With bachelor’s degrees in history and theatre arts already under his belt, University of Mississippi alumnus Kenneth Lane Jones is on his way to Great Britain as a 2009-10 Fulbright Scholar.
Jones, a native of Water Valley who graduated from UM in 2007, will pursue a graduate certificate program in museum studies at Leicester University. The Fulbright Scholarship will support his research on the little-known history of Britain’s Channel Islands, which German forces occupied during World War II.
“I only recently learned that British soil had been occupied at all,” Jones said. “Those islands were occupied longer than Poland and France, but most people don’t know about it. So I’ll be looking at how that experience was memorialized and remembered.”
Jones has an unusual academic pedigree. Besides majors in history and theatre arts, he earned minors in gender studies and English.
“It was always difficult for me to set my sights on just one (academic discipline),” he said. “I’m interested in a lot of things. How do you choose one over the other?”
Mary Carruth, director of the Sarah Isom Center for Women and Gender Studies, said Jones’ background makes him “a truly interdisciplinary scholar.”
“Ken is very adept at articulating and making connections between different disciplines,” Carruth said. “He has an appetite for learning and traveling, for immersing himself in other languages and cultures. He will represent the U.S. and UM very well.”
Debra Young, associate dean of the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College who helped Jones coordinate his Fulbright application, agrees.
“Having worked with Ken on his application, I’m delighted to say that his activities in theatre and history certainly supported his candidacy,” Young said. “Fulbright was able to see someone who was both serious about his work and enthusiastic about opportunities to engage with the public in various ways.”
Jones took several classes under Sheila Skemp and Susan Grayzel, both history professors who teach gender studies through the Isom Center. With guidance from Carruth, Young, Skemp and Grayzel, Jones also holds the distinction of being the first male to earn a minor in gender studies.
“It’s an enormous testament to the attention, teaching and mentorship that the Isom Center provides,” Carruth said.
Jones leaves Sept. 19 for England. He will keep his family and friends informed and entertained about his experiences through travelogues to be published in the Oxford Eagle.
The Fulbright Program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and was established in 1946 under legislation introduced by the late senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas. It operates in more than 150 countries across the globe and supports building mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the rest of the world. The scholarships fund one year of study or teaching for each of the scholars. Scholars are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement as well as on demonstrated leadership potential in their fields.