“I am more than delighted. This is definitely the most prestigious (and competitive) award that I have secured in my career."
This is how Prof Ronelle Carolissen from the Department of Educational Psychology at Stellenbosch University reacted upon hearing the news that she has been chosen as a Fulbright South African Research Scholar for the 2021–2022 academic year.
Carolissen received the Fulbright Research Scholarship for her work on, among others, decolonial theory, inclusive citizenship, belonging and social justice pedagogies. She will spend three months (September to mid-December) at the University of Massachusetts Lowell (UMassLowell) in the United States where she will conduct research on these and other related topics.
Carolissen says this award “is a solid affirmation of the potential of my work and receiving this award inspires me to continue to pursue my research career. At the same time, with the prestige of Fulbright comes the weight of responsibility of being an ambassador for both my university and country. I was really humbled to receive it as I know that many academics who are Fulbright applicants do not become Fulbright scholars."
“This recognition comes at a good time as I am thinking about how best to maximise my contribution to higher education and to my profession from an interdisciplinary perspective."
Carolissen says she believes that a Fulbright research scholar award will further expose her to great global academic talent both in her Fulbright cohort and at her host institution.
“Fulbright, which celebrates its 75th year this year, also offers a distinguished network of alumni which I will join and have access to by receiving this award."
Carolissen adds that these networks are especially important at a historical juncture when there is much global uncertainty and greater global inequality which requires collaborative thought and action. “I look forward to learning from and contributing to this and other networks, especially younger scholars' careers, some of whom are in my field."
Carolissen says she will be quite busy during her stay at UMassLowell. She will work with her host, Dr Urmi Dutta, on a research project, entitled “Negotiating belonging and citizenship in Southern contexts" and will also conduct preliminary analyses of data from sites in South Africa and Northeast India respectively. They aim to write articles that bring their emerging findings into dialogue with each other and with the broader literature of decolonial theory and inclusive citizenship.
In addition, Carolissen will participate in joint colloquiums with psychology and education postgraduate students and staff at UMassLowell and other tertiary institutions in the region. She will also be exploring developments in the postgraduate Community Psychology programmes at UMassLowell.