Ena Selimović wins ACLS Emerging Voices Fellowship

Ena Selimović

Recent Washington University doctoral graduate Ena Selimović has been awarded an Emerging Voices Fellowship, a program from the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) that supports recent PhDs in the humanities and humanistic social sciences. Specifically, the Emerging Voices Fellowship seeks to identify and assist a vanguard of scholars whose voices, perspectives and broad visions will strengthen institutions of higher education and humanistic disciplines in the years to come. Selimović is one of 48 new Emerging Voices Fellows for 2021.

Selimović will spend her fellowship year, beginning September 1, 2021, as an associate research scholar in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures and in the Program in American Studies at Yale University. She will conduct her work under the mentorship of Kathryn Lofton, the Lex Hixon Professor of Religious Studies and American Studies, Professor of History and Divinity, and Dean of the Humanities Division for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.

Selimović, who earned her PhD in comparative literature in 2021, is excited to continue work on a project she terms a “translation” of her dissertation, “Forms of Foreignness: The Racialization of Language in Contemporary Diasporic American Literatures,” which places 20th- and 21st-century diasporic American literatures and languages in dialogue with Balkan inter-imperiality and multilingualism. It’s an effort encouraged by her dissertation supervisor, Anca Parvulescu, professor of comparative literature, English, and the Interdisciplinary Project in the Humanities, who instilled the conviction that a dissertation should offer something to anyone who reads it.

Selimović envisions her illustrated collection of short essays, M is for Migration, as a translation of sorts of her dissertation on the language of migration politics.

“As a parallel project while finishing my doctoral work, I began writing M is for Migration, a partially illustrated alphabetized collection of short essays on the language of migration politics,” said Selimović. “I delve into the etymology and historical usage of terms like alien, barbarian, chain migration, and terrorist, analyzing how they surface in a wide variety of contemporary sources. The dictionary provides a form that is illusively simple and transparent. At its heart, M is for Migration shows how entangled racialization is in our everyday language.”

She will also continue translating prose fiction and nonfiction from Bosnian/Croatian/Montenegrin/Serbian into English as a member of Turkoslavia, a collective of literary translators working from Turkic and Slavic languages. She recently completed a sample translation of Djurdja Knežević’s novel Vanilla Ice Cream and would be thrilled at the opportunity to translate more of it. Her ongoing hope is that Maša Kolanović’s short story collection Dear Pests and Other Chilling Stories (which she co-translated with Vlad Beronja) and novel Underground Barbie will find homes with an English-language publisher. One of the short stories — titled “Unending” — appeared in the Summer 2021 issue of Asymptote, illustrated by Vladimír Holina.

Washington University nominated Selimović for the ACLS Emerging Voices fellowship through a competitive process coordinated by the Center for the Humanities.