Congratulations to Haicheng Wang for receiving a 2017 New Directions Fellowship from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation! Wang is an Associate Professor in Art History and a Mary and Cheney Cowles Endowed Professor. His primary specialty is the art and archaeology of ancient China, and he also has a strong interest in comparative studies of early civilizations. He is one of thirteen recipients nationwide this year.
Wang is particularly interested in Chinese bells found at archaeological sites and how ancient Chinese musical culture made an abrupt shift from the dominance of bells to stringed instruments. Related to this, he wants to develop a better understanding of bell and stringed instrument use in other cultures. This is where the Mellon New Directions Fellowship comes in. According to the fellowship webpage:
New Directions Fellowships assist faculty members in the humanities and humanistic social sciences who seek to acquire systematic training outside their own areas of special interest. The program is intended to enable scholars in the humanities to work on problems that interest them most, at an appropriately advanced level of sophistication. In addition to facilitating the work of individual faculty members, these awards should benefit scholarship in the humanities more generally by encouraging the highest standards in cross-disciplinary research.
From spring 2017 through September 2019, Wang will use his fellowship to pursue further study in ethnomusicology, psychoacoustics, music theory, bell founding, and bell acoustics. He will: take classes in the UW School of Music and Department of Psychology; visit bell foundries in London, England, and The Netherlands; do research on ancient Chinese music at Kyoto City University of Arts and the University of Arkansas; and, hopefully, experience in person the music of southern India, which has some parallels with Chinese music.