Apr 11, 2023

Dear colleagues,

I am pleased to share that Roland Betancourt and Héctor Tobar have been awarded 2023 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowships. Professors Betancourt and Tobar join 171 other American and Canadian scientists and scholars in the social sciences and humanities, as well as writers and artists of all kinds, in receiving these prestigious grants. With these two new awards, UC Irvine now has 58 Guggenheim Fellows from a variety of backgrounds and fields of study.

Roland Betancourt, Professor of Art History, will use his grant in fine arts research to support his project “Queer, Byzantine: Camp, Excess, Aesthetics,” which will result in a book that looks at the ways in which queer artists and authors have deployed the art and culture of the Byzantine Empire across the 20th and 21st century. An expert on the Byzantine Empire, Professor Betancourt’s work examines art, liturgy and theology, with an interest in issues of sexuality, gender identity and race. He also looks at the uses of the medieval past in the modern world, from its representations in art and popular culture to its abuses by white supremacists.

Héctor Tobar, Professor of Chicano/Latino Studies and English, will use his Guggenheim grant in fiction to support “The Los Angeles Novellas,” a project that will include a series of novellas about the history of the Los Angeles metropolitan area and about its future. Professor Tobar has authored six books published in 15 languages, including the critically acclaimed New York Times bestseller Deep Down Dark: The Untold Stories of 33 Men Buried in a Chilean Mine and the Miracle That Set Them Free.

Please join me in congratulating Professors Betancourt and Tobar on this achievement.


Hal Stern
Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor