Montana State University

Fulbright allows MSU's Kollin to take the Western to the Middle East

April 19, 2007


Susan Kollin, an MSU English professor specializing in film and literature of the American West, has won a Fulbright to teach in Egypt next year. MSU photo by Jay Thane.   High-Res Available

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Susan Kollin, a Montana State University English professor who specializes in the literature of the American West, will have a Middle Eastern perspective next year as she spends a year as a Fulbright Faculty Scholar in Cairo.

Kollin received the Fulbright Fellowship to teach at American University in Cairo. She and her family, including husband Dan Flory, an MSU philosophy professor, plan to live in Cairo's suburbs.

It is not as much of a departure as might be expected for the award-winning professor who writes about the film and literature of the American West. Kollin has also worked to develop curriculum for a group of Middle Eastern students who study each summer at Montana State University. Kollin said her work as the academic co-director (with fellow English professor Robert Bennett) of the MSU Middle Eastern Partnership Initiative made her think about living and working abroad for a year.

"I've enjoyed teaching the (MEPI) students and (the year in Cairo) will help me learn more about how Americans in the world are perceived as well as how the literature of the American West is perceived elsewhere," said Kollin, who is currently writing about the travels of Western novel and film outside the U.S.

Kollin said that she plans to use her one-year Middle Eastern perspective in her research about the origins of the Western.

"Critics often think (the Western is) a genre that's original to the U.S. but I want to challenge that assumption," Kollin said.

Kollin said she applied for the prestigious fellowship at the American University in Cairo because the Egyptian city is a media center for the region. Coincidently, after she applied for the Fulbright her work with MEPI took her to a conference in Cairo where she visited American University and met the local director of the Fulbright program.

Kollin, also a specialist in feminist studies, plans to do outreach to communities in the country.

"I think the experience will make me a better scholar and teacher," she said.
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Susan Kollin (406) 994-5184, kollin@english.montana.edu