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Art History professor Michael Leja and Annenberg visiting scholar Don Mitchell were recently awarded fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation.

This year, more than 2,600 applicants applied for the fellowship, which provides grant money to scholars, artists and writers conducting research in over 75 diverse fields of study.

"I consider myself very lucky," said Leja. He will use the fellowship money to fund a research project on early photography that focuses on the development of artistic traditions and how social relations have changed as a result of photographs.

"We now live in a world that's filled with pictures, and I'm interested in the beginning of that," he said.

He added that the period he was studying - the mid-19th century - was a "watershed moment for the visual environment that we live in now."

Mitchell, who teaches in the Annenberg Scholars Program in Culture and Communication, is studying labor relations and the working class as well as cultural theories in Marxism and geography. He said he will put the money toward his current project, "Bracero: Remaking the California Landscape, 1942-1964."

"We're very proud of Don Mitchell for this achievement, and are especially happy it occurred during his tenure with Annenberg," Dean Michael Carpini said in a press release.

Penn President Amy Gutmann added that the Guggenheim fellowships follow in the tradition of "Penn professors doing extraordinary research in their fields."

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