By Amy Matzke-Fawcett

An Old Dominion University communication and theatre arts assistant professor has been named as a 2021 Mellon Emerging Faculty Leader for the upcoming school year.

Allison Page was chosen as one of 11 awardees after a competitive interviewing process, according to a news release from the Institute for Citizens & Scholars, which awards the fellowship.

The fellowship application has been on Page's calendar for a couple of years - literally. She first heard about it from her dissertation advisor at the University of Minnesota, but it is only available to faculty who have passed their third-year review. So Page put a reminder on her calendar to apply and went through the process this year.

"I felt excited about the mission of the organization, and I felt it was a good fit for what I work on as a scholar, a faculty member and a teacher," Page said. "I'm thrilled to be part of a class of fellows doing similar research with a shared commitment to diversifying academia."

That emphasis of the fellowship fits with Page's work on race and social justice. According to the news release, the awards "support junior faculty whose research focuses on contemporary American history, politics, culture and society, and who are committed to the creation of an inclusive campus community for underrepresented students and scholars."

She will use the fellowship to start her next book, "The Cultural Politics of Policing," which will contextualize the history of race, policing and media technologies. Page will use the fellowship funds to undertake archival research at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture and John Jay College of Criminal Justice archives, both in New York City. She plans to focus this work on how highly surveilled communities resisted the emergence of high-tech policing during the 1960s and '70s.

Her first book, "Media and the Affective Life of Slavery," is due out in January 2022. That book, which builds off her dissertation, examines portrayals of slavery in U.S. media from the 1960s to the present, and black feminist response to those portrayals. It helped influence her second book.

Avi Santo, associate professor and chair of the Department of Communications and Theatre Arts, noted that Page has earned various accolades over her four years at the University, including the 2020 Joel S. Lewis Award for Mentoring in the College of Arts and Letters and a Diversity Champion Award. Page has also been a panelist on discussions about hiring diverse faculty and leads the department's diversity committee.

"Dr. Page has proven herself to be an extraordinary contributor to both programs whose scholarly acumen has been matched only by her generosity in sharing knowledge and research opportunities with our students," Santo said. "She is truly an exemplary colleague, scholar and educator. This is plainly evident even without her receiving a 2021 Mellon Emerging Faculty Leaders Award, but without doubt, her receiving this recognition has truly been earned."

Page joins scholars from Georgetown University, Boston College, Pennsylvania State University, Loyola University and Brown University, among others, in the fellowship.

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