VCFA MFA in Writing alumnx Dr. Claudia Ford (W ‘20) was awarded in early 2024 a Fulbright Scholar award from the distinguished Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program. Through this coveted program, Fulbright offers opportunities for U.S. citizens to go abroad annually to conduct research, teach, and pursue professional projects.

MFA in Writing alumnx Dr. Claudia Ford—a professor and chair of the department of Environmental Studies at State University of New York, Potsdam; a Fellow of the Panel on Planetary Thinking at Justus Liebig University, Giessen, Germany; and a Distinguished Visiting Faculty at the University at Buffalo—received the Fulbright Scholar award for faculty 2024-25: Austria. Dr. Ford will be teaching environmental literature in the American Studies department of the University of Klagenfurt.

This is what Dr. Ford had to say about her appreciation for teaching environmental literature, and the specifications of her Fulbright opportunity: 

Dr. Claudia Ford headshot

“One of my favorite courses teaches environmental literature from a dual focus of gender and environmental justice. We examine the novels of women authors from Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and Asian American communities that have significant gendered environmental and social justice themes—like farmworker justice, genetically modified crops and ag justice, immigration, Indigenous sovereignty, and others. Authors have included Leslie Marmon Silko, Louise Erdrich, Barbara Neely, Toni Cade Bambara, Jesmyn Ward, Ruth Ozeki, Karen Tei Yamashita, and Helena Maria Viramontes.

The [Fulbright] award will support me to teach two upper division courses at the University of Klagenfurt Austria, in the American Studies Department. I will teach environmental justice and environmental literature. My interest in Austria as a match for this Fulbright project teaching American studies at the intersection of environmental and multicultural issues, is twofold. First, I am interested in Austria’s influence on the global environmental policy stage, and next, I am drawn to a unique opportunity to continue contemporary discussions of global human diversity, especially the sovereignty and upliftment of American Black and Indigenous communities.  Given the history and commitment of Austrian policy on environmental and human rights I believe Austrian students and scholars will welcome these discussions about America, just as I will be poised to understand much more of Austria and Europe from having these discussions within the Austrian context. 

It is a great honor as an educator and as a writer to receive this award.” 

In addition to this recent award, Dr. Ford was awarded from 2022 to 2024 an artist/scholar residency as a fellow of the Panel on Planetary Thinking JLU, Germany; a research grant for a book: Grandmother Epistemology: Black Ecological Wisdom; and a research fellowship at University at Buffalo, Distinguished Visiting Faculty.

Learn more about VCFA alumnx Dr. Claudia Ford, her book in progress, and her upcoming projects and work here

Read more stories and news about our alumnx through our Alumnx Stories series. Interested in an MFA in Writing? Visit our program page for more information on our VCFA graduate degrees.