Graduate student Ayanda Masilela receives the Joff Hanauer Fellowship!

Ayanda Masilela
Ayanda Masilela

Ayanda Masilela received the Joff Hanauer Endowment for Excellence in Western Civilization Fellowship award. The award is intended to support students whose work fosters “creative and critical work in the Western cultural tradition and to help prepare teachers from different disciplines who have well-reasoned convictions about the place of Western civilization in the curriculum of an American liberal arts institution.”

Ayanda’s describes her research as investigating “the development of health discourses in martial arts practice sites, such as dojos and studios. These locales foster the development of social networks, and allow opportunities for participants to engage in intensive bodywork partnerships with fellow practitioners. These encounters often occur on a recurrent basis for many years, or even decades. Together, practitioners navigate the rigors, benefits, and dangers of martial arts practice, and commit extended periods of time to learning how to best accommodate each other’s needs and wellbeing, ideally supporting continued practice over one’s lifetime. Furthermore, with a high proportion of practitioners being employed in health-related professions, such as athletic training, herbalism, and nursing, working as training partners allows access to professionalized health knowledge without the cost limitations of the insurance-based medical establishment.”

Ayanda says this fellowship will help with traveling and tuition costs for attending classes at multiple schools over the next year. The project spans the West Coast, with research sites in Seattle, WA, Eugene, OR, and Oakland, CA. “I plan to train at seven schools over the next year, where I will be conducting interviews, photographing, and filming practitioners. Additionally, I will be conducting archival reviews of black belt and senior student projects that center health issues.”

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