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Dr. Ken Marcus, a member of The Academy at La Verne, is the recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship that will take him to Holland's Leiden University to teach next spring.

Dr. Ken Marcus, a member of The Academy at La Verne, is the recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship that will take him to Holland's Leiden University to teach next spring.

A Taste for Holland Days

Dr. Ken Marcus will travel to Holland next spring to teach at Leiden University as the recipient of a Fulbright Scholar Award for a Senior Professorship in American Culture.

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  • May 1, 2012

Some might call him a go-getter. Others might call him a man on the move. The truth is, when it comes to research and the opportunity to delve into international scholarship, Kenneth Marcus wants in.

Such an opportunity has recently come his way. Marcus, a founding member of The Academy at University of La Verne was recently notified that he was selected to receive a Fulbright Scholar Award for a Senior Professorship in American Culture. The award, sponsored by the U.S. government, provides a grant for a well-accomplished U.S. professor to teach and conduct research abroad.

Through this opportunity, Marcus is scheduled to spend a semester teaching at Leiden University in Holland, the location of his choice, during Spring Semester 2013.

Sought out by scholars across the country, the award is one of just two senior professorships the program offers each year in the Netherlands.

As professor of history and director of the Institute of International Studies at the University of La Verne, one of Marcus’ many passions lies within engaging students in global and intercultural awareness.

“During my time spent at Leiden, I hope to get a sense of international exchange and reception among faculty and students for my ideas concerning exiles and modernism,” Marcus said.

From January through May 2013 he will be teaching an undergraduate course in the history of Los Angeles, which will explore its development from its origins as a Native American settlement to how it eventually became a global metropolis.

He will also teach a graduate-level course, a seminar that examines the interactions between European and Mexican exiles, American culture and the modernist movement in Southern California. His audience for both courses will be students pursuing degrees in American Studies and History.

Although he had a choice as to where he could spend his professorship, he elected Leiden University for more than one reason.

In the fall of 2007, he was introduced to Johanna Kardux, director of American Studies at Leiden University. At the time she was a Fulbright-Scholar-in-Residence at La Verne, teaching and lecturing for a semester.

After meeting and collaborating with her, Marcus was invited to present a paper at an international conference organized by the Society of Multiethnic Studies of Europe and the Americas (MESEA), which took place at Leiden University and was organized by Kardux and her husband, Eduard.

“I was very pleasantly surprised at the truly international nature of the conference, with scholars originating from Europe, the Americas, Africa, and Asia,” Marcus said. “It was possibly the most internationally-engaged conference I had ever attended up to that time. I also felt very comfortable in Leiden, which is an attractive university town.

Marcus, who says he has long been fascinated by the "California Dream," is also an accomplished singer, composer, musician and music historian.

Marcus is looking forward to spending more time in Leiden to further absorb the culture, interact with its people and concentrate on completing his current research projects: a manuscript on the exiles and modernism in Southern California and a multi-CD project featuring historical recordings from the 20th century modernism era in Southern California.

“Ken is a mentor for faculty researchers across disciplines,” said Al Clark, University of La Verne Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs.  “His core interest is music, and he continually finds new, exciting ways to research neglected topics in that field.  His cross-disciplinary style and cooperative approach is an instructive model for others.”

Having been fascinated with what he calls the “California Dream” since he was a young man growing up in Illinois, most of Marcus’ projects and activities are centered in Southern California.

When not in the classroom, Marcus is active in the community. On April 21, he joined fellow scholars, journalists and artists by participating in an open dialogue on the contemporary Latino experience in L.A. at the Latino Los Angeles conference that he organized, hosted by the Historical Society of Southern California.

In addition to his scholarly accomplishments, he has published several books and articles on politics and music. He sings, plays guitar and piano, and writes music.

While Marcus is proud to be a Fulbright Scholar, he admits it couldn’t have happened without the support of his colleagues and the University of La Verne.

“Dr. Johanna Kardux was very helpful throughout the application process,” Marcus said. “I’d also like to thank Dean Jonathan Reed, and my chair, Richard Gelm, for being so supportive of my research and for enabling me the opportunity to represent the University of La Verne abroad.”

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