Momentous news reached the Middlesex campus on September 20, when the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation named 22 new MacArthur Fellows for 2011. Working across a broad spectrum of endeavors, the Fellows included an architect, a sports medicine researcher, a cellist, a developmental biologist, a radio producer, a neurologist, a conservator, a poet, a technologist – and a public historian, who just happens to be Tiya Miles ’88, Middlesex’s first MacArthur Fellow.
Often referred to as a “genius grant,” a MacArthur Fellowship provides the recipient with $500,000 in no-strings-attached support over five years’ time. These Fellowships come without stipulations or reporting requirements and offer Fellows unprecedented freedom and opportunity to reflect, create, and explore. The unusual level of independence afforded to Fellows underscores the spirit of freedom intrinsic to creative endeavors.
A professor in the department of history and professor and chair of the department of Afroamerican and African studies at the University of Michigan, Tiya is a public historian who explores the complex interrelationships between African and Cherokee people living and working in colonial America.