Gabriel Solis Named Dean’s Fellow

Gabriel Solis 01

Musicologist Gabriel Solis has been named a dean’s fellow of the College of Fine and Applied Arts.

Please see Interim Dean Peter Mortensen’s announcement below:

Dear Colleagues,

It is my pleasure to announce that Gabriel Solis will join the dean’s office as a fellow in the new year. A professor of music, anthropology, and African American studies, Gabriel’s scholarly work explores the ways people engage the past, performing history and memory through music.

As dean’s fellow, Gabriel will serve an important role in the implementation of the new college strategy, ensuring timely and inclusive realization of established goals. A primary area of focus for this work will be the planning and realization of a new research hub for the college, including the establishment of infrastructure to support faculty-driven research themes in interdisciplinary performance, community partnerships, and arts research. The fellow will coordinate the exploration and establishment of a new center according to university statutes and processes, and work to devise and realize measurable goals for related efforts with attention to staffing, space, and fiscal stability.

While serving the college, Gabriel will retain his faculty appointment. Last year, he was named an NEH fellow, and this year, began a three-year digital jazz studies project funded through the Trans-Atlantic Platform for Humanities and Social Sciences. His previous awards include the Wenner Gren Foundation’s Hunt Fellowship, the Arnold O. Beckman Fellowship for distinguished research, the Madden Fellowship for research in technology and the arts, an IPRH fellowship, and a Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory senior fellowship.

Please join me in welcoming Gabriel to his new role within the college.


Peter Mortensen
Interim Dean



Professor Donna A. Buchanan Awarded Prestigious NEH Fellowship

Donna A. Buchanan has received a 2017 National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the Human Endeavor Fellowship for her project “Bells in the Music and Culture of Bulgaria.” The award will support the preparation of Buchanan’s new book, The Girl in the Bell: Audible Cosmologies of Bulgarian Belief, which considers how the gendered “voices” of pastoral and ritual bells make audible contemporary Bulgarian beliefs about nature, the universe, spirituality, and society. Whether pealing from the belfries of Orthodox cathedrals, jingling from the necks of herd animals, or clamoring thunderously from the costumes of participants in Carnival masquerades, bells serve as powerful sonic metaphors of community belonging and musical beauty, their timbres informing both women’s singing and men’s instrumental practices. By attending to how bells resonate meaningfully for Bulgarians across diverse sociopolitical contexts and expressive media, this study demonstrates that we experience, know, and inhabit our world not just visually, but aurally.

Donna Buchanan
Photo credit: Joyce Seay-Knoblauch

Buchanan’s fellowship is one of six received by Illinois faculty this year. A campus announcement describing the awards can be found here.