Provost’s Graduate Research Award

For the fall 2020 research award competitions, the Graduate College encourages research addressing discrimination, inequality, and health disparities in communities of color. For the AGR competition, we are particularly interested in these themes from a biomedical (both clinical and basic) perspective. For the PGRA, we are particularly interested in these themes vis-à-vis the study of cancer and cancer-like conditions. Neither competition is, however, limited to the above research areas.

Doing research during a global pandemic: If an applicant's proposed project will require travel (e.g., visiting an archive, conducting interviews) or may otherwise be impacted by travel and/or public health restrictions—whatever those might be—then the applicant should address this fact transparently and demonstrate awareness of contingencies.

Fall 2020 Recipients


The Provost’s Graduate Research Award (named the Chancellor’s Graduate Research Award prior to Spring 2018) has been revised in an effort to maximize impact for our graduate students.

Since its inception in 2009, this graduate research award has supported multidisciplinary scholarship to expose students to varied research and creative fields. The award mechanism has naturally evolved into a way for students early in their studies to develop new research directions for their PhD dissertations or terminal degree thesis/capstone project and has been used by graduate programs as a way for students to practice writing research proposals. Starting with the Fall 2016 competition, funding in the sum of $5,000 is available for pilot grants (or preliminary research) so that students can then have stronger applications for funding from external sources. We anticipate funding 25-35 projects. Awards will be $5,000 paid out over five months: February 16-June 16, 2021.

(NB: They are processed as awards to the student, not grants; no tuition waiver is attached.)

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DEADLINE for submission by the student’s academic program: 4 P.M., OCTOBER 16th (Central Time).

Pillars of Faith

Colonialist and imperialist fantasies often envision archaeological sites as ruins, evoking abandonment in the popular imagination and a perceived distance from modernity, thus erasing indigenous voices for whom these sites are sacred and/or religious. In my study of 15th-19th century mosques, I find that most Early Modern mosques in Java have been in continuous use since their construction centuries ago. Built by early Muslims who likely existed in dispersed diasporas amongst a backdrop of Hindu-Buddhist political and religious majorities, these early mosques have since been renovated and expanded to fit the needs of their current congregations. However, in most cases, the soko guru––massive teak pillars that form the original foundations of the entire mosque––still stand. While the numerous renovation events offer unique analytical challenges to archaeologists, the “lived” nature of these mosques allow insights into how religious spaces were used centuries ago. This picture was taken at Masjid Agung Sang Cipta Rasa, a 15th century mosque located in Cirebon, West Java, where thousands of people from all over Java still visit every day as pilgrims. This picture, and my research, would not be possible without the generous help of colleagues and friends from the anthropology department at UIC, Universitas Indonesia, and the caretakers of the many mosques we visited together.

Aldo Foe  |  PhD student, Anthropology (PGRA-funded)