Carol Lawton named Guggenheim fellow

Kijai Corbett

Carol Lawton, professor of art history and Ottilia Buerger Professor of Classical Studies, has recently been named a 2006 Guggenheim Fellow. The prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship program offers accomplished scholars and artists the opportunity to pursue independent research projects during a year freed from financial obligations.
While the fellowships were officially announced only last week, Lawton learned of her award back in March. She remembers being surprised at the time because it had been her first attempt at applying for the very competitive program. Despite her doubts, her accomplishments won her a place among the 187 recipients chosen out of nearly 3,000 this year.
The purpose of the program “is to help provide fellows with blocks of time in which they can work with as much creative freedom as possible,” according to the Lawrence University website. To this end, the Guggenheim Foundation awards its fellows approximately $38,000 to spend as they see fit toward their scholarship.
Many of the fellows use the award to continue work they have already begun. Lawton hopes to finish a project she has been working on for the past ten years. Based on her research of votive reliefs excavated in Greece, she is writing a book entitled, “Popular Greek Religion and the Votive Reliefs from the Athenian Agora.”
While her research has previously been conducted mainly during the summer, now Lawton will be free to focus entirely on the book. As she says, “The fellowship is going to give me a full, uninterrupted year for writing.”
Since most of the research has already been completed, Lawton plans to spend the first half of the year in the United States, compiling that research and focusing on writing. She plans to spend the second half of the year in Greece, leaving Wisconsin just in time to escape the worst of winter.
For those who haven’t taken art history – or even for those who have – votive reliefs “are small, marble relics generally dedicated to gods and heroes, either requesting or giving thanks for help,” Lawton explains. Her study of these reliefs will contribute greater knowledge about Athenian popular religion to the field of art history.
When asked which role she prefers out of teacher, researcher or writer, Lawton replied gracefully, “Research and teaching go hand in hand. Research helps your teaching and teaching helps your research. I couldn’t imagine one without the other.