School: University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Major: English, Political Science
Country Visiting: Kosovo
Albulena Shabani, who graduated from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee in 2010 with a Bachelor’s degree in English and a minor in Political Science, is investigating the repercussions of the 1999 Kosovo war and its effect on women in the region. Her focus is on women, music, and voice in Kosovo. She will be documenting songs and stories of war-time sexual assault survivors. By partnering with several Kosovo-based non-governmental organizations, she will also examine how women are using creative ways to share their stories through art. Shabani has a background in spoken word poetry, multimedia performance art, creative non-fiction, and film theory. Originally born and raised in Macedonia to an ethnically Albanian family, this project has personal meaning to her. As an immigrant who overcame struggles of self-identity and gendered expectations, Shabani hopes her project will help women of Kosovo do the same.
Country Visiting: India
Jeff Roy, a Ph.D. student in the Department of Ethnomusicology at the University of California, Los Angeles, will create a documentary about how members of the LGBTQIA community in India use music and dance to navigate tradition, modernity and globalization, in order to craft a contemporary, urban identity. Roy will base his work primarily in Mumbai, India’s largest urban center, to investigate how music and dance constructs and negotiates identities as sites of resistance and self-affirmation within the context of social gatherings, political protests and religious rituals.
School: Michagan State University
Major: Ecological-Community Psychology
Country Visiting: Barbados
Katherine Cloutier will tentatively graduate from Michigan State University with a PhD in Ecological-Community Psychology focusing on Gender, Justice, and Environmental Change. Her project aims to expose Barbadian youth’s perspectives on HIV, sexuality, and sexual health by working with an organization called dance4life and using Photovoice, music, dance, and community-based performance. dance4life is a global leadership movement that aims to inspire young people to push back the spread of HIV worldwide. Using community-based forms of expression and dissemination (music, dance, photography, and video) with youth, Cloutier intends to promote activism among young people and develop their roles as experts on their own lives. Cloutier’s project will also reach into issues of policy change and program development.
School: University of Pennsylvania
Major: English, History
Country Visiting: Botswana
Sebastian Modak holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English and History from the University of Pennsylvania, where he also minored in Music and African Studies. Modak’s goal is to investigate how musicians in Botswana confront social issues like the country’s AIDS epidemic. He will be focusing on the thriving pop music scene in the country’s capital, which centers around a unique brand of hip hop locally referred to as motswako. Modak aims to create a documentary from monthly webisodes that will illustrate his findings; he also aims to publish a mixtape that showcases local hip hop recordings and incorporates musicians from the United States, which would serve as a tangible testament to the power of cross-culture artistry. Besides documenting the current state of hip hop culture in Gaborone, Modak also aims to become involved in projects that use the arts as a force of social change. Prior to becoming a Fulbright-mtvU Fellow, Modak spent two years living in Cambridge, Mass. working as a writer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and playing drums in two Boston-based indie rock bands.