NEW in 2022! William A. Brown Research Award

Purpose

This award is intended to support research on Islam or West African history. Funds must be used to advance research; recipients may propose to use this award for travel, archival work, or as direct support for writing.

Eligibility

Graduate students in good standing from any department or program who are engaged in the study of Islam or West African history.

Award Details

Awardees may receive up to $4000. Award recipients must submit a photograph, brief bio, and a brief report on their work within one year of receiving funding. This information will be displayed on our website.

Application Details

Applicants should submit a 1-2 page project proposal and a project proposal C.V./resume as a single PDF via the online application portal. The application also requires a timeline and budget for the proposed work. View application>>

Students should seek input and review from their advisors prior to submission. The student must list the name and email address of their advisor in their application, and the advisor must submit an approval form before the deadline.

Applications and advisor approval forms are due Thursday, March 10 at 11:59pm.

View application>>

View advisor approval form>>

Applications will be evaluated by an interdisciplinary faculty committee and all award decisions will be returned by April 5th.

About the Advisor Approval Form

This brief online form replaces the need for a formal letter of recommendation and should take no more than 5  minutes to complete. The Advisor Approval form is designed to achieve three goals:

  • To encourage students to discuss their proposals with their advisors prior to submission;
  • To ensure that student proposals are evaluated on their own merit instead of on the merits of the accompanying recommendation letters; and
  • To reduce administrative burdens on our community.

About William A. Brown (1934-2007)

William was born on January 29, 1934 in Beauford, North Carolina, where he attended DeWitt Clinton High School prior to joining the Air Force. On leaving the Air Force, he enrolled in Kentucky State University, where he majored in History, Government, French Language and Literature; graduating with highest distinction as valedictorian in 1959. He was then awarded a Fulbright grant to attend the Universitè de Sorbonne in Paris, where he again led his class.

Upon completing his studies in France, he entered the University of Wisconsin-Madison to study African history and Islamic studies. At Wisconsin, he was awarded a number of fellowships, including: a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship, National Defense Foreign Language Fellowship in Arabic, and a Foreign Area Fellowship for Africa. He conducted research in Mali from 1965-66 for his doctoral dissertation, “The Caliphate of Humdullahi, ca. 1818-1864: A Study in African History and Tradition,” which he submitted to Wisconsin in 1969 and remains the authoritative study of the area.

Prof. Brown started his teaching career at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria and subsequently held positions at Yale University, Harvard University, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, from which he retired as Emeritus Professor in 2006. He received research grants from the Ford Foundation, the Social Science Research Council, The American Council of Learned Societies, The American Philosophical Society , and he published “ Toward a Chronology for the Caliphate of Hamdullah,” Cahiers D’ etudes Africanines; “ A New Bio-bibliographical Aid; ‘ The Izalat Al-Rayb’ of Muhammad Boul Araf” and “Nasiwal Asudan”: A Guide to Legal History in Mali,” both in the Research bulletin Center of Arabic Documentation, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria; and Great Rulers of the African Past. Prof. Brown also organized the first conference on Black Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1967 that resulted in the publication of S. Henderson and M. Cook (eds.), The Militant Black Writer in the U.S. and Africa.

This award celebrates Prof. Brown’s memory.