Women Occupy, the Racial Justice Coalition, and many more.

“I hope that the work I will be able to do with the Guggenheim will do justice to those collaborations and will serve the larger interests of making San Diego safer and more livable for more people.”

Jac Jemc
Jac Jemc

Jac Jemc

Joining the Department of Literature in 2020, Jac Jemc is the author of two short-story collections and three novels, including “The Grip of It,” “False Bingo” and, most recently, “Empty Theatre,” which was critically acclaimed and featured on NPR’s Weekend Edition.

Her work has been awarded the Chicago Review of Books Fiction Award and the Paula Anderson Book Award, as well as being a finalist for the PEN Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction, the Story Prize and a Lambda Literary Award for LGBTQ Speculative Fiction.

With the support of the Guggenheim Fellowship, Jemc plans to revise her fourth novel, a new work of speculative fiction connecting four distinct time periods, with the narrative unfolding backward in time. Jemc said she finished a first draft in the summer of 2022 and will use the fellowship to conduct historical research about the practicalities of everyday life for two of the novel’s protagonists, as well as the Spiritualist movement in general.

“In the course of my fellowship, it is my hope that I might then finish a significant revision of this draft,” she said, “and the support of the Guggenheim Foundation will provide me the opportunity for uninterrupted focus and dedicated time on this project.

“I am eager to devote myself fully to bringing out the richness I know waits within the draft I’ve created,” she said.

Created and initially funded in 1925, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation has sought to “further the development of scholars and artists by assisting them to engage in research in any field of knowledge and creation in any of the arts, under the freest possible conditions,” the foundation said.

The UC San Diego faculty boast multiple Guggenheim Fellows, including the most-recent winners Amy Adler of Visual Arts, and Akif Tezcan of Chemistry and Biochemistry in 2021. Additional former fellows include Massimo Franceschetti of Electrical and Computer Engineering (2019), Nicole Miller of Visual Arts (2018), Kiran Kedlaya of Mathematics (2014), Rae Armantrout of Literature (2008) and Gary Cox of Political Science (1995), among others.

“The diversity of incredible talent amongst our faculty is one of the ways UC San Diego sets itself apart from other institutions,” said Executive Vice Chancellor Elizabeth H. Simmons. “Professor Anderson’s work at the intersection of equity, violence and encounters with law enforcement and Professor Jemc’s work in speculative fiction touching on the Spiritualist movement both travel into creative landscapes that promise to positively impact the future.”

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