Professor David Alvarez, Associate Professor of English and Director of DePauw’s Global Studies Fellows Program, has been honored with the prestigious Fulbright Award for the academic year 2024-2025. He is set to embark on a semester-long tenure at Ghent University in Belgium, where he will impart his expertise through seminars focusing on his primary areas of research, which include 18th-century literature and religious tolerance.

The DePauw had the opportunity to interview Professor David Alvarez about this award.

TDP: What will you do during the semester-long tenure at Ghent University?

Prof. Alvarez: This Fulbright award is a combination of research and teaching. For the first three months, I'll be finishing up a book on "Imagining Global Religion: Religious Toleration and Empire in the English Enlightenment.” Then I will continue research for a seminar course I will be teaching at Ghent University on "Staging World Religions: Constructing the Secular in Restoration Drama.” I'll also be giving guest lectures at the University and elsewhere. When I come back to DePauw, I'll be offering a version of this same course and continuing my research on it for my next book.

TDP: What motivated your decision to go to Belgium?

Prof. Alvarez: At Ghent University in Belgium, I'll be able to benefit from the expertise of scholars with similar interests. My focus on the history of religious toleration in Europe remains relevant: my hope is that a fresh look at the past, however modest, can offer lessons about religious toleration that can offer guidance for present dilemmas. I was inspired to select Ghent University by an invitation from Andrew Bricker, who works there as Section Head of English Literature and Associate Professor in the Department of Literary Studies. We have a shared interest in eighteenth-century satire, and at an academic conference we attended together before COVID-19, he suggested that I would find at his institution a vibrant scholarly community that would be especially congenial to my work.  I have never been to Belgium before and I'm looking forward to learning more about its history and people–and a little Dutch!

TDP: How will this experience connect to your teaching and research at DePauw?

Prof. Alvarez: When I return, I plan to teach the course that I'll be developing at Ghent University as part of my research there. While in Belgium, I'll be working with the University and other institutions to develop academic exchanges and collaborative research projects for students and faculty. As the director of DePauw’s new Global Studies Fellows Program, I have learned how eager our students are to study abroad. Belgium, as the seat of the European Union, is an important place for making such connections.  

Professor Alvarez has been selected as a Fulbright Scholar for the second time in his career. During the spring semester of 2009, he conducted academic research at the University of Delhi in India.