2012-2013 Luce Scholar

Abigail Seldin is currently pursuing a DPhil in social anthropology at the University of Oxford on a Rhodes scholarship. Seldin recently spent the 2011 calendar year in Albuquerque pursuing ethnographic study of a new fringe religious movement in the American Southwest and their heritage claims. Prior to Oxford, Seldin graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Pennsylvania with an MSc and BA in anthropology (simultaneous award) in May 2009. While in Philadelphia, Seldin pursued a three-year fieldwork project with a group of Lenape Native Americans who had been maintaining their heritage in secret for the previous two centuries. This work resulted in the three-year gallery exhibition “Fulfilling a Prophecy: The Past and Present of the Lenape in Pennsylvania” at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. Co-curated by Seldin and the Chief of the Lenape Nation of Pennsylvania, the exhibition is the first to be co-curated by Native people at the Penn Museum, and one of the first such curatorial collaborations in the United States. The exhibition’s popularity prompted the Penn Museum to extend its initial twelve month run by two years before redeveloping it as a traveling exhibition. “Fulfilling a Prophecy” garnered significant press across local, national, and international markets, yielding more than 23 million impressions. As a direct result of the exhibition, the Lenape Nation has enjoyed heightened visibility and an increased number of partnerships, including recognition in the Charter of the United Nations.