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Grant programs:Public Scholars*
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FZ-279701-21

Samuel M. Lebovic
George Mason University (Fairfax, VA 22030-4444)
A History of the Espionage Act

Research and writing of a book on the history of the Espionage Act (1917-present).

This book will provide the first history of the Espionage Act over the course of its life, using the century-long evolution of this controversial law to explore the challenges that state secrecy poses to democratic life. Based on new research, it argues that the institutional and legal apparatus for securing national security secrets emerged in a piecemeal, improvised fashion over the course of many decades. In a narrative that unfolds through infamous espionage trials, paranoia about foreign infiltration, scandalous abuses by the national security state, and controversial leaks and whistleblowers, the book shows that history has bequeathed to us a broken secrecy regime, one that classifies too much information, with serious consequences for democratic accountability, public discourse, and the freedom of the press.

Project fields:
Legal History; Political History; U.S. History

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2022 – 12/31/2022


FZ-279952-21

Lance Richardson
Unaffiliated Independent Scholar
A Biography of the American Writer and Naturalist Peter Matthiessen (1927-2014)

A biography of American writer and naturalist Peter Matthiessen (1927–2014).

True Nature will be the first comprehensive biography of the American writer, naturalist, and Zen roshi, Peter Matthiessen. A member of what William Styron once called “the silent generation”—a cohort that also included Truman Capote and Norman Mailer—Matthiessen has not received the same critical attention as many of his peers despite the scope of his achievements. In an extraordinarily diverse career, he wrangled with many of the most critical issues of the last century, from environmental degradation to civil rights. Though a novelist at heart, he wrote one of the earliest works of the modern environmental movement and major examples of advocacy journalism concerning Cesar Chavez and Native Americans. He was also co-founder of The Paris Review while undercover for the CIA. True Nature documents his lifelong journey (his “pilgrimage”) to illustrate the evolution of a sensibility—a kind of ecological consciousness that combined science and spirituality, empiricism and intuition.

Project fields:
American Literature

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2021 – 8/31/2022


FZ-279968-21

Robin Bernstein
Harvard University (Cambridge, MA 02138-3800)
The Trials of William Freeman (1824-1847): A Story of Murder, Race, and America's First Industrial Prison

A history of incarceration in Auburn, New York through the story of William Freeman, convicted of a quadruple murder in 1846.

My book is a narrative history, based in archival research and intended for general readers, of a quadruple murder that occurred in 1846 in New York State. I use this event to revise the stories we tell about the origins of prison for profit—and subsequently the roots of anti-Black racism. Well-known scholars argue that the American prison industry developed as a Southern effort to re-install slavery after the Civil War. In contrast, I show how the antebellum North originated for-profit convict labor (a fact that previous scholars acknowledge but have not communicated effectively to the public). This fact matters because the Northern mode of convict labor led to distinctive forms of racism: ones based in liberal reform, modern manufacturing, and even abolitionism. By narrating the life of one Black man, his family, and his city, my book restores the antebellum North to the stories we tell about profit-driven incarceration and racism—thus changing what we know about each.

Project fields:
African American History; American Studies; Cultural History

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2021 – 8/31/2022


FZ-280011-21

Audrey Truschke
Rutgers University, Newark (Newark, NJ 07104-3010)
Indian Pasts (A History of India)

Research and writing of a book on the history of South Asia from 2600 BCE to the early 2020s, highlighting India's dynamic religious and cultural changes.

I propose to write a single volume history of India that spans 4,600 years of known human history on the subcontinent. The book will proceed roughly chronologically, covering some of the major social, political, religious, intellectual, and cultural developments in ancient, early modern, colonial, and independent South Asia. Several threads will tie the book together, including religious and political innovations, ecological change, an astonishing diversity of peoples and experiences, and connections between South Asia and other parts of the world. My goal is to change how people view India. I want them to see, not an inert place that stands out of time, but rather a dynamic, vibrant part of the history of human advancement, achievement, and change.

Project fields:
South Asian History

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2022 – 8/31/2023


FZ-280013-21

David M. Lubin
Wake Forest University (Winston-Salem, NC 27109-6000)
Ready for My Closeup: A Biography of "Sunset Boulevard"

Research and writing of a book on the background, making, and legacy of the movie Sunset Boulevard (1950).

Influential films, like influential people, deserve their own biographies, and few films have been as influential as Sunset Boulevard (1950). Charting the movie's origins, making, and legacy, this will be the first book to examine in depth the cultural, historical, and aesthetic significance of a remarkable motion picture about human vanity and fear of aging. Director Billy Wilder, an Austrian-Jewish émigré to Hollywood, brought his cynical, Old World sensibility to the project, but its greatness can’t be laid exclusively at his feet, for his artistic collaborators were also at the peak of their creative powers. Relying on letters, diaries, published and unpublished papers, interviews with surviving family members, and extensive viewing of the films these Hollywood professionals made both before and after Sunset Boulevard, this book will show how a dark and bitter self-examination of the American film industry became one of that industry's crowning achievements.

Project fields:
Film History and Criticism

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2022 – 12/31/2022


FZ-280015-21

Henry D. Fetter
Unaffiliated Independent Scholar
The Nomination of Louis D. Brandeis to the Supreme Court in 1916: The First " Modern" Confirmation Battle

Research and writing of a book on the 1916 nomination of Louis D. Brandeis (1856-1941) to the United States Supreme Court.

My subject is the nomination (by President Woodrow Wilson) and confirmation in 1916 – after a four month long battle against some of the most powerful forces in American politics, business and law – of Louis D. Brandeis (1856-1941), the celebrated “People’s Attorney” and first Jewish Justice, to the Supreme Court. This is not only a dramatic story worth telling in its own right but, with hindsight, we can see that it was the first “modern’ Supreme Court confirmation battle, featuring protracted Senate hearings, a concerted attack on Brandeis’s character and ethics, and a heated public debate about the nominee’s political beliefs and fitness for a Court seat, with much of the opposition, Brandeis believed, due to antisemitism. Nominations to the Supreme Court have recently been, and will surely remain, a source of partisan controversy. My book can provide timely perspective on recent and future confirmation battles, as well as on the changing role of the Court over the past century.

Project fields:
Legal History; Political History

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2021 – 8/31/2022


FZ-280020-21

Karl Jacoby
Columbia University (New York, NY 10027-7922)
The War with Mexico and the Birth of the U.S.-Mexico Border, 1846-1924

Research and writing of a history of the Mexican-American War and its aftermath, 1846-1924.

My project reassesses the War with Mexico, with particular attention to the conflict's legacies for Indigenous peoples, ethnic Mexicans, and the creation of the U.S.-Mexico border. It is designed to be published in 2023, to commemorate the 175th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.

Project fields:
History, Other; Latino History; U.S. History

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$45,000 (approved)
$45,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2021 – 5/31/2022


FZ-280031-21

Miriam Udel
Emory University (Atlanta, GA 30322-1018)
Children's Literature and Modern Jewish Culture

Writing a book examining Jewish identity as constructed in Yiddish-language children’s literature. 

“Umbrella Sky: Children’s Literature and Modern Jewish Worldmaking” takes the aesthetically rich and historically indispensable corpus of nearly a thousand extant Yiddish children's books as a novel vantage point from which to observe key movements—political and geospatial—of Eastern European Jewry during the tumultuous early decades of the twentieth century. I extend theoretical reframings of childhood into the Yiddish-speaking sphere, foregrounding the role of children’s literature in the intertwined cultural renaissance and quest for social justice that animated secularist, interwar Jewish life. This project integrates a range of concerns, including a changing understanding of gender norms, child psychology, class consciousness and struggle, and the pursuit of racial justice. Focusing on broadly resonant motifs, themes, and nodes, this accessible book probes how writers and cultural leaders negotiated the tensions between traditional and emerging forms of Jewish identity.

Project fields:
Comparative Literature; Jewish Studies; Literature, Other

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2021 – 8/31/2022


FZ-280044-21

Carolyn Eileen Eastman
Virginia Commonwealth University (Richmond, VA 23284-9005)
A Plague in New York City: How the City Confronted--and Survived--the Yellow Fever Epidemic in the Founding Era

Research and writing of a book on the yellow fever epidemics of 1795 and 1798 in New York City, emphasizing the experience of doctors and other caregivers, including African Americans. 

This book scrutinizes the yellow fever epidemics that devastated New York during 1795 and 1798 by placing at its center the frontline medical and care workers who sought to help the sick. Building my research outward from the extraordinary diary of a young doctor who worked at Bellevue Hospital during both epidemics, I have reconstructed the lives of Black nurses both at Bellevue and in private practice, doctors and other medical workers who flooded in to the city from neighboring regions to help, and how all of these individuals rebuilt their lives and the city after each epidemic passed. Above all, I seek to make sense of this disease by focusing on the people who experienced it, particularly by tracing how it altered a political, urban, and medical environment, and how it changed a city and a generation.

Project fields:
History of Science; U.S. History; Urban History

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2022 – 6/30/2023


FZ-280052-21

Cassandra Alexis Good
Marymount University (Arlington, VA 22207-4299)
First Family: George Washington’s Heirs and the Making of America

Research and writing of a history of the heirs of George and Martha Washington between the American Revolution and the Civil War.

George Washington was more than the nation’s father; he was a surrogate father for Martha’s four grandchildren via her first marriage. The Custis grandchildren led remarkable lives that paralleled America’s story in its first century: military triumph and tragedy; democracy and old aristocratic ties; visions of liberty alongside the horrors of slavery. With lives stretching from the American Revolution to the eve of the Civil War, the Custises were celebrated figures that used George Washington’s legacy to weigh in on the nation’s political struggles. They deployed their ties to Washington as a source of power, both socially and politically. The Custises also put in conscious efforts to shape themselves as George Washington’s heirs, despite their lack of blood ties to him, revealing the ways family was constructed rather than natural. Their remarkable story offers new perspectives on the meaning of family and its role in American political life.

Project fields:
Cultural History; U.S. History; Women's History

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$30,000 (approved)
$30,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2022 – 6/30/2022


FZ-280056-21

Julia Kohler Gaffield
Georgia State University (Atlanta, GA 30303-2538)
Jean-Jacques Dessalines (1758-1806) and the Haitian Revolution

Research and writing a history of Jean-Jacques Dessalines and the Haitian Revolution.

Jean-Jacques Dessalines was the abolitionist founding father of the most radical nation-state in the Age of Revolution. This biography neither venerates Dessalines nor condemns him. Instead, it offers a true account of his life and rule while emphasizing his global impact. Dessalines’s country prioritized freedom, equal citizenship, and Blackness—this directly exposed the fallacies of Enlightenment universalism and positioned race explicitly at the center of the world hierarchy that emerged in the nineteenth century and that remains relevant today. The man who proclaimed the Haitian Declaration of Independence does not currently fit comfortably in the popular US conception of a founding father. This book challenges that assumption by reevaluating the criteria by which a person qualifies as a “founding father” and I situate him amongst his contemporaries in the hemisphere to reveal his pragmatic strategy and his profound vision.

Project fields:
African American History; Latin American History; Military History

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2021 – 8/31/2022


FZ-280069-21

Seth Moglen
Lehigh University (Bethlehem, PA 18015-3027)
Bethlehem: American Utopia, American Tragedy

Research and writing of a book on Bethlehem, Pennsylvania since its founding in 1741 to the present.

My book explores the enduring contradiction between egalitarianism and domination in American life through a poetic, accessible and carefully researched exploration of one city: Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. The book traces the 280-year arc of the city’s history, revisiting iconic episodes and motifs in U.S. history and in the American popular imagination: the spiritual city on a hill built into the wilderness; the immigrant industrial metropolis, engine of American global power; the postindustrial crisis and its possible redemption by the glamor of casino capitalism. I demonstrate that aspirations for equality have been more vibrant, more varied in their origins, and more successfully implemented than most readers may imagine. At the same time, I trace the evolving structures of racial and gender hierarchy and economic exploitation that have constrained those aspirations. This book seeks to reinvigorate discussion about what equality has meant – and might yet mean – in the United States.

Project fields:
American Studies; Labor Relations; Urban Studies

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2021 – 8/31/2022


FZ-280071-21

Rebecca Louise Davis
University of Delaware (Newark, DE 19716-0099)
Sex in America: A History

Research and writing a narrative history on the social meanings attached to sexual behaviors in the U.S. from the colonial period to the present.   

If most people have some knowledge of sex, very few know its history. Sex in America will be the first single-volume history of sex in America published in over thirty years, a narrative history of sexuality for general readers. Sex in America spans five centuries in the region that became the United States. It introduces readers to a sexual past that is both familiar and strange by illuminating how the meanings people gave to sexual desires and behaviors changed over time. This project emphasizes the desires and experiences of diverse people of color, the history of gender fluidity, and the importance of sexuality to nation building. The book’s capacious scope permits readers to identify connections across topics, such as queer desires, sexual violence, reproductive labor, and erotic enticement. This book provides a history of sex whose importance transcends isolated experiences or identities, one that reveals contexts and conflicts at the heart of the American past.

Project fields:
Gender Studies; U.S. History; Women's History

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2022 – 12/31/2022


FZ-280126-21

Maya Jasanoff
Harvard University (Cambridge, MA 02138-3800)
Ancestors: Where Do We Come From and Why Do We Care?

Research and writing of a book on the social, cultural, and political meanings of ancestry in human history.

My project offers the first account of the social, cultural, and political meanings of ancestry in human history. Since antiquity, lineage has shaped power relations, material inheritance, legal rights, and that amorphous but meaningful thing we call “identity.” Ancestry itself, I argue, has an ancestry. Different ways of recording where we come from are layered onto one another. Genealogies capture the priorities of various kinship systems; laws codify privileges and exclusions based on lineage; and today’s sleek DNA kits deliver a record of ancestry anchored in biology, even as their results are interpreted in ways that rest on deep, if not always acknowledged, assumptions about status, race, ethnicity, and nationhood. Ranging from pre-history to the present, my book will describe how ancestry has operated in specific historical contexts, with the goal of explaining why, for whom, and in what ways lineage has been invested with power.

Project fields:
History, General

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2021 – 8/31/2022


FZ-280128-21

Rebecca L. Prime
Unaffiliated Independent Scholar
Uptight!: Race, Revolution, and the Most Dangerous Film of 1968

Completion of a book on the background, making, legacy, and historical significance of Uptight! (1968), a landmark movie directed by Jules Dassin that reflected racial tensions in America during the 1960s.

My book project, Uptight!: Race, Revolution, and the Most Dangerous Film of 1968, combines biography with the history of mid-twentieth century America to tell a compelling and still palpably resonant story about the struggle to make Uptight! (dir. Jules Dassin, 1968), the first feature film to address the Black Power movement and whose troubled production serves as a microcosm for the racial and political tensions of the time. The story of Uptight! unfolds against the backdrop of 1968, a watershed year for the civil rights movement, the Hollywood film industry, and American democracy. Drawing on original archival research, the book has a dramatic narrative arc, fascinating but historically neglected key characters, and presents a clear through line from 1968 to contemporary struggles over race and representation in the film and media industries.

Project fields:
American Studies; Cultural History; Film History and Criticism

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2021 – 8/31/2022


FZ-280132-21

Sheila Curran Bernard
University at Albany (Albany, NY 12222-0100)
"Bring Judgment Day": Reclaiming Lead Belly's Truths from Jim Crow's Lies

Research and writing of a book about blues performer Huddie Ledbetter (1889-1949), his interactions with music collectors John A. and Alan Lomax, and the racial and labor politics of the post-Reconstruction era.

A book intended for both trade and academic audiences, “Bring Judgment Day” challenges the accepted mythology surrounding legendary blues performer Huddie Ledbetter, aka Lead Belly (1889 -1949), much of it focused on his violent nature and criminal record. This narrative was shaped in the 1930s by white music collector John A. Lomax and his young son, Alan, and, as my research shows, masks a much deeper story. For the first time, "Bring Judgment Day" explores the Ledbetter legend in the context of post-Reconstruction southern racial and labor politics and a corrupt system of criminal justice and explores the ways in which the Lomaxes, aided by the northern press and emerging forms of mass media, built on prevailing stereotypes to market the performer in a way that falsified his past while obscuring the nation's own culpability.

Project fields:
African American History; U.S. History

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2021 – 8/31/2022


FZ-280152-21

Daniel Frick
Franklin and Marshall College (Lancaster, PA 17603-2827)
America's Contrarian Sage: Richard Nixon and the Invention of the Modern Post-Presidency

A history of President Richard Nixon’s post-presidency years (1974 to 1994).

Most observers view the period from Richard Nixon’s August 1974 resignation to his death in April 1994 as a mere postscript, of interest only for the question of whether the former president rehabilitated his legacy. America’s Contrarian Sage corrects this misperception. In fact, in the final two decades of his life, Richard Nixon invented the modern post-presidency. Having been forced to abandon his presidential designs for what he liked to call a “structure of [world] peace” solid enough to last for generations, Nixon dedicated himself to this unfinished work post-resignation. In the process, he fashioned a new, active public role for ex-presidents, a roadmap adapted with great success by those who followed him. Written not just for scholars, but for a general audience as well, America’s Contrarian Sage moves beyond the entrenched positions of Nixon critics and defenders to be the definitive history of Richard Nixon’s post-presidency.

Project fields:
Political History; U.S. History

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2022 – 12/31/2022


FZ-280168-21

Liesl Marie Olson
Newberry Library (Chicago, IL 60610-3380)
Eye to Eye: Friendship, Art, and Collaboration in Mid-Century America

Research and writing of a book about artistic collaboration between writers, dancers, artists, and art collectors in Chicago from the 1930s through the 1950s, including Gertrude Stein (1874-1946), Katherine Dunham (1909-2006), and Carlos Mérida (1891-1985).

"Eye to Eye" tells stories of artistic collaboration between writers Richard Wright and Gertrude Stein; dancer Ruth Page and sculptor Isamu Noguchi; curator Katharine Kuh and artist Carlos Mérida; and dancer Katherine Dunham and art collector Bernard Berenson. The idea behind the book is that the creation of new, often hybrid artistic forms requires a risk that is not just aesthetic but often very personal. By illuminating conversations, disagreements, impasses, and revisions, my aim is to tell the story of artistic process, the historical as well as intimate contingencies that shape the production of art, the physical and intellectual "work behind the work." The book focuses on the early 1930s through the 1950s, before the transformations of the women’s movement or the major social changes of the 1960s. During the economic strains of the Great Depression, the repressions of McCarthyism, and the violence of Jim Crow, what kinds of relationships could be equalitarian, reciprocal, equal?

Project fields:
Arts, General; Dance History and Criticism; Literature, General

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2022 – 8/31/2023


FZ-280194-21

Rhaina Cohen
Unaffiliated Independent Scholar
More Than Friends: What Platonic Partnerships Reveal About Family, Care, and Intimacy

Research and writing of a book on the changing role of platonic relationships and non-traditional family structures in the modern world.

This book will uncover the stories of people who have made an unconventional choice: to center their lives around friendship instead of marriage. Though friendships like these were condoned for centuries, today they defy standard categories and hierarchies for relationships. Despite the intensity and prevalence of this type of relationship, it has no widely agreed-upon name, nor social or legal recognition. Through vivid stories of platonic partnerships past and present, the book will demonstrate that these overlooked relationships can help us fundamentally reframe and expand our concepts of intimacy, partnership, caregiving, and family. This is an especially relevant endeavor at a time when marriage and the nuclear family are losing their force as the organizing frameworks for Americans’ lives. These friendships bring to the surface unquestioned assumptions that most people have—and that are enshrined in the law—about what types of relationships matter most.

Project fields:
Gender Studies; Social Sciences, General; U.S. History

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$45,000 (approved)
$45,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
12/1/2021 – 10/31/2022


FZ-280211-21

David Phillip Cline
San Diego State University (San Diego, CA 92182-0001)
The Last Great Trip to Nowhere: A True Story of the Brazilian Jungle and the Final Gasps of the Victorian Age of Exploration

Research and writing of a book on the Matto Grosso anthropological expedition to Brazil (1930-1931).

"The Last Great Trip" engagingly tells the previously unknown story of the 1930-31 Matto Grosso Expedition up the Paraguay River in Brazil. Following in the footsteps of Roosevelt, Fawcett, and other "explorers" of the region, a group of wealthy businessmen, odd-ball expatriates (including a Cossack captain and a Latvian jaguar hunter), inexperienced filmmakers, and bumbling academics attempt to film a "first contact" movie with the Bororo. Virtually everything goes wrong -- from the research canoe capsizing with a year's worth of specimens, to Portuguese-speaking "natives," to jaguars refusing to be caught, to a shipload of jungle animals that no zoo in America could afford during the Depression. Yet despite characters straight of a jungle pulp novel, the group manages to create the first ever film using sound synced in the field, and the story is ultimately a profound meditation on developing -- and conflicting -- ideas about otherness, indigeneity, colonialism, and modernity.

Project fields:
Cultural History; History, General; Latin American Studies

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
8/1/2022 – 7/31/2023


FZ-280212-21

Rachel Lucille Swarns
New York University (New York, NY 10012-1019)
The 272: The Story of the Enslaved Families who Fueled the Growth of Georgetown University and the Catholic Church

Writing an account of enslaved people sold by Maryland Jesuits in 1838 to support their college, now known as Georgetown University.

In 1838, the nation’s most prominent Jesuit priests sold 272 enslaved men, women and children in a desperate bid to raise money to ensure the survival of the only Catholic institution of higher learning of the time, the college we now know as Georgetown University. The priests were successful. The profits from the sale helped to save the college from financial ruin, allowing it to flourish and to develop into one of the nation’s elite universities. But that success came at a terrible cost. My book, which will be published by Random House in 2023, will tell the story of the people who were sold, and their descendants, and examine how slavery helped to fuel the growth of the university and the Catholic Church in the United States.

Project fields:
African American History; U.S. History

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$40,000 (approved)
$40,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2021 – 4/30/2022


FZ-280219-21

Laura J. Snyder
Unaffiliated Independent Scholar
Biography of Writer and Neurologist Oliver Sacks (1933-2015)

Research and writing of a biography of neurologist and author Oliver Sacks (1933-2015).

I am writing the first biography of Oliver Sacks (1933-2015), “the poet laureate of contemporary medicine,” whose bestselling works showed that the humanities—especially literature and philosophy—play a crucial role in medicine. His view that there is healing value in understanding and giving voice to a patient’s illness narrative revitalized the “case study” tradition and transformed medical practice. He revealed how philosophical explorations into the nature of consciousness inform neuroscience. And by highlighting his patients’ creativity, unique talents, and incredible valor in the face of their many challenges, Sacks sparked a cultural revolution, the “neurodiversity movement.” Sacks spent most of his career communicating literary methods, philosophical ideas, and medical research to a broad audience. Drawing on exclusive access to his vast personal archive, my biography of Sacks (under contract with Knopf) will be a work of public scholarship about the making of a public scholar.

Project fields:
British History; History and Philosophy of Science, Technology, and Medicine; U.S. History

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2021 – 8/31/2022


FZ-280223-21

Catherine Venable Moore
West Virginia Mine Wars Museum (Matewan, WV 25678-0764)
Disunion: West Virginia Coal Miners and America's Other Civil War

Research and writing of a history of labor activism in a West Virginia coal mining region between 1902 and 1921.

"Disunion" is a work of deeply-researched narrative nonfiction exploring the West Virginia Mine Wars, a twenty-year period of violent conflict when unionizing coal miners fought wealthy industrialists for their constitutional rights and the right to join a union. Culminating in the Battle of Blair Mountain in 1921, this conflict was one of the most dramatic struggles for civil rights that this country has known, but it is also one of the nation’s most obscure. "Disunion" traces the events that led to the Battle of Blair Mountain and briefly discusses how that history echoes forward into the present day. Along the way, it emphasizes the experiences of men and women of color, immigrants, and non-immigrant white women, arguing that these populations frequently fought on the front lines of these struggles, though they’ve so far received scant attention from historians. "Disunion" is currently under contract with Random House.

Project fields:
African American History; Labor History; Women's History

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2021 – 8/31/2022


FZ-280263-21

Micki McElya
University of Connecticut (Storrs, CT 06269-9000)
No More Miss America! How Protesting the 1968 Pageant Changed a Nation

Writing a narrative history of the 1968 Miss America pageant, a turning point in the women's movement. 

No More Miss America! How Protesting the 1968 Pageant Changed a Nation is a character-driven work of narrative history examining beauty, feminism, race, women’s rights, and politics in the twentieth-century U.S. through the events of the 1968 Miss America Pageant. Famously protested by women’s liberation activists, Miss America was also challenged that year by the first-ever Miss Black America Pageant, held on the same day and just a few blocks away in Atlantic City. No More Miss America! spotlights people and events often relegated to the margins of political history and popular accounts of the period and demonstrates the transformative effect of putting diverse women’s voices at the center of inquiry. It is under contract with Avid Reader Press, an imprint of Simon & Schuster.

Project fields:
American Studies; Political History; U.S. History

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2022 – 5/31/2023


FZ-280282-21

Beth Bailey
University of Kansas, Lawrence (Lawrence, KS 66045-7505)
The U.S. Army and "The Problem of Race" during the Vietnam Era

Research and writing of a history of race relations in the U.S. Army during the 1960s and 1970s. 

Today, institutions throughout the United States face renewed calls for racial justice. “The U.S. Army and ‘the Problem of Race’” looks to a previous era of racial conflict, arguing that we need to understand not only the demands of those who fought for change, but also the ways that major institutions incorporated, rejected, or struggled with those demands. Here, I examine the army’s attempts to manage “race” during the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, exploring the struggles that yielded military justice reform, limited acceptance of cultural symbols (Afros; the dap), race relations education, and affirmative action programs. I show that, despite systemic racism, individuals made a difference, and argue that the army’s “institutional logic”-- the collective force of the army’s culture, history, and tradition, its structure and organization, its avowed mission—determined, to a great extent, how those attempted solutions played out: what would most easily succeed; what would more likely fail.

Project fields:
Military History; U.S. History

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2021 – 8/31/2022


FZ-271119-20

Sara Bergen Franklin, PhD
New York University (New York, NY 10012-1019)
The Taste Maker: The Life and Work of Judith Jones, the 20th-Century Editor Who Changed the Way America Cooked, Ate, and Read

Research and writing leading to a biography of American cookbook and literary editor Judith Jones (1924–2017).

Judith Jones (1924 – 2017) is best known for “rescuing” Anne Frank’s diary from the Doubleday slush pile in postwar Paris, and her “discovery” of Julia Child in the late 1950s. But little else is known about Jones, who spend more than 50 years as senior editor at Knopf. The first woman editor hired to the firm, she spent decades nurturing such luminaries as novelists Anne Tyler and John Updike, and poets including Sharon Olds. She is also the progenitor of modern American food culture and media, responsible for redefining and elevating the cookbook form. In my book, Taste Maker (under contract with Signal Press), I present a narrative biography—the first on Jones (based, in part, on extensive oral history interviews I conducted with Jones in 2013, as well as on exclusive access to her personal archive)—examining her extraordinary life, and in so doing, parsing the role of women in American publishing, the under-documented role of editors in literature, and the “quiet power of cookbooks.”

Project fields:
Media Studies; U.S. History; Women's History

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2020 – 8/31/2021


FZ-271344-20

Christopher M. Bellitto
Kean University (Union, NJ 07083-7133)
Humility: A History of a Lost Virtue

Research and writing of a book on the idea of humility in world literature, religion, philosophy, mythology, and theater. 

My goal is to write an accessible history of humility to get a wide conversation going about how to recover a healthy sense of this virtue for our divided society. Research for this interdisciplinary project is complete due to two internal release-time grants at my institution. Primary and secondary texts included humility in ancient world literature; Jewish, Christian, and Muslim scriptures and sermons; eastern and western ethics and philosophy; mythology and theatre (Greeks through medieval morality plays); and Enlightenment and contemporary discussions on education in virtue and citizenship. I tracked how the virtue of humility came to be denigrated as the vice of humiliation. That misconception has often led to the dangers of hybris, arrogance, and narcissism, especially among decision makers in civic society, which dovetails with the NEH initiative, “A More Perfect Union.” Exploring the history of humility just might prove to be our path back to civility in public discourse.

Project fields:
Ethics; Intellectual History

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$35,000 (approved)
$32,500 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2021 – 12/31/2021


FZ-271363-20

Martha A. Sandweiss
Trustees of Princeton University (Princeton, NJ 08540-5228)
One 1868 Photograph and a Sprawling History of the American West

Research and writing of a book exploring the lives of the government officials and young Lakota child who appear in Alexander Gardner’s famous photo of the treaty signing at Ft. Laramie in 1868.

Focusing on a single photograph by Alexander Gardner, made during the peace treaty negotiations at Ft. Laramie in 1868, this book follows 8 figures into and out of the picture frame where, for a brief moment, their stories collide. The personal lives of a slave-holding Union general, an immigrant photographer, and a Lakota child, lead us to a newly complicated story about the U. S. West in the 19th century, as people across the continent faced similar challenges shaped by violence, slavery, and shifting ideas about American citizenship.

Project fields:
Art History and Criticism; Native American Studies; U.S. History

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$50,000 (approved)
$50,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2021 – 5/31/2022


FZ-271902-20

Matthew Delmont
Dartmouth College (Hanover, NH 03755-1808)
Half American: The Epic Story of African Americans Fighting World War II at Home and Abroad

Writing a history of the African American experience during the World War II era (1935-1948).

This book, under contract with Viking, aims to tell the definitive history of World War II from the African American perspective. For black Americans, the war was about not only America’s standing in the world but also about how much actual freedom would exist in the United States. Black troops were at Normandy, Iwo Jima, and the Battle of the Bulge. They fought bravely in combat, and they formed the backbone of the United States military’s supply effort, enabling the Allies to fight and win a global war. They did all of this while fighting in a segregated military. Black veterans returned from the war and kept fighting white supremacy at home, fueling the civil rights movement. This history is important because more than seventy years later the questions the war raised regarding race and democracy remain unanswered. This book tells this inspiring and troubling story of bravery and patriotism in the face of unfathomable racism.

Project fields:
African American History; U.S. History

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$60,000 (approved)
$54,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2020 – 8/31/2021


FZ-271916-20

Gary Krist
Unaffiliated Independent Scholar
The 1871 Murder Trial of Laura D. Fair and the End of Frontier-Era San Francisco

Research and writing leading to a book on the sensational murder trial of Laura D. Fair (1837-1919) and its impact on the city of San Francisco.   

The 1871 trial of Laura D. Fair for the murder of her longtime adulterous lover, A.P. Crittenden, was one of the most notorious and controversial court cases in American history. Centering on all-important social issues like the sanctity of the family, the significance of reputation, and the range of acceptable expressions of gender, the trial challenged long-held beliefs of an American populace still searching for moral consensus after the shattering divisiveness of civil war. And although the spectacle of the trial dominated front pages nationwide, its outcome was of critical importance to the city in which the drama played out—San Francisco, a still-adolescent metropolis in the 1870s, eager to shed its Gold Rush-era reputation as a raucous and untamed frontier town. My book will recount this story of surprisingly modern cultural conflicts and explore what it meant—both for a nation still scarred by war and for the rapidly growing city that hoped to take its rightful place in it.

Project fields:
U.S. History

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2020 – 8/31/2021


FZ-271922-20

Randall J. Fuller, PhD
University of Kansas, Lawrence (Lawrence, KS 66045-7505)
Bright Circle: Five Remarkable Women in the Age of Transcendentalism

A group biography of five female members of the American transcendentalist movement: Mary Moody Emerson (1774-1863), Elizabeth Palmer Peabody (1804-94), Sophia Hawthorne (1809-71), Lidian Jackson Emerson (1802-92), and Margaret Fuller (1810-50).

This will be the first full-length group biography of women transcendentalists. Recounting the lives and intellectual work of five compelling personalities--Mary Moody Emerson, Elizabeth Palmer Peabody, Sophia Hawthorne, Lidian Jackson Emerson, and Margaret Fuller--"Bright Circle" will be written for a broad audience of American literature and history buffs as well as for those interested in women who played a vital role in shaping our national culture. By tracing the biography of each woman, the book shows their connections to one another and how each explored the possibilities of feminine intellectual life. Unpublished letters and journals are used to reveal how these five women contributed to the first important literary and philosophical movement in the nation and, in the process, inaugurated a distinctively American form of feminism.

Project fields:
American Literature

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2020 – 8/31/2021


FZ-272046-20

Adam Plunkett
Unaffiliated Independent Scholar
Love and Need: A Biographical Essay on the Life and Work of American Poet Robert Frost (1874-1963)

Writing resulting in a critical biography of American poet Robert Frost (1874-1963).  

'Love and Need: A Biographical Essay on the Life and Work of Robert Frost' will be a book of biography and criticism, a story and an essay. My goal is at once to introduce Frost to readers unfamiliar with him and to contribute original ideas and research to our collective understanding of him. Specialist readers of the book will be able to note its divergences from prior biography and criticism, and readers approaching Frost for the first time will encounter a different poet and person from the one they would otherwise find. 'Love and Need' will be half biography and half criticism, with the revisionist biographical sections of the book setting the scene for a novel interpretation of Frost's achievement as a poet--one that shows it to be at once subtler and more accessible, more original and more indebted to tradition, more intimate and more revealing than scholars and critics have shown.

Project fields:
American Literature; Literature, General

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2020 – 8/31/2021


FZ-272052-20

Michael Satlow
Brown University (Providence, RI 02912-9100)
Seeking the Gods: The Spiritual Landscape of Late Antiquity

Writing a history of popular religious practice among Jews, Christians, and pagans in the eastern Mediterranean during Late Antiquity (c. 300-700 CE).

This book will bring to life the “spiritual landscape” of Late Antiquity shared by Jews, Christians, and "pagans" alike. While the elites of these emerging traditions were fighting about boundaries (and excoriating those who dared to cross them), most people in the eastern Mediterranean between the third and seventh centuries CE largely lived in the same conceptual world. This was a world, or landscape, with shared assumptions about the role that divine beings played in their lives and the practices and techniques that could be used to get these beings to help, even if these practices often had distinctive, superficial, markings of religious or ethnic identity. I will focus on the lived religion, the quotidian interactions between ordinary beings and supernatural agents, that was a pervasive and embedded part of everyone's life. Written in an accessible style, the argument is deeply relevant to our own modern attempt to see how religion can play an important and constructive role.

Project fields:
Ancient History; History of Religion; Jewish Studies

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2020 – 8/31/2021


FZ-272055-20

Anne Boyd Rioux
University of New Orleans (New Orleans, LA 70148-0001)
Kay Boyle's War: An American Witness to Europe’s Darkest Hours, 1933-1953

Writing of a biography of Kay Boyle (1902-1992), American intellectual and novelist.

The American writer Kay Boyle was one of the twentieth century’s most important observers of European fascism. Unfortunately, her life and work have been nearly lost to us. Her novels and short stories written for the New Yorker, Harper's, and others, two of which won the O. Henry Award for the best story of the year, take us beyond objective history and into the experiences of those who were its victims. Only two book-length studies of her life and work have been published, in 1986 and 1994. Both are out of print and neither had the benefit of important archives now available, nor the sense of urgency that demands a reevaluation of Boyle’s crusade against fascism. The book I plan to write for a general audience will tell the story of fascism’s impact on her life and recognize her considerable contributions to anti-fascist literature, international modernism, and conversations about the role of literature in social and political life.

Project fields:
American Literature

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2021 – 6/30/2022


FZ-272061-20

Renata Nicole Keller
University of Nevada, Reno (Reno, NV 89557-0001)
Nuclear Reactions: The Cuban Missile Crisis and Cold War in Latin America

Writing of a history of the Cuban Missile Crisis from Latin American perspectives.

Nuclear Reactions is a hemispheric history of the Cuban Missile Crisis. It argues that this event was critical to shaping Latin American history and that, in turn, Latin America was critical to the global history of the crisis. Faced with the threat of nuclear war, Latin American politicians, military officers, and citizens seized active roles in the crisis, and their reactions had important results. Few histories of the missile crisis look beyond the United States, the Soviet Union, and Cuba, and no histories of Latin America analyze the wider impact of the crisis. This project draws on archival sources from across the Americas, the records of international organizations like the United Nations and the Organization of American States, and the cultural productions of diverse Latin Americans to determine the impact of the Cuban Missile Crisis on Latin America and uncover the ways that Latin American governments and individuals shaped the outcome of the crisis.

Project fields:
Latin American History; U.S. History

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2021 – 8/31/2022


FZ-272064-20

Michelle Tien King
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (Chapel Hill, NC 27599-1350)
Chop Fry Watch Learn: How Taiwanese Chef Fu Pei-mei (1931-2004) Reinvented Chinese Cooking for a Television Generation

Research and writing for a cultural and social history of postwar Taiwan, told through the life of the cookbook author and television personality Fu Pei-mei (1931-2004).

Chop Fry Watch Learn is a cultural and social history of postwar Taiwan, told through the life and career of Fu Pei-mei (1931-2004), cookbook author and television personality, often called the “Julia Child of Chinese Cooking.” Fu authored dozens of cookbooks and appeared as an instructor on television for four decades, beginning in 1962. Women in her generation, which included both housewives and career women, turned to Fu because she taught them how to cook an astounding range of unfamiliar Chinese regional dishes on their television sets, in ways their own mothers and grandmothers never could. As her fame grew, Fu and her cookbooks traveled beyond the borders of Taiwan, teaching the rest of the world how to cook Chinese food. Fu’s story offers a way to examine a much more personal and intimate set of concerns about food, family, gender roles, and cultural identity. This is not a story of timeless tradition, but of modern transformation—of self and family, of cuisine and society.

Project fields:
East Asian History; Immigration History; Women's History

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$60,000 (approved)
$57,500 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2021 – 12/31/2021


FZ-272068-20

Bruce Jay Weber
Unaffiliated Independent Scholar
American Novelist E.L. Doctorow (1931-2015): A Writing Life

Research and writing leading to a biography of American author E. L. Doctorow (1931-2015).

The first definitive biography of the celebrated American novelist E.L. Doctorow, author of "The Book of Daniel," "Ragtime," "Loon Lake," "World's Fair," "Billy Bathgate," "The March," "Homer & Langley" and a dozen other books.

Project fields:
American Literature; Literary Criticism

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2020 – 8/31/2021


FZ-272105-20

Maria Hsiuya Loh
CUNY Research Foundation, Hunter College (New York, NY 10065-5024)
Liquid Sky: Representations of the Early Modern Sky

Preparation of a book on the renderings and multiple meanings of the sky in European painting from the 14th to 16th centuries.

What did curious individuals see when they turned their eyes to the skies in a distant age before aeronautics and atmospheric physics, before the nine planets and their numerous moons were named, before the discovery of electricity and the invention of photography, and before heliocentrism and the spots on the moon were accepted as givens? How did early modern poets, theologians, and--above all--visual artists articulate their sense of wonder, hope, and anxiety before the ineffable spectacle of the celestial dome? Rather than focusing on the scientific sky of astronomers and physicists to come, Liquid Sky will explore the abstract, puzzling, and volatile sky--at once beautiful and devastating--in the period between Dante’s imagining of paradise and Galileo’s portrait of starry messengers. The project will consider the sky: as chaos and dialectic; as an extension of the artist’s palette; as a cause for wonder and for anxiety; as chromatic instability; and as a marker of time.

Project fields:
Art History and Criticism; Renaissance History

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
8/1/2021 – 7/31/2022


FZ-272129-20

Samantha Barbas
SUNY Research Foundation, University at Buffalo (Amherst, NY 14228-2577)
New York Times v. Sullivan: The Landmark Case that Shaped Politics and the Press As We Know It

Writing a book presenting a comprehensive history of the Supreme Court case New York Times v. Sullivan (1964), which established the current legal standard of libel against public officials.

In 1964 the Supreme Court decided New York Times v. Sullivan, holding that public officials cannot recover for libel unless they show “reckless disregard of the truth.” This requirement makes it near-impossible to win a libel suit. As a result, American libel law is the most protective of speech and least protective of reputation in the world. Sullivan is considered one of the great constitutional law opinions and the cornerstone of modern First Amendment law. Despite this, there has been little in-depth writing on it. This work presents the first comprehensive history of Sullivan. It takes the unorthodox position that the decision was not a clear civil liberties triumph but the product of institutional missteps–by the Times, the press, and the Supreme Court – that led to mixed consequences in the long term. Through a history of the case and its consequences, the work invites readers to consider whether revisions to the law may be necessary to protect free speech and civility.

Project fields:
Legal History; U.S. History

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$30,000 (approved)
$30,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2021 – 8/31/2021


FZ-272133-20

Avis Ann Berman
Unaffiliated Independent Scholar
A Biography of American Artist Roy Lichtenstein (1923-1997)

Preparation of a biography of American painter Roy Lichtenstein (1923-1997).

My project is the first biography of Roy Lichtenstein (1923-1997), one of the originators of Pop Art. Inspired by comic strips and advertisements, Lichtenstein’s punchy graphic style celebrated yet debunked the glorious dumbness of American things. He altered the course of modern art and how we see the world around us. No existing publication looks deeply into Lichtenstein's life and then consistently connects it with his work. An intelligently researched and elucidated biography, written in language accessible to the general reader, is needed to introduce new facts that will reveal the artist's early years of protracted struggle that lie below the myth of his supposedly facile fame. I will also portray Lichtenstein as a figure firmly in his time, experiencing situations common to other Americans by documenting his ancestors’ immigration and assimilation, his combat experience in World War II, his career as a teacher, and his role as a husband, father, and public man.

Project fields:
Art History and Criticism; Arts, General

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2020 – 8/31/2021


FZ-272140-20

Brooke Lindy Blower
Trustees of Boston University (Boston, MA 02215-1300)
American World Wars: Intimate Histories from the Crash of the Yankee Clipper

Completion of a book on the cultural, social, and political dimensions of World War II as seen through the lives of seven passengers aboard the Pan American Airways? Yankee Clipper when it crashed in 1943.

Combat GIs dominate studies of Americans abroad during World War II. But they constituted only a fraction of the millions of Americans stationed on six continents, in and out of uniform, during the global crisis. "American World Wars" tells a panoramic story of seven worldly noncombatants, their personal histories, their politics, and the paths that led them to all board the same Pan Am boat plane bound for Lisbon in February 1943. When the Yankee Clipper crashed in the Tagus River, it took five of their lives but left a paper trail that leads to a richer, deeper understanding of the cross-cutting political and ideological dimensions of Americans' war efforts.

Project fields:
Cultural History; Diplomatic History; U.S. History

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2021 – 6/30/2022


FZ-272163-20

Heghnar Watenpaugh, PhD
University of California, Davis (Davis, CA 95618-6153)
City of 1001 Churches: Architecture, Destruction, and Preservation at a World Heritage Site

Research and writing of a book on Ani, a medieval Armenian ghost city and UNESCO World Heritage Site.

My book project tells the global history of a place: the medieval ghost city of Ani, a UNESCO World Heritage Site on the border between Armenia and Turkey. Its ruins, celebrated as masterpieces of world architecture, have long been endangered. Over the last 150 years, Ani has been excavated and preserved by imperial powers, looted and destroyed by a nation-state during genocide, and recently declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Ani’s past of violence and destruction as well as its present as a focus of global cultural heritage raise critical questions about human rights and culture, the cultural rights of persecuted groups, and contemporary global heritage. The book aims at weaving these questions into a readable narrative of the ghost city that features the captivating personalities of the creators of its astonishing architecture, archaeologists, pilgrims, vandals, cultural heritage professionals and activists, as well as poets and artists – all drawn to this crossroads of history.

Project fields:
Art History and Criticism; Cultural History; Near and Middle Eastern History

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2021 – 6/30/2022


FZ-272181-20

Kimberly Chrisman-Campbell
Unaffiliated Independent Scholar
A Biography of American Fashion Designer Chester Weinberg (1930-1985)

Research and writing leading to a biography of American fashion designer Chester Weinberg (1930 – 1985).

This research constitutes the first scholarly study of the life and work of American fashion designer Chester Weinberg. A household name in the 1960s and 70s, Weinberg worked with seminal models, illustrators, photographers, and editors. He dressed socialites and celebrities in daring yet elegant clothes that remain collectible today. His radically minimalist homes and studios showcased his bold taste in contemporary art and interior design. Weinberg successfully overcame anti-Semitism and navigated changing social mores as well as changing hemlines, evolving from closeted homosexual to gay liberation activist. He embraced feminism, and he was among the first New York designers to employ African-American models. He established American sportswear as a serious rival to Parisian couture and trained many of today's leading designers. Personally and professionally, Weinberg embodied the evolution of Seventh Avenue. However, the stigma of his AIDS-related death has overshadowed his legacy.

Project fields:
Arts, Other; U.S. History; Women's History

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$45,000 (approved)
$45,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2020 – 5/31/2021


FZ-272198-20

Mary Lynne Murphy
University of Sussex (Brighton BN1 9QN England)
Small Words: What Words Such as "Be," "The," "Not," and "If" Reveal About Human Minds and Cultures

Completion of a book on the historical function and development of the English language's small words and what such words reveal about their speakers. 

Books about words often concentrate on the dialectal gems, the lost lexicons, the rare and peculiar species of the linguistic world. Our most common words are given scant attention, mumbled in speech and glossed over in reading. We notice the weighty nouns, verbs and adjectives, but miss the slippery mortar holding them together: 'be', 'the', 'not', 'if', 'and', ‘of’, ‘it’. But poke those small words, and each opens up a world of discovery into human minds and cultures. Take ‘the’, as just one example. How can it be the most frequent word in written English, when many of the world’s languages have no need of an equivalent? Why does it cause trouble for Bible translators? Why does it feel different when an American speaks of ‘the Mexicans’ rather than ‘Mexicans’? Why do English writers use it less each year? This book synthesizes research from across the humanities and social sciences, allowing the small words to tell stories about what it is to speak English and what it is to be human.

Project fields:
English; Interdisciplinary Studies, General; Linguistics

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$30,000 (approved)
$30,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2020 – 5/31/2021


FZ-272211-20

Rachel Kousser
CUNY Research Foundation, Graduate School and University Center (New York, NY 10016-4309)
The Last Years of Alexander the Great (330-323 BCE)

Research and writing of a book on the final years of Alexander the Great (356-323 BCE).

The Last Years of Alexander the Great (330-323 BCE) uses the story of the Macedonian king's neglected late career to convey a new, accessible narrative about the conquest of the Persian Empire as experienced by the conquered. It departs from previous biographies, more focused on Alexander's early successes and on the Greco-Roman literary sources, and examines instead his years of struggle in Afghanistan, Central Asia, Pakistan, and Iran, as he faced external rebellions and internal conspiracies in a brutal, unforgiving landscape. It also uses archaeological evidence—the concrete and vivid material traces of Alexander's journey—to complement and counter the elite ancient writers who give us only a classical perspective on his achievements, never a Persian one. In doing so, the book reframes the history of the first European empire in the Middle East.

Project fields:
Art History and Criticism; Classical History

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2021 – 5/31/2022


FZ-272244-20

Vincent Cannato, PhD
University of Massachusetts, Boston (Boston, MA 02125-3300)
Powerhouse: Francis Cardinal Spellman (1889-1967) and America's Catholic Cold War

Research and writing leading to a biography of Archbishop Francis Cardinal Spellman (1889–1967) and his influence on religion, politics, and American life.

This book project is a political biography of Francis Cardinal Spellman, who served as New York's Catholic Archbishop from 1939 to 1967. Spellman was the most powerful American Catholic figure in the nation’s history and a leading international figure during World War Two and the Cold War. His life was filled with controversy and intrigue, and his influence was felt from Rome to Washington, Wall Street to Hollywood and across American military bases and wartime battlegrounds around the world.

Project fields:
History of Religion; Political History; U.S. History

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2021 – 12/31/2021


FZ-272289-20

David Pettegrew
Messiah University (GRANTHAM, PA 17027-6601)
The Archaeology of the Early Christian World: History, Methods, Evidence

Research and writing for a book on the archaeological history of Early Christianity.

This project explains how archaeological approaches, practices, and evidence shape historical interpretations of the early Christian world. Scholars have often viewed archaeology as a tool for generating extraordinary discoveries to authenticate, challenge, or illustrate the histories and theologies of the early church. This work considers how the more common but less spectacular findings of archaeological field research, including ceramic assemblages, stratified deposits, and surface remains, are gradually changing our picture of the social and economic life of Christian communities of the ancient Mediterranean and Near East between the first and seventh centuries CE. In its emphasis on processes and practices, the book fills a gap in Anglophone scholarship for a critical explanation of the archaeology of this world religion and an accessible introduction to a subject often sensationalized in popular media.

Project fields:
Ancient History; Archaeology; History of Religion

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2021 – 12/31/2021


FZ-272292-20

Guy Placido Raffa
University of Texas, Austin (Austin, TX 78712-0100)
Dante's American Afterlife

Research and writing of a book on the influence of Italian poet Dante Alighieri (d. 1321) on American culture. 

This is the first public-oriented book entirely committed to the story of Dante’s American afterlife. It shows the deep and broad impact of the poet’s most famous afterworld on American culture as we approach the 700th anniversary of his death (2021). The consummate crossover work, Dante’s Inferno has sparked creative minds across the cultural spectrum, from Longfellow’s Civil War writings and Harry Lachman’s depression-era Inferno film to Matthew Weiner’s Mad Men TV series and popular fiction by Sylvain Reynard and Dan Brown. The book’s four parts examine the history and meaning of these and other works through the lens of Dante’s main American roles: citizen, showman, lover, and judge. The book’s brightest threads are the dangerous allure and ethical teaching of the Inferno that, often entwined, encourage and characterize responses to the poem. I enliven the prose with insights drawn from archival research and my involvement with the video game that featured my Inferno commentary.

[Grant products][Media coverage]

Project fields:
Cultural History; Italian Literature; U.S. History

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2020 – 8/31/2021


FZ-272316-20

Gregory E. O'Malley, PhD
University of California, Santa Cruz (Santa Cruz, CA 95064-1077)
The Escapes of David George (1743-1810): An Odyssey of Slavery and Freedom in the Revolutionary Era

Research and writing of a biography of David George (1743-1810), who was born a slave and whose pursuit of freedom intersects with major events of the Revolutionary Era.

The Escapes of David George offers a biography of a man born enslaved in Virginia, who ran away repeatedly—to backcountry settlements, to Native American communities, and finally to the British Army during the Revolutionary War. As a refugee, he then moved to Nova Scotia and finally to the British colony of Sierra Leone for emancipated slaves. Since George’s life spanned the revolutionary era, his story offers a counterpoint to the many biographies of America’s white founders. Instead of typical narratives about political freedom from British monarchy, George’s life presents a parallel quest for freedom from American slavery. To achieve his own independence, George fled the U.S. at its creation. As the NEH looks toward the 250th anniversary of American independence, David George offers a vantage point on the lines of exclusion that limited liberty in the new nation, while also providing an inspiring story of an enslaved man’s quest for the ideal that “all men are created equal.”

Project fields:
African American History; British History; U.S. History

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2021 – 6/30/2022


FZ-272347-20

Ian Denis Johnson
Unaffiliated Independent Scholar
Sparks: Writing China's Unofficial History

Research and writing leading to a book on how dissident writers, filmmakers, academics, and others in China work to document events suppressed in the official national history promoted by the Chinese Communist Party.

In China, few issues are as sensitive as history, which the Communist Party sees as the basis of its legitimacy--history, in its telling, chose it to lead China, resulting in today's rising superpower. But a group of persistent skeptics--professors, writers, and filmmakers--challenge this, much as groups like Memorial in the Soviet Union helped dig up the past and undermine one-party rule. In China, they document massacres, famines, and labor camps, using digital technologies to make documentary films, books, and samizdat magazines. Over the past decade, the Party has ushered in tight political control. And yet a core group inside China keeps at it, convinced it is their duty to document their country's history, and that one day—even if far off in the future--they will spark an awakening. Using carefully documented interviews and observations drawn from years of field work, I will use techniques of narrative non-fiction to show them evade police and censors to keep the past alive.

Project fields:
East Asian History; East Asian Studies; Intellectual History

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2020 – 8/31/2021


FZ-266572-19

Elizabeth Fenn
University of Colorado, Boulder (Boulder, CO 80302-7046)
Sacagawea's World: Window on the American West

Research and writing of a history of Native Americans in the Northern Plains and Rockies in the first half of the nineteenth century, structured around the life of Sacagawea, guide for the Lewis and Clark expedition.

Sacagawea’s World uses the signal events and contested dimensions of one Native American woman’s life to convey a new, accessible narrative of the Northern Plains, Northern Rockies, and Pacific Northwest to 1850. Sacagawea provided essential guidance to Lewis and Clark on their 1804–1806 trans-continental journey. But her life also illuminates a world in upheaval as Indigenous peoples engaged with global commerce, new modes of warfare, altered hunting patterns, environmental change, and ever-shifting power dynamics. How puzzling it is that despite Sacagawea’s renown, we know so little about the ways she and those around her experienced and engaged the world. I use a wide array of source material, including archaeology, rock art, landscape, oral accounts, legends, ethnographies, manuscripts, and a plethora of existing scholarship to bring this new narrative to life.

Project fields:
U.S. History

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2020 – 12/31/2020


FZ-266632-19

Steve Kemper
Unaffiliated Independent Scholar
Tokyo Mission: Ambassador Joseph C. Grew and the View from the U.S. Embassy in Japan, 1932-1942

Research and writing leading to the publication of a book about Joseph. C. Grew, who served as the U.S. ambassador to Japan from 1932 to 1942, and the events preceding Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941.

A book that focuses on the lead-up to the war with Japan from the perspective of the American who knew that country best at that time—Joseph C. Grew, the United States ambassador there from 1932 to 1942.

Project fields:
East Asian History; U.S. History

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2019 – 8/31/2020


FZ-266641-19

Elizabeth D. Samet
United States Military Academy (West Point, NY 10996)
The Nine Lives of Alexander the Great

Research and writing leading to publication of a book on Alexander the Great (356-323 BCE), as he has been interpreted in history and literature from antiquity to the present.

The Nine Lives of Alexander explores the many-sided myth of the man known as Alexander the Great. It departs from traditional representations of Alexander’s life as a tragic arc of derailed greatness to examine the condition of unceasing war to which he committed the known world. Whether biographies cast him as a philosopher-king or a monstrous destroyer, most turn on the question of greatness and measure his career against some idealized template of success. I attempt to subvert this narrative by tracing not that career but the versions of Alexander that materialize in unpredictable places within a range of cultures, contexts, and periods. Today, when the condition of war-without-end has become the norm, a deep antecedent can be found in Alexander’s vision.

Project fields:
Cultural History; Interdisciplinary Studies, General; Literature, General

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2019 – 8/31/2020


FZ-266824-19

Laura Teresa Murphy
Loyola University, New Orleans (New Orleans, LA 70118-6143)
Freedomville: The Story of a 21st-Century Labor Revolt in India

Research and writing leading to publication of a book documenting the after-effects of a 2002 labor revolt in Uttar Pradesh, India.

Freedomville tells the story of how a small group of impoverished, malnourished, and transgenerationally-enslaved men and women fought to liberate themselves from their overseers, wrest control of the rock quarry in which they worked, and become masters of their own fates. A closer look at Freedomville, however, also reveals that grassroots freedom struggles, compelling as they may be, are often haunted by the unsustainability of freedom in the current economy. Activists fight to maintain their grasp on freedom after liberation without the literal and figurative tools or the elite connections necessary to run their own businesses, develop their towns, and improve the opportunities available to their children. Employing in-depth interviews the people of Freedomville over the course of fourteen years, this book zooms in on the way local organizing efforts address the deep economic and cultural structures that make slavery possible.

[Grant products]

Project fields:
Anthropology; South Asian History; South Asian Studies

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2019 – 8/31/2020


FZ-266853-19

Elise Anne Friedland
George Washington University (Washington, DC 20052-0001)
Classical Washington: Greece and Rome in the Art and Architecture of DC

Research and writing leading to a book explaining the influence of classical Greek and Roman art and architecture on the urban plan, government buildings, and public art of Washington, D.C.

Architecturally and artistically, Washington, D.C. is a city like no other in the United States: an enormous, elongated dome dominates its skyline; a massive Doric temple, housing a colossal, seated “cult” statue of a former president, flanks its central greenspace; equestrian statues of military leaders inhabit many of its circular plazas. This book, Classical Washington, will immerse readers in a chronological survey of the development of the urban plan, governmental halls, and public art of 19th- and early 20th-century D.C. It will reveal the Greek and Roman models that our early nation’s architects and artists adopted and adapted, the sources via which those classical models crossed the Atlantic to the U.S., and the historical, political, and visual motives that resulted in the classical cityscape we inhabit today. At its core, the volume will address the role of public art and architecture in establishing the foundational legends, early history, and international stature of our nation.

[Grant products]

Project fields:
Art History and Criticism; Classics

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$50,000 (approved)
$50,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2020 – 6/30/2021


FZ-266854-19

Leigh Ann Wheeler
SUNY Research Foundation, Binghamton (Binghamton, NY 13902-4400)
A Biography of American Author and Civil Rights Activist Anne Moody (1940-2015)

Research and writing leading to a biography of Anne Moody (1940-2015), author of the Civil Rights Era memoir Coming of Age in Mississippi (1968).

This project will produce the first biography of Anne Moody, author of the most influential and beloved memoir of the Civil Rights Movement, Coming of Age in Mississippi (1968). All who read it wonder: What happened after Anne left Mississippi? My biography will unearth Anne’s family history, document and expand on her experiences as a child and civil rights activist, follow her to New York, Europe, and around the U.S., and return with her to Mississippi, where she died at 75 in 2015. In her 20s, Anne began to show signs of mental illness. She and her son survived on book royalties; sometimes they were homeless; sometimes Anne was institutionalized. My biography will assure that Anne gains her rightful place in American history and letters. It will also contribute to the urgent project of upending triumphalist narratives of the Civil Rights Movement, redrawing the arc of civil rights history, and forcing us to reconsider the costs exacted by racism and borne by those who resist it.

[Grant products]

Project fields:
African American History; U.S. History; Women's History

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2019 – 8/31/2020


FZ-266866-19

Marsha Gordon
North Carolina State University (Raleigh, NC 27695-7003)
Leftover Ladies: American Writer Ursula Parrott (1900-1957) and the Emergence of the Modern Woman

Writing of a book-length narrative on the life and works of the best-selling American author Ursula Parrott (1899-1957).

Leftover Ladies will utilize the forgotten life and writings of Ursula Parrott (1899-1957) as a jumping off point to explore the emergence of the idea of the modern working woman in 20th-century America. Famous during her lifetime, Parrott spent her career depicting divorcees, working women, and single mothers in fiction, nonfiction, interviews, and screenplays, drawing frankly from her own complicated marital life. Part biography, part pop cultural, legal, and economic history, Leftover Ladies is a long overdue, historically relevant, and timely study built around historical records—especially movies and popular magazines—and conveyed in an accessible, readable fashion. In the process of sharing the story of Parrott’s unusual life, the book will explore an understudied part of American cultural history regarding the legal and cultural status of divorce and its social and personal consequences involving women in the workplace during the first part of the 20th century.

[Grant products]

Project fields:
American Studies; Film History and Criticism; Women's History

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$60,000 (approved)
$55,500 (awarded)

Grant period:
5/1/2020 – 4/30/2021


FZ-266872-19

Erica Westly
Unaffiliated Independent Scholar
The History and Culture of Drowning in America

Research and writing leading to the publication of a book on the cultural history of drowning in the United States.

A general nonfiction book that uses modern-day and historical narratives, discussions of public health data, and literary analyses to illustrate how Americans drown and why. Accidental drownings are a significant public health problem in the U.S., killing nearly 4,000 Americans each year, most of them young. Drownings are also an old public health problem, with known solutions. Yet they are often misunderstood and overlooked.

Project fields:
Interdisciplinary Studies, General; U.S. History

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$40,000 (approved)
$40,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2019 – 4/30/2020


FZ-266874-19

Jane E. Calvert
University of Kentucky (Lexington, KY 40506-0001)
A Biography of John Dickinson (1732-1808)

Research and writing leading to a biography of the American statesman John Dickinson (1732-1808), known as the "Penman of the Revolution"

This will be the first full biography of founder John Dickinson, America's first international political celebrity and leader of the resistance to Britain. He wrote more documents for the Founding of the nation than any other figure and held more public offices in two states. With his belief in Quaker principles, he was also unique among the leaders of the generation in his advocacy of human rights. He freed all of his significant number of slaves during his lifetime, worked for abolition, and advocated rights for women, Native Americans, prisoners, the poor, and other subordinated peoples. Because his papers have not been published, no complete and accurate biography has been written But now his papers are being published and the first three volumes (to 1769) are near completion. This new biography, readable for the public and useful for scholars, will be based on this new wealth of never-before-used sources.

Project fields:
U.S. History

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2020 – 8/31/2021


FZ-266880-19

Jennifer Vanderbes
Unaffiliated Independent Scholar
THE GATEKEEPER: Dr. Frances Kelsey and the Unlikely Heroes Who Foiled the Greatest Pharmaceutical Scandal of the 20th Century

 Research and writing leading to a nonfiction book on the 1960s scandal surrounding the German-made sedative thalidomide, which has been linked to birth defects in some 10,000 babies worldwide.

I am writing a book (THE GATEKEEPER, under contract with Random House) about the thalidomide scandal of the 1960s, focusing on three American doctors, all women, who fought to keep the drug off the American market. The book is based on FDA documents, court records, various personal archives, and the first-ever interviews with American thalidomide survivors. Thalidomide was a German-made sedative that afflicted over 10,000 babies worldwide with a birth defect known as phocomelia--"seal limbs"--marking the largest drug catastrophe of the 20th century. My book will tell a high-stakes story with a ticking clock, filled with a variety of compelling personalities. A novelist by training, I intend to draw general readers into a narratively-rich world of doctor-heroes, interwoven with the history of pharmaceuticals, advertising, and the Food and Drug Administration.

Project fields:
American Government; History and Philosophy of Science, Technology, and Medicine; History, Other

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2019 – 8/31/2020


FZ-266889-19

Rosemarie Garland-Thomson
Emory University (Atlanta, GA 30322-1018)
How To Be Disabled: Shaping the Future for Everyone

Research and writing leading to a book on living with disability, drawing on concepts from the Western humanistic tradition such as freedom, dignity, liberation, and knowledge.

"How To Be Disabled" approaches the challenges and opportunities of living well and effectively with disabilities by summoning concepts from the Western humanistic tradition to address profound and complex questions we face about what it means to be human and how we live together. By explicating the recognizable and familiar concepts of freedom, vitality, dignity, kinship, liberation, being, and knowledge that guide our shared moral compasses in modern democratic societies, the book helps people understand how these underlying humanistic principles shape our participation in individual and communal decision making, liberal citizenship, healthcare ethics, and biomedical questions and practices.

Project fields:
Ethics; Interdisciplinary Studies, General

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2020 – 8/31/2021


FZ-266901-19

Theresa Runstedtler
American University (Washington, DC 20016-8200)
Black Ball: Rethinking the "Dark Ages" of Professional Basketball

Research and writing leading to a book for a popular audience on the history of race, labor, and the National Basketball Association (NBA) in the 1970s.

Playing on the multiple meanings of the expression “Black Ball,” my book recasts the history of the NBA’s “Dark Ages.” According to popular wisdom, the league’s waning profitability and popularity in the seventies was the fault of a new generation of immature, selfish, lazy, and greedy Black players who came to dominate the professional ranks. Only after white league executives and team owners regained control did the NBA rebound in the 1980s. However, the actual history is much more complicated. It is also more revealing about the ongoing significance of anti-Black racism in U.S. sport and society in the post-Civil Rights era. Combining narrative history and cultural analysis, Black Ball argues that the misnamed “Dark Ages” were pivotal years in the rise of the NBA as a profitable powerhouse, thanks largely to the efforts of Black players in fighting for greater compensation and control over their labor and in reshaping the game with aesthetics and ethics of urban Black streetball.

[Grant products]

Project fields:
African American History; African American Studies; Cultural History

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$45,000 (approved)
$45,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
12/1/2019 – 8/31/2020


FZ-266906-19

Alison Grace Macor
Unaffiliated Independent Scholar
The Best Years of Our Lives: The Forgotten Film that United a Postwar Nation

Research and writing leading to a book about the making of the film The Best Years of Our Lives (1946), veterans, and post-World War II American culture.

Decades before one in five veterans was being diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), a double amputee and two Hollywood idols starred in a 1946 blockbuster that boldly addressed the country’s “veterans problem.” William Wyler’s "The Best Years of Our Lives" broke new ground with its stark visuals and provocative story about three servicemen who struggle to return to their civilian lives, yet the film is only dimly remembered today. This narrative history examines "Best Years’" tumultuous journey from script to screen against the backdrop of a nation struggling to deal with its walking wounded. My project seeks to go beyond textual analysis to explore the making of this landmark film as a means to expand existing cinema studies scholarship. The Best Years of Our Lives: The Forgotten Film that United a Postwar Nation also examines how this Academy Award-winning film changed the national conversation about PTSD and how it can still influence the public discussion today.

Project fields:
Film History and Criticism; History, Criticism, and Theory of the Arts; U.S. History

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$30,000 (approved)
$30,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2019 – 2/29/2020


FZ-266940-19

Holly Brubach
Unaffiliated Independent Scholar
The Life of Ballerina Tanaquil Le Clercq (1929-2000), Wife of George Balanchine and Mid-Century Muse to New York Artists, Writers and Intellectuals

Research and writing leading to a biography of the American ballerina Tanaquil Le Clerc (1929-2000).

Research and writing leading to publication of TANAQUIL, the first biography of Tanaquil Le Clercq, whose charismatic beauty, attenuated legs, and bold attack presented George Balanchine with new movement possibilities, grafting European sophistication onto the scale, speed, and exuberance he loved in his adopted country. Like many women, she was the product of her mother's thwarted ambition. She served as inspiration for nearly every major choreographer of the time. Jerome Robbins was in love with her; she married Balanchine. At the century's midpoint, she became the 'It' girl for a group of writers and artists transforming the cultural landscape. In 1956, Le Clercq contracted polio on the New York City Ballet's tour of Europe. Confined to a wheelchair, she made a new life for herself. Though her position in history is secure, her story has never been told. TANAQUIL will portray her contribution in detail and introduce this remarkable woman to a broad audience of general readers.

Project fields:
Cultural History; Dance History and Criticism; Gender Studies

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2019 – 8/31/2020


FZ-266948-19

Peter Manseau
Unaffiliated Independent Scholar
A History of the Massachusetts Almshouse Scandal, 1854-1884

Writing leading to the publication of a book about the Tewksbury Massachusetts Almshouse Scandal, 1854-1884.

This book project tells the story of a state-run almshouse in Tewksbury, Massachusetts, which was founded for ostensibly charitable purposes in the middle of the nineteenth century, but soon became a symbol of public corruption, dark ambition, and good intentions gone disastrously awry. In this largely forgotten history, events that first became known as a local scandal of institutional mismanagement unexpectedly took on national significance, with lurid allegations of abuse by almshouse administrators finding their way into the U.S. presidential election of 1884. This book uses a sensational story as a vehicle for a broader examination of the intersecting histories of immigration, politics, and mental health care reform as they influenced American culture during the singularly fraught period of the 1850s to the 1880s.

Project fields:
American Studies; U.S. History

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$30,000 (approved)
$30,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2019 – 8/31/2020


FZ-260999-18

Robert Kanigel
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Cambridge, MA 02139-4307)
American Scholar Milman Parry (1902–1935) and the Study of Oral Tradition in Classical Literature

Research and writing leading to publication of a book-length biography of Milman Parry (1902-1935), a scholar of Classics who revolutionized the study of Homer's lliad and Odyssey.

This is the first book-length biography of Milman Parry, "the Darwin of Homeric Studies," arguably the most influential classical scholar of the twentieth century, who irretrievably overturned long entrenched notions about ancient literature. The Iliad and the Odyssey, he showed, were not "written" as we understand it today, but were products of an oral tradition going back centuries. After Parry's premature death at age 33, his young assistant, Albert Lord, helped Parry's ideas break out into broad new areas. What had begun as a way to understand the Homeric epics became a new discipline, "oral theory," that has been applied to Beowulf, the Old Testament, jazz improvisation, hip-hop, and many other ancient, medieval, and modern cultures and disciplines. When Bob Dylan won the Nobel Prize for Literature, it was Parry's work that was invoked to explain how a songwriter could qualify for it.

Project fields:
Anthropology; Classics

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2018 – 8/31/2019


FZ-261336-18

Carole Emberton
SUNY Research Foundation, University at Buffalo (Amherst, NY 14228-2577)
An Intimate History of Freedom: The Biography of Emancipated Slave Priscilla Joyner

Writing leading to the publication of a book about the experience of emancipated American slaves told primarily through the life of former slave Priscilla Joyner.

My project is a study of American slave emancipation told primarily through the life of one woman. The Emancipation of Priscilla Joyner immerses readers in the everyday life of its subject, and from that experience asks new questions about the transition from slavery to freedom. How did newly freed people make sense of the tumultuous changes that accompanied emancipation in their daily lives? How did the meaning of freedom vary from person to person? My book moves beyond current histories of American emancipation that focus on struggles for civil and political rights, revealing that freedom was not a single, momentary event, but rather an extended process that took place within the self as well as at ballot boxes, courthouses, and cotton fields.

Project fields:
African American History; U.S. History

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2019 – 12/31/2019


FZ-261342-18

Tom Dunkel
Unaffiliated Independent Scholar
White Knights in the Black Orchestra: A True Story of the Nazi Resistance

Research leading to publication of a monograph on a Nazi resistance group that included German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945). 

My project is a book-in-progress under contract with a publisher. This is not biography or military history. I'm writing a narrative nonfiction book geared to a mainstream American audience; an audience largely unaware of one of the great stories of the Nazi resistance. My focus is the years 1938-1945 and a small group of conspirators primarily based at Abwehr, the German foreign intelligence service. Their goal is to obstruct and, hopefully, destroy the Third Reich from within, if necessary by killing Adolf Hitler. The main protagonists are pastor-turned-resister Dietrich Bonhoeffer, his brother-in-law and Abwehr attorney Hans von Dohnanyi, and Admiral Wilhem Canaris, head of Abwehr. This is a story of personal courage in the face of collective tyranny; of inescapable but dangerous moral choices. As Martin Luther King, Jr. noted, "If your opponent has a conscience, then follow Gandhi and non-violence. But if your enemy has no conscience like Hitler, then follow Bonhoeffer."

Project fields:
European History; Journalism; U.S. History

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2019 – 12/31/2019


FZ-261345-18

Frank Lee Holt
University of Houston System (Houston, TX 77204-0001)
A Social History of Coins: Money and the Making of Civilization

Research and writing leading to publication of a book on the study of coins (numismatics) that explains their relevance in history and everyday life.

Nearly every branch of the humanities may be illuminated by numismatics - the study of coins and related forms of money. Since the invention of the first coins, called croesids, in the late seventh century BCE, states have used these mobile disks of information technology as an official means of mass communication. Coins carried far and wide a durable record of what was happening, from wars and religious festivals to the latest achievements in art, architecture, and technology. Money is the maker and mirror of civilization. I seek to write a book that explains what coins tell us about ourselves and our society. This work will appeal to those interested in history, art, philosophy, religion, architecture, economics, and the extraordinary structures of everyday life.

[Grant products][Media coverage]

Project fields:
Archaeology; History, General; Interdisciplinary Studies, General

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$45,000 (approved)
$45,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2018 – 5/31/2019


FZ-261349-18

Kevin Sack
Unaffiliated Independent Scholar
Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina: 200 Years of African-American Life

Writing a history of Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina.

I'm writing a book for Crown Publishing about the remarkable story of Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C., site of one of the nation's most horrific hate crimes. On a Wednesday night in June 2015, a 21-year-old white supremacist, Dylann Roof, murdered nine Bible study worshipers in the church fellowship hall with the delusion of inciting a race war. He had picked his target, the oldest A.M.E. church in the South, for maximum impact. Through extensive interviews and archival research, I plan to trace the church's history from its founding around 1818 in a bold breakaway from white churches to its central place in the second term of the first black president. The book's conceit is to examine two centuries of African-American life as an ongoing narrative that unfolds within a single congregation. Its ambition is to be an enduring case study, both scholarly and accessible, of the black church's role in resisting oppression at every stage of the freedom struggle.

Project fields:
African American History; History of Religion; U.S. Regional Studies

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2019 – 12/31/2019


FZ-261376-18

Thomas F. Madden
Saint Louis University (St. Louis, MO 63103-2097)
The Fall of Republics: A History

Research and writing leading to the publication of a book examining the forces that have threatened history's great republics from Sparta in ancient Greece to the United States during its foundation in the late 18th century.

This project will produce a new general audience book that will explore the historical factors that have led to the fall of so-called “mixed-government” republics. These governments, consisting of separate branches selected by distinct constituencies, each with the ability to check the other branches, include a variety of states such as Sparta, Rome, Venice, the Netherlands, Britain, and the United States. Through compellingly narrated events and lively portrayals of historical characters, this new book will uncover the dynamics at work within these historical republics that weakened their constitutional governments and planted the seeds of their ultimate demise. Although this book is not directly concerned with current events, it will, nonetheless, raise issues of interest to many readers in the current political climate. By examining the forces that have weakened history’s great republics we may well find ways to strengthen our own.

Project fields:
History, General; Political History

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2019 – 6/30/2020


FZ-261383-18

Stephen R. Platt
University of Massachusetts, Amherst (Amherst, MA 01003-9242)
U.S. Marine Corps Brigadier General Evans Carlson (1896–1947) and America's Long War for China, 1937–1950

Research leading to publication of a monograph on U.S.-China relations from 1937-1950.

Research for a book on American sympathy for China in its war against Japan in the late 1930s, based on three main characters. The central figure will be Evans Carlson, a U.S. Marine who embedded himself with the Chinese Red Army and later founded the first US commando unit (the forerunner to today’s special forces) based on what he had learned from the guerrillas in China. The other main characters, connected both to Carlson and to each other, will be the radical journalist Agnes Smedley and the founder of China’s Red Army, Zhu De. With the shifting relationships and experiences of these three figures at the center, the book will explore broader themes of American sympathy, of lost visions for the shared future of China and America, and of military influence East and West, while giving a new perspective on what went so terribly wrong in this era, that it should have ended with the deaths of tens of thousands of Americans and hundreds of thousands of Chinese on the battlefields of Korea.

Project fields:
East Asian History; History, General

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2019 – 12/31/2019


FZ-261386-18

John G. Turner
George Mason University (Fairfax, VA 22030-4444)
Out of Small Beginnings: Plymouth Colony and the Making of American Liberty

The writing of a book on the history of the Plymouth Colony, from its founding in 1620 to 1691.

In conjunction with the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower crossing, this book will narrate the history of Plymouth Colony during its seventy-year existence. At the center of the story are debates about the meaning and bounds of liberty, both religious and political. The inhabitants of New Plymouth--native peoples, Protestant separatists, Baptists, Quakers, and English officials--had radically different ideas about what liberty meant and who should enjoy it. While prior generations of Americans made banal connections between the Mayflower and the American founding, the history here is both more complex and more salient for twenty-first century Americans, who still disagree about the meaning and bounds of liberty.

Project fields:
History of Religion; U.S. History

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2018 – 8/31/2019


FZ-261390-18

James Romm
Bard College (Annandale-on-Hudson, NY 12504-9800)
The Sacred Band of Thebes and the Last Days of Greek Freedom (379–338 B.C.)

Research and writing leading to publication of a book on the "Sacred Band," a special infantry unit of the city of Thebes from 379-338 BCE, in the context of ancient Greek history, politics, and philosophy.

The Sacred Band, a Theban infantry unit made up of paired male lovers fighting side by side, is depicted by Greek sources as the pivotal factor in the 4th-century rise of Thebes and overthrow of Sparta. Yet no historical study has looked in depth at the legend of this elite corps. My book will trace the Band through the four decades in which it fought, from its creation in 379 BCE by a cadre of Theban patriots, to its annihilation by Alexander the Great at the Chaeronea in 338 BCE, a battle that brought an end to Greek political autonomy. I will examine the Band's role in Theban victories over Sparta during the 370's, and show that Plato's Symposium, a dialogue that alludes to the Sacred Band in discussing the power of eros, was likely inspired by it. Love's Warriors thus stands at the intersection of Platonic philosophy, military history and the study of Greek sexuality, with a nod to archaeology in its concluding exploration of the Sacred Band's mass grave on the field of Chaeronea.

Project fields:
Classics; Gender Studies; Military History

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$50,000 (approved)
$50,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2018 – 8/31/2019


FZ-261403-18

Courtney Thorsson
University of Oregon (Eugene, OR 97403-5219)
The Sisterhood: A Black Women's Literary Organization

Research and writing leading to publication of a book on a circle of African American women writers and how they supported one another's work and careers. The group, which included Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, and Audre Lorde, met regularly in New York in the 1970s.

"The Sisterhood and Black Women's Literary Organizing" is an interpretive cultural history of African American women writers who met in New York from 1977-1978. A photo of some of these women labeled "The Sisterhood" appears frequently online and occasionally in academic books as a source of excitement and inspiration, rarely with any context. Through archival research, I have confirmed that the group was more formal than references to it suggest: they met once a month, kept minutes, and collected dues. Writers Alice Walker and June Jordan founded the group. Members included journalists Margo Jefferson and Phyl Garland; culinary writers Vertamae Grosvenor and Jessica Harris; poets Ntozake Shange and Audre Lorde; and novelist Toni Morrison, who would go on to become the most prominent former member. I use meeting minutes, correspondence, biographies, and interviews to uncover and narrate the everyday work of The Sisterhood to secure publication and publicity for black women writers.

[Grant products]

Project fields:
African American Studies; American Literature; Gender Studies

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2018 – 8/31/2019


FZ-261408-18

Devoney K. Looser
Arizona State University (Tempe, AZ 85281-3670)
Biography of Sisters Jane Porter (1775–1850) and Anna Maria Porter (1778–1832), 19th-Century British Novelists

Research and writing of a book on British sister novelists Jane Porter (1775-1850) and Anna Maria Porter (1778-1832), contemporaries of Jane Austen.

Decades before the Brontës, Jane Porter (1775-1850) and Anna Maria Porter (1778-1832) burst onto the literary scene. The Porters unabashedly published as sisters, signing their names to dozens of novels, poems, and plays. They were pioneering, single career women at a moment of cultural change, negotiating the literary marketplace with the marriage marketplace. They were widely fêted and admired. But as they reveal in moving, unpublished letters, they paid a steep price. For a woman, Anna Maria concluded, public fame was the death knell of private happiness. To add insult to injury, their fall from popularity was so precipitous that few today have heard of them. My book, Sister Novelists, is poised to be the first biography of the Porter sisters, sharing for the first time stories of their accomplished, lovelorn, and complicated lives. It promises to shift understandings of struggles faced by the first generations of professional women writers in the age of Jane Austen.

Project fields:
British History; British Literature; Gender Studies

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2019 – 12/31/2019


FZ-261412-18

Bruce C. Elliott, Jr
University of Minnesota, Twin Cities (Minneapolis, MN 55455-0433)
Exposing Wrongdoing in Medical Research on Human Subjects

Research and writing leading to publication of a book on six medical research scandals and the people who exposed them.

In 1972, Peter Buxtun exposed the Tuskegee syphilis study, the most notorious medical research scandal in modern American history. In the forty-six years since Buxtun blew the whistle there have been many other research scandals, but very few have been exposed by whistleblowers. In most cases doctors and nurses have remained silent even after seeing research subjects shamefully mistreated. In the rare instances where they have worked up the courage to speak out publicly, the result has often been professional vilification. This raises a larger question: in a research enterprise supposedly built on a humanitarian ethos, why are whistleblowers like Buxtun so rare?

Project fields:
Interdisciplinary Studies, Other; Philosophy, Other

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2019 – 6/30/2020


FZ-261417-18

Theresa MacPhail
Stevens Institute of Technology (Hoboken, NJ 07030-5906)
A Cultural History of Allergies, 1819-2017

Research and writing leading to publication of a book on the scientific and cultural history of allergies, ranging from the first description of hay fever in 1819 to the recent development of mobile apps, wearable devices, and gene therapies intended to prevent allergic reactions.

This project examines the shifting scientific and popular understandings of allergy and how those understandings affect not only how clinicians and allergy sufferers approach treatment options, but how we – as a larger society – see humans in relationship to the world in which we live. From the first description of hay fever in 1819 to the recent rise in overall incidence of allergies, this project investigates our often troubled relationship to technology, to our natural and built environments, to the invisible world around us, and to our own bodies and our complicated immune systems. Irritated interweaves history, science, medicine, literature, and social media and personal accounts into a larger cultural narrative of allergy.

Project fields:
Anthropology; History and Philosophy of Science, Technology, and Medicine; Interdisciplinary Studies, General

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2019 – 12/31/2019


FZ-261482-18

Natalie Anne Dykstra
Hope College (Holland, MI 49423-3663)
Isabella Stewart Gardner (1840–1924): A Life in Art

Research and writing leading to publication of a biography of Boston art collector Isabella Stewart Gardner (1840-1924). 

My project is a biography of Isabella Stewart Gardner (1840-1924), the Boston doyenne and art collector, whose eponymous museum opened in 1903. Gardner’s personal story has been eclipsed by the fame of her many masterpieces, though it powerfully resonates with contemporary issues of class, American identity, here and abroad, and women and power. It is also an intimate story of a late bloomer, an American life remade by a passion for beauty and art.

Project fields:
American Studies; Arts, General; Interdisciplinary Studies, General

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2019 – 12/31/2019


FZ-261493-18

Julie Elizabeth Byrne
Hofstra University (Hempstead, NY 11549-1000)
American Catholicism and the Cantor Fitzgerald Employees Who Lost Their Lives on 9/11

Writing an account of five men killed in the attack on the World Trade Center, focused on their shared cultural and religious background.

On September 11, 2001, financial services firm Cantor Fitzgerald lost 658 of its 960 New York employees, the highest number of casualties of any single institution. Its workers were largely young men from the suburbs of Long Island, New Jersey, and Connecticut, and they were mostly Catholic. In this book I put the story of 9/11 in an even larger frame of multigenerational U.S. love and loss, told through the lives of the the Cantor Fitzgerald men and those who mourned them. It is a local story of Catholic families whose suburban addresses came with profound shifts in class, race, gender, political views, and religious practice. It is also a story as national as the U.S. love affair between religion and business and as international as global terrorism. Exploring the lives of “just regular guys” who became national martyrs—and the continued hopes and doubts of family who loved them—promises new insight for all Americans wanting to understand ourselves and our country in this millennium.

[Grant products]

Project fields:
American Studies; History of Religion; U.S. History

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2018 – 8/31/2019


FZ-261496-18

Susan Lynn Schneider
University of Connecticut (Storrs, CT 06269-9000)
Future Minds: Artificial Intelligence, Brain Enhancement, and the Nature of the Self

Research leading to publication of a monograph on ethical and social implications of artificial intelligence.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) leaders, such as Elon Musk and Ray Kurzweil, aim to merge humans and machines, and to engineer AI that outthinks humans. Billions of dollars are being poured into these efforts. Of course, we shouldn't let businesses like Google, Neuralink and Facebook decide the future of humanity. This project raises public awareness about the social implications of these emerging technologies. In this book, I explore AI technology in light of issues in philosophy of mind and metaphysics, in particular, examining whether synthetic minds can be created, whether machines could feel, whether humans can merge with machines, and more. I illustrate that our capacity to successfully negotiate future AI technologies, including the potential to shape “future minds,” depends upon, among other things, our philosophical understanding of the metaphysics of personal identity and the fundamental nature of mind.

[Grant products]

Project fields:
Metaphysics

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$55,000 (approved)
$55,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2019 – 7/31/2020


FZ-261512-18

Cynthia Leigh Haven
Unaffiliated Independent Scholar
“The Spirit of the Place”: Polish-American Poet Czeslaw Milosz in California

Research and writing leading to publication of a book on Nobel-prize winning poet Czeslaw Milosz (1911-2004), his defection from Communist Poland, and his four decades in California.

Nobel poet Czeslaw Milosz has been considered a poet of Mitteleuropa, a “poet of witness,” a survivor of the destruction of Warsaw and life under Communist rule. Yet he spent four decades in California and was also a poet of immigration and a poet of America, writing about our oceans, deserts, mountains, and culture. He argued with our poets in his verse – and praised them, too. It is time to claim him as one of our own. This book discusses his decision to defect from Communist Poland, the turbulent circumstances of his immigration during the Cold War, and how, over four decades, he became his own kind of American.

Project fields:
Comparative Literature; Literature, General; Slavic Literature

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2018 – 8/31/2019


FZ-261513-18

Timothy Judd Stiles
Unaffiliated Independent Scholar
The Believer: Theodore Roosevelt and the Reinvention of American Democracy

Research and writing leading to publication of a comprehensive, one-volume biography of American president Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919).

The Believer will be a comprehensive one-volume biography of Theodore Roosevelt, to be written in a literary style for the general public while incorporating the latest historiography. Drawing on extensive primary-source research, it will examine Roosevelt as a figure deeply rooted in older schools of liberal thought, Whig and Republican party philosophies, and New York merchant-patrician traditions of social leadership, showing how he synthesized these with antimonopoly politics, social science, and a belief in the human capacity to better the world through democratic action. In many ways, this was part of a reinvention of democracy. The book will also explore the unintended and undesirable consequences, including a disengagement from politics and government on the part of the partisan rank-and-file as civil-service reform eroded older spoils-system operations, and the disturbing application of specious scientific thinking to support eugenics and racial bigotry.

Project fields:
Intellectual History; Political History; U.S. History

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2018 – 8/31/2019


FZ-261516-18

Stephen Heyman
Unaffiliated Independent Scholar
A Life of Louis Bromfield (1896–1956), The Lost Generation Novelist Who Inspired America’s Organic Food Revolution

Research and writing leading to publication of a biography of Pulitzer-prize winning American author and pioneering organic farmer Louis Bromfield (1896-1956).

The Road to Malabar is the first major biography of the Pulitzer Prize-winning American author and pioneering organic farmer Louis Bromfield (1896-1956). Bromfield rose to prominence in 1920s Paris among a set of legendary expatriates such as Gertrude Stein and Ernest Hemingway. But after World War II, he radically changed course, investing his fame and fortune into the daring project of bringing sustainable agriculture to America. From his model farm in rural Ohio, Malabar, Bromfield sounded an early alarm about harmful pesticides and fought for an agriculture that would enrich the soil and protect the planet. Based on unpublished letters and memoirs, this book not only unearths a lost American icon, it also sheds light on the little-known origins of sustainable farming. By situating that movement in its cultural context, the book shows how organic agriculture was just as much a response to the shocks of the 20th century as the literary modernism of Bromfield’s Lost Generation peers.

Project fields:
American Literature; American Studies; U.S. History

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2018 – 8/31/2019


FZ-261543-18

Stephen Mihm
University of Georgia (Athens, GA 30602-0001)
Industrial and Technical Standards in Modern Life: A History

Research and writing leading to a book on the history, from the late eighteenth century to the present, of the industrial and technical standards that enable modern life.

In the twenty-first century, standards govern everything from screw threads to internet traffic. By imposing uniformity across time and space, standards enable complex technological and economic systems to function with some semblance of predictability. This, however, is a recent development. Few standards existed before the late nineteenth century aside from fundamental standards of weight and measure. This book scrutinizes the fabric of our everyday lives to show how the ubiquitous standards that now surround us–seemingly neutral, natural, and timeless--have a fascinating, if controversial, history. Along the way, it profiles the engineers and experts who used standards to consolidate markets and machines into larger, unified systems. These forgotten visionaries sought to bring order out of modernity’s chaos. In no small measure they succeeded. This book tells their story.

Project fields:
Economic History; History and Philosophy of Science, Technology, and Medicine; U.S. History

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2019 – 12/31/2019


FZ-261551-18

Hugh Eakin
Unaffiliated Independent Scholar
Picasso's Dealer: Paul Rosenberg and the 1939 Exhibition that Changed America

Preparation for publication of a book about the 1939 Picasso exhibition put on by the Museum of Modern Art in New York City and the Art Institute of Chicago, the transfer of European art to the United States prior to World War II, and its impact on American culture.

My project is a narrative history of the unlikely 1939 Picasso exhibition put on by the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Art Institute of Chicago and its extraordinary effect on American culture. In the 1920s and 1930s, there was widespread American skepticism about Picasso and other radical European artists, despite years of effort to popularize them. But the Nazi campaign against modern art created a political imperative to defend their work and rescue it from Europe. Relying on wartime loans from Picasso's dealer, Paul Rosenberg, and other French sources, the Picasso show nearly didn't happen. But the loans got out and the show, backed by ingenious publicity, captivated audiences nationwide. Many borrowed works were subsequently bought by U.S. museums. Bringing to light the physical transfer of art to America during World War II, the story of the 1939 exhibition offers fresh insight into when and how the avant-garde shifted from Europe to the United States.

Project fields:
Art History and Criticism; Cultural History

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$40,000 (approved)
$40,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2018 – 4/30/2019


FZ-261560-18

Jeremy Eichler
Unaffiliated Independent Scholar
War and Memory in Modern Classical Music

Preparation for publication of a book about music and the cultural memory of World War II and the Holocaust in the works and lives of composers Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975), Benjamin Britten (1913-1976), Arnold Schoenberg (1874-1951) and Richard Strauss (1864-1949).

A new book on music and the cultural memory of the Second World War and the Holocaust. As the living memory of the Second World War and the Holocaust further recedes with each passing year, we are left to grapple with the inscriptions of these catastrophes in the culture of their times. At the center of this book are four composers -- Dmitri Shostakovich, Benjamin Britten, Arnold Schoenberg and Richard Strauss -- whose intensely charged memorial works, written during and after the war, stand among the defining ethical and aesthetic statements of the twentieth century. By investigating these works, their creation and reception, and the broader idea of memorialization through music, I make the case for new ways of hearing history, and for reclaiming the power of sound as a unique carrier of meaning about the past.

[Grant products]

Project fields:
Cultural History; European History; Music History and Criticism

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2018 – 8/31/2019


FZ-250607-17

Darren Dochuk
University of Notre Dame (Notre Dame, IN 46556-4635)
Anointed With Oil: God and Black Gold in America's Century

A history of the connections between religion and the petroleum industry in the U.S., from the “King of Crude” Patillo Higgins in the 1890s to the Rockefeller and Pew families in the energy crisis of the 1970s to the current era of globalization.

This project examines the subtle but critical relationship between petroleum and religion in the twentieth century, with focus on the United States, its oil-patch regions, and their change over time, but also on the expansion of American oil-patch interests and influences abroad. Blending cultural, political, and economic history, it details and assesses how those living in oil-rich zones have always considered petroleum their special providence, a fragile gift bestowed by God to be used industriously for the advance of “His Kingdom.” Driven by sacred notions of production, stewardship, and dominion over the earth, they have long found a natural ally in the petroleum business, which has grafted these ideals onto an ideology of high-risk, high-reward wildcat entrepreneurialism. This marriage has spawned structures of power with sweeping impact, domestically and globally, and transformed American religion, politics, and culture in profound and lasting ways.

[Grant products]

Project fields:
History of Religion; Political History; U.S. History

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2017 – 6/30/2018


FZ-255906-17

James S. Shapiro
Columbia University (New York, NY 10027-7922)
America's Shakespeare

Research and writing for a book on how the works of William Shakespeare have figured in America’s national conversation from the Revolution to the present day.

From the 1830s, when Alexis de Tocqueville toured the land and reported in "Democracy in America" that there was “hardly a pioneer hut in which the odd volume of Shakespeare cannot be found,” to the present day, when almost every American teenager is exposed to his plays, Shakespeare has remained the one writer shared by all in this nation, across social, geographic, and political boundaries. In ten chapters (each focusing on a key year) America’s Shakespeare examines the course of our nation’s history through the lens of our long and collective engagement with Shakespeare. I’m especially interested in exploring how and why Americans have turned to Shakespeare when struggling to find common ground or give voice to what is otherwise not easily or openly expressed, and to this end the book will explore how Shakespeare has figured in—and shaped--our national conversation from the Revolution until the present day.

Project fields:
History, Criticism, and Theory of the Arts

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2017 – 8/31/2018


FZ-256387-17

Ellen Carroll Wayland-Smith
University of Southern California (Los Angeles, CA 90089-0012)
Jean Wade Rindlaub (1904-1991) and the History of Advertising to American Women

Research and writing of a book-length history of American advertising to women, told through the work of Jean Wade Rindlaub (1904-1991), a prominent adwoman during World War II and the Cold War.

My book is a cultural history of American advertising from 1940-1960, as seen through the lens of real-life “madwoman” Jean Wade Rindlaub. As a copy writer and Vice President of Barton Batten Durstine and Osborne, Rindlaub targeted the average American housewife through advertising campaigns for such national icons as Chiquita Banana, Betty Crocker, Oneida Silverware, and Dwight D. Eisenhower. Rindlaub’s ads, “focus group” research, speeches, and private letters reveal how a range of social stakeholders at mid-century joined forces to manufacture an American feminine ideal that would be at once spiritually satisfying, economically profitable, and politically expedient. The book not only gives the reader a lively glimpse into this strange, vanished world of gray-flannelled men and exotic dancing Latina bananas, but offers a snapshot of American consumer society at the dawn of mass media, with lessons still to teach us today about the manufacture of political and cultural consent.

Project fields:
Cultural History; U.S. History; Women's History

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$37,800 (approved)
$37,800 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2017 – 5/31/2018


FZ-256395-17

Camilla Townsend
Rutgers University (New Brunswick, NJ 08901-8559)
A New History of the Aztecs

The writing of a book-length narrative on Aztec history from before the Spanish conquest of Mexico.

This book is a sweeping new interpretive study of the Aztecs. The last major work on the subject is now almost thirty years old. In the intervening years, scholars have made great strides in our ability to read the Nahuatl (or Aztec language) histories written by the indigenous people themselves in the sixteenth century. We no longer need to depend on the comments made by the Spanish conquerors, or on silent archaeological remains; this book will allow readers to hear what the Native Americans themselves had to say on the subject of their own history and culture. It will focus on the period beginning about a century before the conquest and ending about a century after. Prior works have always ended or begun at the moment of conquest, as if there could be no comparison between the “before” and “after.” But the people who lived through the trauma knew that their lives went on, and they had a great deal to say about surviving and learning to live with conquest.

Project fields:
Latin American History; Native American Studies

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2018 – 12/31/2018


FZ-256398-17

Brian Hochman
Georgetown University (Washington, DC 20057-0001)
A History of Wiretapping in the United States

Research and writing of a book on the history of public and private sector wiretapping and wiretapping technology since the 19th century.

All Ears: A History of Wiretapping in the United States explores an oft-overlooked truth of modern media history: that technologies for eavesdropping on communications have proliferated as rapidly as communications technologies themselves. Third parties tapped the earliest telegraph wires during the nineteenth century, and the nation's communications networks have been bugged ever since. Drawing on a wide range of primary source materials, the project uncovers the surprising history of wiretaps, bugs, and other eavesdropping technologies in the United States. In the process, it offers valuable historical perspective on an issue that remains hotly contested among pundits and policymakers today. By tracing a series of popular flash points in the history of wiretapping, the project ultimately demonstrates how the modern myth of communications privacy has depended, even thrived, on the reality of its technological infringement.

Project fields:
American Studies; Media Studies; U.S. History

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2018 – 12/31/2018


FZ-256400-17

Richard J. Bell
University of Maryland, College Park (College Park, MD 20742-5141)
Stolen: Five Free Boys Kidnapped Into Slavery and Their Astonishing Odyssey Home

A book on four boys kidnapped and sold into slavery in 1825 and their story's impact on debates about slavery and abolition.

I would use NEH funding to support the completion of the final chapters of my new book. The Lost Boys: A Story of Slavery and Justice on the Reverse Underground Railroad is to be published by Simon & Schuster in late fall 2018. It tells the little-known story of the miraculous escape of four free black children from the clutches of post-revolutionary America’s most fearsome gang of kidnappers and enslavers. Designed to capitalize on the interest in human trafficking spurred by the Oscar-winning film Twelve Years a Slave (2013), The Lost Boys offers a revisionist account of the role of kidnapping in the domestic slave trade in the decades immediately following the American Revolution. It situates black persons at the center of analysis, up-ends simple racial and gender dichotomies, and argues that the kidnapping of free black people into slavery in this critical period was vastly more frequent, pernicious, and politically significant than we have previously supposed.

[Grant products]

Project fields:
African American History; U.S. History

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2018 – 12/31/2018


FZ-256405-17

Megan Kate Nelson
Unaffiliated Independent Scholar
How the West was Won--and Lost--during the American Civil War

A book on the Civil War in the American Southwest, including its impact on settlers, Native Americans, and the environment.

Path of the Dead Man tells the little-known story of the American Civil War in the Southwest through the experiences of nine individuals: three Union soldiers, two Confederate soldiers, two Native Americans, and two Anglo civilians. It argues that the Confederate loss of the West hurt their chances to win the war in the East. Once the Union Army regained control of the region, Republicans passed a series of acts to “settle” the West, to fill it with free laborers. To achieve this vision the Union Army also had to exterminate or remove the West’s Native Americans. Thus, their campaigns against Navajos and Apaches were vital to the Republican political project. The Union succeeded in these efforts due the army’s ability to control the Southwest’s natural resources. Path of the Dead Man reconfigures three of America's epic narratives (the Civil War, the Indian wars, and westward expansion) and will appeal to general and academic readers.

[Grant products]

Project fields:
Military History; U.S. History; U.S. Regional Studies

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
10/1/2017 – 9/30/2018


FZ-256426-17

Jennifer Homans
New York University (New York, NY 10012-1019)
A Biography of Choreographer George Balanchine (1904-1983)

Preparation of a book-length biography of choreographer George Balanchine (1904-1983), from his earliest years in Imperial Russia to his death in New York City.

George Balanchine was perhaps the greatest choreographer of the 20th century. Born in Russia in 1904, he experienced the upheavals of World War One, the Russian Revolution, exile, World War Two and the cultural Cold War; he was part of the Russian modernist moment, a key player in Paris in the 1920s, and in New York he revolutionized ballet, pressing it to the forefront of culture and making it a serious—and popular—American art. Like his contemporaries Picasso, Stravinsky, and Auden, Balanchine’s life spanned the 20th century, and he captured something of its history and ideas in his dances. I am writing a critical biography of Balanchine. If I succeed, I will have captured something of Balanchine’s world, his inner life, and the power of his dances. I will also have written a history of 20th century modernism.

Project fields:
Arts, General; Dance History and Criticism; Theater History and Criticism

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2017 – 8/31/2018


FZ-256442-17

Janice P. Nimura
Unaffiliated Independent Scholar
The Doctors Blackwell: How Two Pioneering Sisters Brought Medicine to Women and Women to Medicine

Research and writing leading to publication of a dual biography of Elizabeth Blackwell (1821-1910) and her sister Emily Blackwell (1826-1910), pioneering women in American medicine.

A biography of Elizabeth Blackwell, the first woman in America to receive a medical degree (1849), and her younger sister Emily, who received her degree five years later. Together they founded the New York Infirmary for Indigent Women and Children, which they expanded to include a women's medical college a decade later. Their world included eccentric siblings, iconoclastic sisters-in-law--Lucy Stone and Antoinette Brown, two of the most outspoken feminists of the era--and acquaintances like Florence Nightingale, Horace Greeley, Henry Ward Beecher, and Lady Byron. The New York Infirmary became the crucible for such medical pioneers as Marie Zakrzewska, Mary Putnam Jacobi, and Sophia Jex-Blake. The Blackwells' story is emblematic of the dawning of a new consciousness for women, both ideological and physical, including contradictions regarding the meaning of feminism as relevant in 2017 as they were in the nineteenth century.

[Grant products]

Project fields:
History of Science; U.S. History; Women's History

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2017 – 8/31/2018


FZ-256465-17

Jacob Soll
University of Southern California (Los Angeles, CA 90089-0012)
A History of the Free Market from the 16th to the 20th Century

Research leading to publication of a monograph on the history of the idea of the free market.

The object of my new book, Free Market: The History of Dream is to show in clear terms, to a wide audience, that the origins of free market thought are older and more complex than previously thought. Rather than products of the 18th and 19th centuries, they grew from Renaissance and Enlightenment traditions based in religious views of the self-regulating laws of nature. What is remarkable in this story is the extent to which religious tradition was at the basis of free market thought, even as it became the secular field of economics we know today.

[Grant products]

Project fields:
Economic History; History, General; Intellectual History

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2018 – 12/31/2018


FZ-256468-17

Sarah Wagner
George Washington University (Washington, DC 20052-0001)
Bringing Them Home: Identifying and Remembering Vietnam War MIAs

Researching and writing a book on forensic identification and public memorialization of U.S. service members Missing in Action (MIA) from the Vietnam War.

This book project examines the efforts to account for and memorialize U.S. service members Missing In Action (MIA) and presumed dead from the past century’s major conflicts, specifically the over 1,600 still missing from the Vietnam War. Stories from recovery missions in Southeast Asia, forensic scientific investigations, and decades-delayed homecomings help illustrate war’s destructive/generative nature and the obligations of care that arise through such a prolonged crisis of absence. Bringing Them Home also reveals important changes in how MIAs are commemorated, from everyday, small acts of remembrance to more public, monumental forms and spaces of memorializing the war and those who died waging it. In doing so, it presents a humanistic account of war and its legacy of remembrance that entwine the living with the dead in the project of national belonging.

[Grant products][Prizes]

Project fields:
Anthropology

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2017 – 8/31/2018


FZ-256478-17

Tiya Alicia Miles
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1382)
The Story of "Ashley's Sack": A Family Heirloom in the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture

Research and writing of a book about African American women’s experience, as revealed through an embroidered cotton bag passed down through generations of enslaved and free women.

This proposed public history book project, The Things She Carried: A Meditation on “Ashley’s Sack,” aims to present the unexpected story of a unique material artifact: an embroidered plain cotton sack from the 19th century given to an enslaved daughter from her mother and then passed down by the women of the Middleton family as a testament to their history in slavery and freedom. The item, called Ashley’s Sack, is now on display in the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. The purpose of this project is to use this beautiful and wrenching artifact that has already arrested the attention of many to tell interlocking stories about black women’s history, American history, and public history that draw out the themes of love, loss, and rescue. This book will explore the many embedded historical and cultural meanings of the sack in a form that is intellectually revealing, accessible, and lyrical.

[Grant products]

Project fields:
African American History; American Studies; Women's History

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$42,000 (approved)
$35,700 (awarded)

Grant period:
8/1/2018 – 7/31/2019


FZ-256488-17

Jeffrey Veidlinger
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1382)
Pogrom: The Origins of the European Genocide of the Jews, 1917-1921

Research leading to publication of a monograph on the origins of the Holocaust.

Pogrom: The Origins of the European Genocide of the Jews is a study of how the anti-Jewish pogroms of 1917-1921 created the preconditions for the Holocaust. Based on extensive archival research in five different languages, the book provides in-depth analysis of six of the two thousand pogroms that took place during the Russian Civil War, and traces the aftermath of the violence both locally and internationally. The book is under contract with Metropolitan Books/ Henry Holt and Company, which has negotiated for five international editions in addition to the US edition.

Project fields:
European History; Jewish Studies; Russian History

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$25,200 (approved)
$25,200 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2017 – 8/31/2018


FZ-256495-17

Mark Braude
Stanford University (Stanford, CA 94305-2004)
The Invisible Emperor: Napoleon Bonaparte on Elba

Research leading to publication of a monograph on Napoleon Bonaparte’s exile on Elba and short-lived return to power in 1815.

The Invisible Emperor offers a narrative history of Napoleon’s exile on Elba as a case study through which to consider the intertwined histories of politics, celebrity, and mass media in the modern era. Spanning from Napoleon's abdication as emperor of France in April of 1814 to his escape and return to the mainland the following March, this project considers how Napoleon became the first modern political figure to fully harness the power of emerging mass media technologies, as he framed himself as the charismatic protagonist in a heroic narrative to be consumed in words and images. This project suggests that Napoleon gained widespread support for his unlikely return to power in 1815 precisely because of the mystique he fostered while seemingly out-of-sight and silenced during his ten months in exile on Elba, as Europeans delighted in this latest twist in his already storied career.

[Grant products]

Project fields:
Cultural History; European History; Urban History

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2017 – 8/31/2018


FZ-256497-17

John A. Lynn
University of Illinois (Champaign, IL 61801-3620)
The Other Side of Victory: A History of Surrender from Medieval Combat to Modern Terrorism

The writing of a book-length narrative on the history and concept of military surrender, examining how wars end.

In the grim history of war, some victories have been won by the annihilation of the adversary. But surrender has always been much more common, and complicated, than unmitigated destruction. The history of surrender encompasses not only yielding by the vanquished but also the victors’ acceptance of this submission. It is ultimately a history of restraint in war, and it is inseparable from the question of conflict resolution and the development of our existing humanitarian laws of war. Speculation on how the current terrorist threat might be contained or ended permeates the popular and scholarly literature. However, such discussions rarely reference the historical record of surrender or grossly misuse the past when they do. My book describes, compares, and analyzes the experience of surrender in different historical and cultural settings. It will sharpen our understanding of contemporary issues of war and peace by providing a rich and relevant historical perspective.

[Grant products]

Project fields:
International Relations; Military History

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$50,400 (approved)
$46,200 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2018 – 12/31/2018


FZ-256501-17

Heather Lenore Clark
CUNY Research Foundation, Graduate School and University Center (New York, NY 10016-4309)
The Light of the Mind: A Biography of American Poet and Novelist Sylvia Plath (1932-1963)

A biography of American poet and novelist Sylvia Plath (1932-1963) that emphasizes her literary development and her important place in American letters.

I am writing a biography of the American poet and novelist Sylvia Plath (1932-1963). Although several biographies have been published since her death in 1963, a definitive, critical biography of America's best-known, 20th-century woman poet still does not exist. Because biographies of Plath tend to be inaccurate and sensationalist, there is a need for an in-depth, meticulously researched biography that resists caricature and helps restore Plath to the prominent place she deserves in American letters. Sylvia Plath: The Light of the Mind will recover Plath the writer.

[Grant products]

Project fields:
American Literature; British Literature

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2017 – 8/31/2018


FZ-256516-17

Rachel Lisa Mesch
Yeshiva University (New York, NY 10033-3299)
Three Women Writers Who Lived as Men: Jane Dieulafoy (1850-1916), Marc de Montifaud (1849-1913), and Rachilde (1860-1953)

Research and writing of a biographical study of three late 19th-century French women writers who lived their lives as men—housewife-turned-archaeologist Jane Dieulafoy (1850-1916), art critic Marc de Montifaud (1849-1913), and novelist Rachilde (1860-1953).

My project is a biographical study of three late nineteenth-century French writers in which I explore how transgender identities were expressed and understood before the modern category existed. Simultaneously construed as oddities and celebrated for their accomplishments, [Jane] Dieulafoy, [Marc de] Montifaud, and Rachilde defied the available terms for women who challenged gender norms. This book uses the contemporary critical lens of transgender to understand their fascinating and very different life stories, exploring their copious efforts to make sense of their own selves through writing and photography. By recovering the gender diversity of this particular time period in France, Trans Before Trans seeks to highlight the continuing relevance of the Humanities to broader public debates, situating struggles assumed to be a product of contemporary life in a wider history.

[Grant products]

Project fields:
French Literature; Gender Studies; Women's History

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$29,400 (approved)
$29,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
2/1/2018 – 8/31/2018


FZ-256534-17

Sara A. Hendren
Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering (Needham, MA 02492-1200)
A Scissor, A Shoe, The Sidewalk’s Slant: Disability and the Unlikely Origins of Everyday Things

Research and writing leading to publication of a book on the concept of disability, based on the stories behind everyday objects designed to accommodate disabled people.

This book, under contract with Riverhead in 2019, is about the unexpected places where disability is at the heart of design, borne out in everyday objects and environments. From daily kitchen tools, to the invention of the telephone, to the shape of city sidewalks and architecture, the built world is packed with unknown origin stories that are shaped by the experience of disability, an experience that tends to be understood exclusively as a medical condition and rarely seen as the resource that it is: a generative, fascinating lens to begin thinking and re-thinking about the world around us. The book’s distinctive argument is that the experience of disability has historically been a site of invention and creativity, and that its politics simultaneously carry enormous implications for human rights. Nowhere is this creativity and urgency more convivial, resonant, and provocative than in the designed material world.

[Grant products]

Project fields:
Architecture; Cultural History; Interdisciplinary Studies, General

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$37,800 (approved)
$31,500 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2017 – 8/31/2018


FZ-256564-17

Abram C. Van Engen
Washington University in St. Louis (St. Louis, MO 63130-4899)
The Meaning of America: How the United States Became the City on a Hill

Completion of a book project on the history and influence of John Winthrop’s “City Upon a Hill” sermon ("A Model of Christian Charity") from 1630 to the present.

This project is a biography of John Winthrop's "city on a hill" sermon from 1630 to the present day. Cited today by politicians and many others as the origin of American exceptionalism, this sermon has become foundational to American history and literature. Yet in its own day, it went unrecorded, unpublished, and completely unnoticed. Found in 1838, Winthrop's sermon only gradually became important, achieving status as an American classic in the mid-twentieth century. This study asks how it rose and with what effects. Ever since its rebirth, I show, competing interpretations of the text have offered contending visions of American community and purpose. Drawing on several methodologies, my biography of Winthrop's sermon becomes, finally, a history of exceptionalism and "the meaning of America" as it has emerged from--and been contested in--rediscoveries, reinventions, and reinterpretations of America's past.

[Grant products]

Project fields:
American Literature; American Studies; U.S. History

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$25,200 (approved)
$25,200 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2018 – 6/30/2018


FZ-256570-17

Ben Schwartz
Unaffiliated Independent Scholar
The Lost Laugh: American Comedy Between the World Wars

Research and writing of a book on the development of American humor between the two World Wars.

The Lost Laugh is a lively narrative history of American humor set between the two World Wars. It tells the untold story of how the Modernist movement of the 1920s and 1930s, which swept through our literature, theater, music, and art, swept through our humor, shaking it loose from its 19th Century tradition of satire about rugged, simple, rural men in morally affirming stories. As America grew more urban, immigrants, women, and African-Americans broadened and complicated that tradition. Using interweaving biographical story lines, I paint a picture of this era via the careers of satirists Dawn Powell, Jack Benny, Eddie "Rochester" Anderson, Bob Hope, Gracie Allen, The Marx Brothers, Louis Armstrong, George S. Kaufman, Howard Hawks, and James Thurber, among others. In a wide array of media, they created urban, self-interested, amoral characters in non-narrative (often self-reflexive) modes, to arrive at much more ambivalent conclusions about American life.

Project fields:
Film History and Criticism; History, Criticism, and Theory of the Arts; Theater History and Criticism

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2017 – 8/31/2018


FZ-256574-17

Ruth Elizabeth Chang
Rutgers University (New Brunswick, NJ 08901-8559)
Making Hard Choices: The Power of Commitment in a World of Reasons

Research leading to publication of a monograph on the philosophical nature of hard choices.

Life is full of hard choices. Social scientists--psychologists, neuroscientists, and economists--study our reactions to such choices and model what we do in response to them. On the basis of their observations, they sometimes offer advice about how we should respond to a hard choice. But do they--or we--really understand what hard choices are? What, exactly, makes a choice hard? This is a question that humanists--and in particular, philosophers--are best suited to answer. In my book, Making Hard Choices, I undertake a distinctively philosophical investigation of the nature of hard choices. Once we understand what makes a choice hard, we are in a position to think more clearly about what we should do in the face of them. I offer novel answers to the questions, 'What are hard choices?' and 'What should we do in the face of them?' My aim is to present an investigation of these questions that is rooted in rigorous philosophical research and argument but nevertheless accessible.

Project fields:
Ethics; Philosophy, General; Philosophy, Other

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2018 – 8/31/2019


FZ-256582-17

Stephen R. Prothero
Trustees of Boston University (Boston, MA 02215-1300)
The Work of Eugene Exman (1900-1975): How an Editor and His Authors Made America More Spiritual and Less Religious

Writing of a biography of Eugene Exman (1900-1975), a book editor influential in the field of American religion.

Book-length study of Harper religion editor Eugene Exman and his authors focusing on their personal and professsional contributions to today's the "spiritual but not religious" sensibility. In this project, which is based on a massive archive recently discovered in Exman's home, I hope to shed new light on how liberal Protestants responded to the “religious depression” of the 1930s, how they contributed to the postwar revival of the 1940s and 1950s, and how they bent the counterculture of the 1960s and 1970s toward alternative spiritualities (including in Asia). Chapters focus on the back stories and the afterlives in American culture of such books as Bill Wilson's Alcoholics Anonymous, Dorothy Day's The Long Loneliness, Martin Luther King Jr.'s Stride Toward Freedom, and Huston Smith's The Religions of Man.

Project fields:
Cultural History; History of Religion; U.S. History

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2017 – 8/31/2018


FZ-256604-17

Sheryl Kaskowitz
Unaffiliated Independent Scholar
Sidney Robertson and the Documentation of American Folk Music in the New Deal Era

Preparation of a book about Sidney Robertson (1903-1995), a folk-music collector in the 1930s for the Resettlement Administration of the U.S. government.

This book tells the story of Sidney Robertson’s folk-music collecting for the Resettlement Administration (RA), an experimental New Deal agency that resettled thousands of people hard hit by the Depression on newly created homesteads across the country. The RA’s Special Skills Division collected nearly 160 disc recordings, both to document the folk music of Depression-era America and to use the songs “as an integrating social force” on the RA’s homesteads. Nearly all of these discs were recorded by Sidney Robertson, a woman whose role in the history of public folklore is often overlooked. This book illuminates the lost history of the Special Skills Division and Sidney Robertson’s role in its folk-music collecting, uncovering a treasure trove of little-known recordings, filling in important information about the roots of the folk revival, and demonstrating New Deal leaders' belief in the power of folk music to effect change and to forge an "authentic" American identity.

[Grant products]

Project fields:
American Studies; Ethnomusicology; Folklore and Folklife

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2018 – 5/31/2019


FZ-256625-17

Wanda Marie Corn
Stanford University (Stanford, CA 94305-2004)
From Local Folk to National Icon: The Three Lives of Grant Wood's "American Gothic"

A book on the 1930 painting American Gothic by Grant Wood and how it became an iconic image.

The oval-faced, tight-lipped man and woman, bound tightly together with a pitchfork in front of their Gothic Revival house, have become a ubiquitous and recognizable fixture in American visual culture, even to people who know nothing about art. This study offers a close reading and history of Grant Wood's painting American Gothic and its strange odyssey from the studio of an unknown Iowan artist eighty-seven years ago to its international celebrity status today.

Project fields:
American Studies; Art History and Criticism; Cultural History

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2018 – 12/31/2018


FZ-256626-17

Kimberly A. Hamlin
Miami University, Oxford (Oxford, OH 45056-1602)
Free Thinker: Sex, Suffrage, and the Extraordinary Life of Helen Hamilton Gardener

A biography of Helen Hamilton Gardener (1853-1925), woman suffragist, lead negotiator to Congress and President Wilson on behalf of the movement for suffrage, and the first woman to occupy a high-ranking federal civil service position in the United States in the 1920s.

In anticipation of the 100th anniversary of women's suffrage in 2020, Woman Citizen increases popular understanding of and appreciation for women's rights history by telling it through the eyes of Helen Hamilton Gardener. Gardener was the suffragists’ lead negotiator to Congress and President Woodrow Wilson, as well as the highest-ranking woman in federal government. However, she was purged from suffrage history as a result of her "freethinking" (atheist) beliefs and her campaign to raise the age of sexual consent for girls. Gardener’s dramatic life experiences together with her vital contributions to the women’s movement tell us much about both how the vote was won and why women worked so hard for it, making the project a good fit for the NEH Common Good: The Humanities in the Public Square initiative. Woman Citizen provides historical context for ongoing debates about women in politics, and it encourages us to rethink the place of women in our collective national narrative.

[Grant products]

Project fields:
U.S. History; Women's History

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2018 – 5/31/2019


FZ-256628-17

Michael Todd Bennett
East Carolina University (Greenville, NC 27858-5235)
Howard Hughes, the CIA, and the Untold Story Behind Their Hunt for a Sunken Soviet Submarine

A book exploring intelligence oversight and accountability though a narrative account of the covert 1974 CIA operation to use Howard Hughes's ship Glomar Explorer to raise a sunken Soviet submarine.

What led the Central Intelligence Agency to think that it could ally with one of the world’s most newsworthy figures to secretly operate a giant ship capable of doing the impossible, all without getting caught? Based on interviews as well as newly declassified files, my book, Imagination Unlimited, studies one of the biggest covert operations in CIA history—the 1974 voyage of the Hughes Glomar Explorer, a spyship ostensibly owned by eccentric billionaire Howard Hughes, to raise a sunken Soviet submarine—to address a small group of questions that remain almost as unresolved today as they were forty-plus years ago. What is the value of intelligence oversight? Does greater accountability harm the nation by discouraging the sort of blue-sky thinking that keeps the U.S. intelligence community one step ahead of the competition? Or, does it help by placing needed limits on that community’s overactive imagination?

[Grant products]

Project fields:
Diplomatic History; History, Other; U.S. History

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2018 – 12/31/2018


FZ-256658-17

Daniel Scott Neep
Georgetown University (Washington, DC 20057-0001)
The Nation Belongs to All: The Making of Modern Syria

The writing of a book-length history of modern Syria from the 19th century to the present.

The Syrian conflict is never far from the news. Yet the image of Syria presented by the media--a society so divided by religion that it has no common identity--sits at odds with how Syrians understand their country, as well as with the historical record. This book tells Syria’s untold story: the tale of an on-going, passionate struggle for justice, equality, and a better future. Whether fighting for national independence from French colonial rule, battling super-rich landowners to give impoverished peasants a fair share of the country’s wealth, or rising up against the violence, repression, and kleptomania of the Assad regime, the Syrian people have fiercely clung to their right to live with respect and dignity. The story that now needs telling is how, over the last hundred years, the protest and perseverance of the Syrian people have shaped the political destiny of their nation. “Religion belongs to God,” as the Syrian saying goes, “but the Nation belongs to All.”

Project fields:
Economic History; Near and Middle Eastern History; Political History

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2018 – 6/30/2019


FZ-256671-17

Luke A. Nichter
Texas A & M University, Central Texas (Killeen, TX 76549-5901)
The Last Brahmin: Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. and the Making of the Cold War

Research and writing leading to publication of a biography of the politician, ambassador, and U.S. presidential adviser Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. (1902-1985).

Senator, bipartisan advisor to five presidents, ambassador, vice presidential running mate, and presidential candidate by popular demand, Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr.'s political career stretched from the 1930s to the 1970s yet has escaped biographical treatment. Lodge’s rise and decline coincided with the end of the Eastern Establishment and its political moderation, a shift in political power to the South and West, and an embrace by the Republican Party of more conservative policies that directly enabled the rebirth of Richard Nixon and the rise of Ronald Reagan. In light of the Trump phenomenon, what can we learn from the first mass conservative movement? The book will also dramatically change the narrative of how the U.S. entered the Vietnam War, based on my recent discovery of President Diem's coup notes and a previously secret Kennedy-Lodge recording in which JFK authorizes a coup against South Vietnam. Yale University Press has agreed to a minimum first print run of 5,000 copies.

[Grant products]

Project fields:
Diplomatic History; Political History; U.S. History

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
10/1/2017 – 9/30/2018


FZ-256672-17

Kevin Birmingham
Harvard University (Cambridge, MA 02138-3800)
The Sinner and the Saint: Russian Novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky and the Gentleman Murderer Who Inspired "Crime and Punishment"

Research and writing of a book-length history of Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky’s classic Crime and Punishment.

This project is a cultural microhistory as seen through the making of a single book: Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment. It explores the significance of Dostoevsky’s novel by telling the story of its inspiration, writing and reception amidst the turbulent milieu of 1860s Saint Petersburg. We follow Dostoevsky from his 1849 arrest, mock execution and Siberian exile through his return to literary prominence and his collaboration with (and marriage to) Anna Grigoryevna Snitkina. My research creates a narrative by combining rich biographical detail with substantial historical contextualization and detailed textual analysis—of both Dostoevsky’s novel and its various drafts. One important element of Dostoevsky’s creative process was his fascination with Pierre François Lacenaire, a murderer whose crimes helped inspired Crime and Punishment and whose story helps us to reconsider the significance of Dostoevsky’s novel.

Project fields:
Cultural History; Russian History; Russian Literature

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2017 – 8/31/2018


FZ-250036-17

Jodi Magness
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (Chapel Hill, NC 27599-1350)
Masada: A New History


A book on Masada, the mountain fortress built by Herod the Great near the Dead Sea, and the Jewish mass suicide that took place there two thousand years ago.  Combining historical, literary, and archaeological research, the book will offer a new history of Jewish resistance to Roman rule.

Two thousand years ago, 967 Jewish rebels chose to take their own lives rather than suffer enslavement or death at the hands of the Roman army. This event occurred atop Masada, a mountain overlooking the Dead Sea that was fortified by Herod the Great. The story of the mass suicide is related by the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus. Josephus ended his account of The Jewish War – which describes the First Jewish Revolt against Rome and the destruction of Jerusalem and the Second Temple in 70 C.E. – with the fall of Masada. Whereas for Jews the revolt was a national disaster, Christians viewed the temple’s destruction as a fulfillment of Jesus’ prophecy. The Jewish resistance at Masada became a symbol of the modern State of Israel as a result of Yigael Yadin’s 1963-1965 excavations. Masada: A New History integrates historical/literary evidence with archaeological findings, yielding a gripping narrative that follows the fate of the Jews under Roman rule through the story of Masada.

Project fields:
Classical History; Interdisciplinary Studies, Other; Jewish Studies

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2017 – 12/31/2017


FZ-250309-17

Michael Meyer
University of Pittsburgh (Pittsburgh, PA 15260-6133)
Benjamin Franklin's Last Bet: How a Founding Father's Daring Philanthropy Reshaped the American Will

A book on American philanthropy and founding father Benjamin Franklin, who bequeathed large sums to Boston and Philadelphia with the stipulation that they be paid in two installments only after compound interest had accrued for one hundred and then two hundred years. The book also addresses the implications of Franklin's legacy for contemporary charitable giving.

Before he died, Benjamin Franklin placed a bet on America. His will's final codicil ordered the deposit of funds to be cashed out, with the accrual of compound interest, by the cities of Boston and Philadelphia 100, then 200, years later - should they still stand. Franklin's wager, a response to a dare by a French writer urging him to show his citizens how to apply Poor Richard's example for posterity, did - remarkably - pay out, funding civic projects and vocational training. Leaving money to beautify cities and fund vocational training - usually credited to the likes of Carnegie and Rockefeller - was yet another of Franklin's inventions, and one all but forgotten today. This book will explain how Franklin was the Founding Father of American philanthropy (he also invented the matching grant), and how his example of small, targeted giving can inform the national conversation as the Baby Boom generation prepares to give away $30 trillion, the largest transfer of wealth in U.S. history.

Project fields:
American Studies; Journalism; U.S. History

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2017 – 12/31/2017


FZ-250283-17

Jared Farmer
SUNY Research Foundation, Stony Brook (Stony Brook, NY 11794-0001)
The Latest Oldest Tree: Survival Stories for a Time of Extinction

A meditation on the challenges that humans face in thinking about long spans of time, the book narrates the history of various searches for the oldest living tree in the world and explains the scientific developments that enable us to measure extreme biological age.

The oldest trees have lasted longer than any civilization. Determining the location and age of these biological record holders is a modern fixation. In my book, I’ll narrate the never-ending search for the oldest living tree in the world, as definitions of “oldest” and “living” and “tree” and “world” have changed over time. I’ll examine individual and clonal longevity, and the tools--including dendrochronology and radiocarbon dating--scientists have developed to measure extreme biological age. Along the way, I’ll ponder scientific-cum-philosophical questions: What does it mean to be young and old? Living and dead? Without minimizing the global environmental crisis, my project stresses persistence amid loss, devotion amid destruction. Arboreal survival stories are vital for contemplating the future of oldness in an anthropogenic epoch.

[Grant products]

Project fields:
History of Science; History, General; Interdisciplinary Studies, General

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
8/1/2017 – 7/31/2018


FZ-250394-17

Bruce J. Schulman
Trustees of Boston University (Boston, MA 02215-1300)
"Are We A Nation"?: The Emergence of the Modern United States

A new treatment of what historians often call  "the Progressive Era," this book shows how the meaning of American nation-building underwent a profound shift in the years 1896 to 1929--from knitting together geographic regions to knitting together diverse peoples and cultures--just as the U.S. was emerging as a world power, international economic leader, and reservoir of displaced persons from around the globe.

A reinterpretation of the early twentieth century US, the study explores the transformation of American nationhood between 1896 and 1929 -- the era in which the United States emerged as a world power, international economic leader, and reservoir for displaced persons from across the globe. Most studies of the period have focused on the so-called Progressive Era. They overlook the larger processes of national integration and transformation that the Progressives, their rivals and their successors negotiated. At the same time, the book addresses enduring questions about nation-building: both as a process -- how can people build functioning nation-states out of diverse regions and peoples -- and as a matter of concept: what are the constituents of a nation? How do people understand nationhood and how have those conceptions changed over time? The US in this period offers a telling case because nation-building shifted from knitting together regions to integrating diverse peoples and cultures.

Project fields:
Cultural History; Political History; U.S. History

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$42,000 (approved)
$42,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
5/1/2017 – 4/30/2018


FZ-250439-17

Matthew Avery Sutton
Washington State University (Pullman, WA 99164-0001)
Double Crossed: The Missionaries Who Spied for the United States During the Second World War

A book on religious activists and missionaries who served as US spies in China, Germany, Italy, and North Africa during World War II.  Sutton's work tells the stories of John Birch in China; Felix Morlion, a Belgian Catholic who spied for the OSS in the Vatican; William Eddy, a missionary's son who organized intelligence in Northern Africa; and Moe Berg, a Jewish professional baseball player sent behind the lines to interrupt work by German scientists. 

FDR drafted ten million people to serve in World War II. And he drafted God. Or at least some of God’s most valuable earthly agents. During the war the US government sent a small but influential group of missionaries and religious activists around the globe to work in covert operations and espionage. Their stories have remained hidden—until now. This analysis of religion and espionage is significant for the following reasons. (1) It illustrates how religious activists’ entwining of faith and patriotic duty made them some of the nation’s best spies, willing to sacrifice everything to execute their missions. (2) It highlights the little-known role that religion played in World War II. FDR pushed Americans to see global religious freedom as fundamental to American security for the first time. (3) It reveals how the government and the work of religious activists facilitated the rise of a new religious nationalism ostensibly grounded in the championing of global freedom of religion.

[Grant products]

Project fields:
Cultural History; History of Religion; U.S. History

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
8/1/2017 – 7/31/2018


FZ-250483-17

Candacy Ann Taylor
Unaffiliated Independent Scholar
Overground Railroad: The Green Book and the Roots of Black Travel in America

A book about race in America focused on the Negro Motorist Green Book, a fascinating artifact of the Jim Crow era published by Harlem postal worker Victor Green between 1936 and 1966 and called the bible of African American automobile travel.

I am seeking support to fund the research and write a book based on the Negro Motorist Green Book. This was a travel guide that listed restaurants, hotels, barbershops, beauty parlors, taverns and service stations that were willing to serve black people during the Jim Crow era. It not only offered safety and convenience, it was a powerful tool for African Americans to persevere and literally move forward in the face of racism. The fact that we have Green Book buildings as physical evidence of racial discrimination is a rich opportunity to re-examine America’s troubled history of integration, black migration and the rise of the black leisure class. This book will enhance our understanding of American history, African American travel and African American business owners. This will be a ground-breaking book about race in America that will inspire and educate the masses about the struggle and triumph of literally and figuratively moving forward in America.

[Grant products][Media coverage]

Project fields:
African American History; African American Studies; Cultural Anthropology

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
4/1/2017 – 3/31/2018


FZ-250420-17

Steven Horst
Wesleyan University (Middletown, CT 06459-3208)
Exorcizing Laplace's Demon

Examines the assertion made famous by French mathematical physicist Pierre-Simon Laplace (1749-1827)  that a scientific view of the universe leaves no room for God, free will, or human dignity. Starting with LaPlace but leading the reader through the work of thinkers from Galileo and Newton to contemporary philosophers of science, the book considers how theism and humanism might be reconciled with science after all.

This project will produce a book for a general audience examining the widespread assumption that the sciences threaten our humanistic self-understanding because they imply a view of the world that is deterministic and reductionistic. I frame the discussion around Laplace's assertion, when asked the place of God in his physics, that "I have no need of that hypothesis", and the idea of "Laplace's Demon."  The book examines determinism and reductionism, and the challenges they face from quantum mechanics, chaos theory, and contemporary philosophy of science, arguing that a proper understanding of science poses no threat to human dignity, free will, theism, or the possibility of miracles, drawing upon previous works by the author written for scholarly audiences but presenting them in a form geared to the educated public.

Project fields:
History of Science; Philosophy of Science

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2017 – 6/30/2018


FZ-250531-17

Susan Margaret Schulten
University of Denver (Denver, CO 80208-0001)
A History of America through 100 Maps

Using one hundred maps—some well-known, some never before seen—the book illuminates American history  from 1492 to the present, explaining how the maps were made, why they mattered, and how they help us understand the past.

Over the course of five centuries, maps have permeated every aspect of American life. Whether made to navigate terrain, to promote an idea, to win a war, or to investigate a problem, maps record an effort to make sense of the world. They invest information with meaning by translating it into visual form, and in the process reflect decisions about how the world ought to be seen. Above all, maps remind us that the past is not just a chronological story, but also a spatial one. For all these reasons maps are invaluable historical sources. This book frames American history through one hundred maps, taken from all walks of life and all reaches of the continent. It illuminates large themes of history but also recovers little-known stories of the past. By asking how these maps were made—and why they mattered—this project unearths the spatial dimension of American history in an imaginative and visually engaging way.

[Grant products]

Project fields:
Geography; History, Other; U.S. History

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2017 – 6/30/2018


FZ-250584-17

Adam Goodheart
Washington College (Chestertown, MD 21620-1197)
1865: The Rebirth of a Nation

A history of the Civil War’s end that begins where others stop. The Confederacy surrenders and Lincoln dies on the very first page; the rest of 1865 draws on largely overlooked episodes of that year to bring to life emerging conflicts over what kind of America the victors and the vanquished would build amid the rubble.

A narrative history of the year in which the Civil War ended and a new conflict immediately began: the struggle over the war’s impact, legacy, and meaning. Many histories of the Civil War’s end exist, but this one begins where nearly all the others stop. The Confederacy surrenders and Lincoln dies on the very first page; the rest of “1865” tells the story of what followed. What kind of nation would the victors and the vanquished build amid the rubble? Would it be a reconstructed version of the one shattered in 1861, or rather – for better or worse – a new version of the American experiment? As with most civil wars, victory and defeat seemed intertwined. The ensuing struggle over redefinition engaged nearly all Americans: Northerners and Southerners; men and women; radicals and conservatives; tycoons and immigrants; African Americans, whites, and Natives. “1865,” which uses collage-like techniques to evoke the past, is a pendant to my 2011 book “1861: The Civil War Awakening.”

[Grant products]

Project fields:
U.S. History

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$50,400 (approved)
$43,050 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2017 – 12/31/2017


FZ-250602-16

Patrick Arden
Unaffiliated Independent Scholar
Stealing Home: A Tale of Two Yankee Stadiums

A narrative history of New York City as reflected in the old and new Yankee Stadiums. The book traces changes in public finance, ethnic politics, and the business of baseball.

"Stealing Home" (Macmillan) is a narrative history of New York City as reflected in the lives of the old and new Yankee Stadiums. The buildings' stories capture the evolution of New York over the last century as well as the changing business of baseball, public finance, and ethnic politics. The book unfolds as three narrative strands--the stories of the South Bronx, the Yankees, and City Hall--are braided into a saga of modern New York. The last half of the book focuses on the ways the preceding history shaped the city in the decade after 9/11, as it chronicles how the world's most expensive stadium project--built with the largest government subsidy ever for a sports arena--took public parkland from the nation's poorest Congressional district.

Project fields:
American Government; American Studies; Urban History

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2016 – 8/31/2017


FZ-250429-16

Matthew Klingle
Bowdoin College (Brunswick, ME 04011-8447)
Sweet Blood: Diabetes and the Nature of Health in America

Offering a new look at an illness afflicting over 29 million Americans, this book tells the environmental, cultural, political, and scientific history of diabetes in the United States from the Gilded Age to the present day.

“Sweet Blood: Diabetes and the Nature of Health in America,” under consideration by Yale University Press, is a path-breaking history of a major illness. Through incisive research and engaging storytelling, it explores how today’s crisis grows from our changing relationship with nature. It asks questions at the heart of the humanities: Who or what is to blame for the diabetes outbreak: human behavior, genetics and evolution, or an altered environment? Why has diabetes afflicted Americans unevenly, and should society address these inequities? And what connections between human nature and physical nature might promote and sustain health? The project illuminates these questions by examining the environmental, cultural, political, and scientific history of diabetes in the United States from the Gilded Age to the present day. In the process, this project argues for an expanded idea of what counts as the environment, an important contribution to address the diabetes epidemic.

[Grant products]

Project fields:
History and Philosophy of Science, Technology, and Medicine; History, Other; U.S. History

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2017 – 8/31/2018


FZ-250436-16

Paul Berman
Unaffiliated Independent Scholar
American Exceptionalism and the Cult of Hawthorne

A history of the concept of American exceptionalism, including its origins in the 19th-century New York magazine Democratic Review, its relationship with European Romanticism, and its surprising connections with such figures as John Hill Wheeler (ambassador to Nicaragua in the 1850s) and American novelist Nathaniel Hawthorne.

My project: to describe the origins of the grandiose version of American nationalism that is sometimes known as American exceptionalism -- the doctrine that attributes to America a destiny to lead the world from tyranny and oppression into the zone of democracy and prosperity. The doctrine, I will argue, began in New York magazines, 1830s-50s, with backward glances at Puritans and 1776, and was quite sophisticated (my big point). Comparisons to French and European writers will reveal a literary, philosophical and spiritual Romanticism, culminating in a cult of Hawthorne. The doctrine favored the 1848 revolutions. It was uncannily prophetic. And yet, for all its depth and self-critical impulses, it lent itself to atrocities in Latin America and pro-slavery fanaticism -- to be shown with a discussion of Nicaragua filibusters and Hannah Crafts' apposite slave narrative. In sum, American grandiose nationalism, in the beginning: a Hawthornean symbol, profound and ambiguous.

[Grant products]

Project fields:
American Studies; Comparative Literature; Intellectual History

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2017 – 12/31/2017


FZ-250484-16

John Ghazvinian
University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, PA 19104-6205)
Children of the Revolution: Iran and America since 1600

A new history of American relations with Iran from the 17th-century to the present. Treating topics ranging from Persian influences on early American colonists to 19th-century American missionary work in Iran and the experiences of American soldiers in Iran during World War II, the book is based on unprecedented access to Iranian archival sources.

Children of the Revolution, to be published by Knopf in 2017, is the first book to tell the story of America's long and complicated relationship with Iran using both Iranian and American archival sources. From 2007-2009, during the course of three research trips to Tehran, I was able to secure access to the official archives of Iran's Foreign Ministry--access never before given to a scholar from outside Iran. The information obtained during those trips has been combined with other Iranian and US archival sources, such as newspapers, oral histories, memoirs, etc. The result, when completed, will be a definitive new history of US-Iran relations, covering such topics as early colonial American impressions of Persia, 19th-century missionaries, the influence of Persian themes on Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, early American oil exploration in Iran, the experience of US GIs in Iran in WWII, the 1953 coup, the 1979-81 hostage crisis, and recent disputes over Iran's nuclear program.

[Grant products]

Project fields:
Diplomatic History; International Relations; Near and Middle Eastern History

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2016 – 8/31/2017


FZ-250489-16

Saundra Amrhein
Unaffiliated Independent Scholar
Cuba's Chords of Change: The Journey of a Mother, Son, and Piano through a Nation's Transformation

A one-of-a-kind portrait of contemporary Cuba, this is the true story of an Afro-Cuban mother loyal to the Cuban Revolution of her youth and her piano prodigy son, whose career suffers with the revolution’s decline.

My book project will give readers a rare look inside the everyday lives of Cubans experiencing a societal and cultural change both gradual and dramatic. At the heart of the book is a compelling life story. Violeta Aldama is an Afro-Cuban fidelista, whose son is a child prodigy on the piano in a country brimming with world-class musical talent. The book tracks Violeta’s desperate efforts to help her son into a music career as the social landscape transforms and this old believer faces her own crisis of faith in the system. Through Violeta’s story, the book focuses on Afro-Cuban families struggling to find their place, meaning and survival in Cuba’s new divide between the “haves” and “have-nots.” The project explores larger questions in the humanities about the breakdown of civic trust in a national crisis, the remaking of social, racial and personal identity, and the ways music acts as an expression and engine of social change, and also as a platform upon which people build new lives.

Project fields:
Ethnic Studies; Ethnomusicology; Latin American History

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2016 – 8/31/2017


FZ-250499-16

Erik Gellman
Roosevelt University (Chicago, IL 60605-1394)
Troublemakers: Chicago Freedom Struggles through the Lens of Art Shay

Combining analysis of the northern civil rights movement with hundreds of unpublished images by documentary photographer Art Shay, the book makes visible the complex history of black migration, urban crisis, and political activism in postwar Chicago.

Troublemakers: Chicago Freedom Struggles through the Lens of Art Shay fuses photography and historical narrative to explain how, a half-century ago, racial and economic inequalities gave rise to a pitched struggle to define the terms of democracy in the modern American city. Troublemakers will feature 190 never-before-published images of a complex and dynamic metropolis captured by one of America’s most accomplished photographers. These photographs will accompany a series of essays grounded in archival and secondary research that complicates – and even upends – the morality tales and popular memory of freedom struggles during the three decades following the Second World War. In print and online, Troublemakers will provide a synthetic textual and visual narrative of American urban history and protest politics that speaks to the dramatic efforts, past and present, to end the urban crisis for the common good.

Project fields:
Arts, Other; U.S. History; Urban History

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$37,800 (approved)
$37,800 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2016 – 5/31/2017


FZ-250519-16

Leah Price
Harvard University (Cambridge, MA 02138-3800)
People of the Book: How Understanding the Printed Past Can Shape Our Digital Future

Drawing on historical materials as well as interviews in places ranging from libraries and homeless shelters to hospitals, this book explores  the past and future of reading in the United States. How and why have Americans developed the range of beliefs they hold about the power of books?

Do books have a future? Does reading? This book asks what Americans who worry about those two questions -- and who wonder about the relation between them -- can learn from the history of competing and often conflicting uses to which print has been put. It asks more specifically why, after centuries of expert warnings that reading is hazardous to health and morals, around the turn of the millennium many of those same Americans began to believe that reading (especially in print, of literature) would improve their civic, emotional and even medical well-being. What's lost and gained in our newfound faith that engaging with books will save a self or a society? To answer those questions, I draw on archival research in book history, bibliography and literary criticism as well as on interviews with present-day readers in a range of settings (from libraries to homeless shelters, prisons and hospitals).

Project fields:
Literature, General; Media Studies; U.S. History

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
3/1/2017 – 2/28/2018


FZ-250529-16

Jack N. Rakove
Stanford University (Stanford, CA 94305-2004)
The Ticklish Experiment: A Political History of the Constitution

A history of  the Constitution and its connections to  American politics and governance from 1789 to the present. The book focuses on three main themes: changing relations between the presidency and Congress, the influence of economic and social interest groups, and the rise of rights-based claims in the courts.

The purpose of this project is to write an interpretive history of the U.S. Constitution, from its initial implementation in 1789 to the current state of the polity. This interpretation would emphasize the political dimensions of the American constitutional system, rather than the development of its many doctrines of constitutional law. It would pursue three main themes: (1) the relation between the political branches of the executive and Congress, and the working of the different "systems" of political parties; (2) the ways in which clusters of interests in society have sought to mobilize both national and state governments for their own purposes; and (3) the rights-based claims made by different individuals and interests that have often sought to mobilize the workings of the judiciary for their own ends. Each of these themes would be examined within a set of chronologically-determined segments of roughly five to six decades each: 1789-1850, 1850-1901, 1901-1965, and 1965-2016.

Project fields:
American Government; U.S. History

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2016 – 8/31/2017


FZ-250440-16

Julia Flynn Siler
Unaffiliated Independent Scholar
The White Devil's Daughters: The Women Who Fought Slavery in San Francisco's Chinatown

Focusing on the relationship between a white social reformer and a Chinese immigrant forced into slavery as a young girl, the book chronicles human trafficking in San Francisco's Chinatown as well as the broader history of Chinese immigration and exclusion in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Daughters of Joy is a narrative history of a struggle against sexual slavery in turn-of-the-century San Francisco. Set in the underworld of San Francisco's Chinatown, this book will reveal the grim details and the evolution of this criminal practice. The story is told through a decades-long partnership between two women, Tien Wu, a Chinese woman who was sold into domestic servitude as a child, and Dolly Cameron, who came from a prominent Scottish family. This unlikely pair ran a rescue home in San Francisco called the Occidental Mission Home for Girls where they saved thousands of young Asian women from slavery, more than anyone else in late nineteenth and early twentieth century America. Based on extensive archival research, this book will explore a little-known aspect of the American experience and is intended for general readers. It will directly connect humanities scholarship, in the form of narrative history, to a contemporary issue: the modern fight against human trafficking.

[Grant products][Media coverage]

Project fields:
American Studies; U.S. History; Women's History

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
10/1/2016 – 9/30/2017


FZ-250455-16

Lauren Rebecca Sklaroff
University of South Carolina, Columbia (Columbia, SC 29208-0001)
Red Hot Mama: The Life of Sophie Tucker

The first full-length biography of singer, comedian, and entertainer Sophie Tucker (1887-1966), telling the story of her life, her fifty-year career in American show business, and the challenges she posed to conventional views of race, religion, and femininity.

This project is the first in-depth biography of performer Sophie Tucker. While she was a gutsy, racy, song-belting stage performer, her influence extended far beyond the sequins, wigs, and innuendos. She would have been proud to be a reference point for modern comediennes like Bette Midler and Joan Rivers--or to have her signature song, "Some of These Days," appear in the pilot for the hit show, Boardwalk Empire--but her cultural influence goes much deeper. Known among celebrities and audiences as a “Yiddishe Mama,” Tucker worked to create unity among various faiths in her appearances and charity work. Dedicated to social justice, she advocated for African Americans in the entertainment industry and cultivated friendships with leading black activists and performers over her five decade career.

[Grant products]

Project fields:
Arts, General; Cultural History; Media Studies

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2016 – 8/31/2017


FZ-250480-16

W. Caleb McDaniel
Rice University (Houston, TX 77005-1827)
Sweet Taste of Liberty: A True Story of Slavery and Restitution in America

The story of Henrietta Wood, an African American woman who won reparations in federal court from her former enslavers. Emancipated twice, her life covered a century of slavery, freedom, and strained race relations from her birth in Kentucky in 1818 to her death in Chicago in 1912.

A Case of Reparations is the first book to tell the story of Henrietta Wood, a black woman who sued one of her former enslavers in federal court in the 1870s and won. Born enslaved in Kentucky in 1818 but manumitted in Cincinnati in 1848, Wood was kidnapped and sold back into slavery in 1853. Wood was sold again in 1855 to a Mississippi planter, who took her to Texas in 1863 to prevent her emancipation during the Civil War. She returned to Ohio in 1869 and filed a $20,000 suit against her kidnapper, Zebulon Ward. A decade later, in the twilight of Reconstruction, a jury awarded Wood $2,500 in damages. By narrating the stories of Wood, Ward, and Wood's son, who became a lawyer in twentieth-century Chicago, this book uses an individual case to explore what emancipated black Americans won, and did not win, from the Civil War and Reconstruction. It also demonstrates both the promise and the limits of individual slave reparations as Americans continue to debate them in the present.

[Grant products][Prizes]

Project fields:
African American History; Asian American Studies; U.S. History

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2016 – 8/31/2017


FZ-250414-16

Costica Bradatan
Texas Tech University (Lubbock, TX 79409-0006)
In Praise of Failure

Offering a series of biographical essays on historical figures and their failures, the book explains how living with failure adds meaning to life.  The figures to be treated include Diogenes, E.M. Cioran, Gandhi, Che Guevara, and Yukio Mishima.

"In Praise of Failure" (under contract with Harvard University Press) makes the argument that, because of our culture’s obsession with success, we miss something important about what it means to be human, and deny ourselves access to a deeper, more meaningful layer of our humanity. A sense of what we are in the grand scheme of things, an openness towards the unknown and the mysterious, humility and reverence towards that which transcends and overwhelms us, the wisdom that comes from knowledge of one’s limits, the sense of personal redefining and self-fashioning that results from an encounter with a major obstacle – these are some of the rewards that a proper grasp of failure could bring about. Using a mix of phenomenology, intellectual history, biography, and cultural hermeneutics, the book proposes the notion that not only can we live with failure, we can also flourish; not only doesn’t failure kill us, but it can help us live more meaningful lives.

[Grant products]

Project fields:
History of Philosophy; Interdisciplinary Studies, General

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2017 – 5/31/2018


FZ-250287-16

Charles E. King
Georgetown University (Washington, DC 20057-0001)
The Humanity Lab: A Story of Race, Culture, and the Promise of an American Idea

A book on anthropologist Franz Boas (1848-1942) and the role of his jazz-age New York circle in developing the revolutionary view of social customs in "foreign" cultures that came to be known as cultural relativism. The project addresses the resulting transformation in popular attitudes about race, sexuality, and gender over the last century.

The Humanity Lab is a work of intellectual and social history centered on a small band of contrarian social scientists working in jazz-age New York. Led by pioneering anthropologist Franz Boas and including such critical figures as Margaret Mead and Ruth Benedict, this group pioneered a way of seeing the world that is only now coming into broad acceptance. Together, they were puzzling through the details of the theory they would come to call “cultural relativism.” The starting point was the idea that no social customs were advanced or retrograde, higher or lower. Each was, instead, a locally specific solution to some common human problem--an insight that stands alongside many of the great scientific advances of the 20th century. The project addresses the transformation in popular attitudes about race, sexuality, gender, and "foreign" customs over the last century and will result in a single-author book published by a commercial press and aimed at the serious general reader.

[Grant products]

Project fields:
History, General; Interdisciplinary Studies, General; Social Sciences, General

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$50,400 (approved)
$40,320 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2017 – 8/31/2018


FZ-250334-16

Jeremy David Popkin
University of Kentucky (Lexington, KY 40506-0001)
The History of the French Revolution: A New World Begins

A new comprehensive history of the French Revolution for general readers. It will incorporate recent scholarship on contemporaneous debates concerning the rights of women and black slavery, explaining how they were essential to the Revolution while also placing the whole era in a broad global context.

"Free and Equal" will be the first comprehensive history of the French Revolution addressed to general readers in the English-speaking world in a generation. My aim is to bring this great historical drama alive for a broad audience, and to introduce them to the new perspectives on the Revolution that have emerged from the past several decades of new scholarship on the subject. In "Free and Equal," readers will encounter the debates about the rights of women and black slavery that were essential aspects of the Revolution, and see how they change our understanding of traditional topics such as the drafting of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen and the Reign of Terror. My book will treat the French Revolution in a global perspective, emphasizing, for example, that the sweeping reform plans introduced by French ministers in 1787 coincided with the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, called to deal with the perceived weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation.

[Grant products]

Project fields:
European History

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$50,400 (approved)
$38,175 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2017 – 12/31/2017


FZ-250348-16

Brenda Wineapple
Unaffiliated Independent Scholar
The Impeachers and America

The political circumstances of President Andrew Johnson's impeachment in 1868 are in the history books, but what was the reaction to it beyond the halls of Congress? This book explores American thought at the time about impeachment and the future of the republic, drawing on a wide range of sources including the cartoons of Thomas Nast and the writings of  Walt Whitman, Mark Twain, and reformer Lydia Maria Child.

In 1868, the House of Representatives voted to impeach the sitting president, Andrew Johnson. Never before had such an event occurred in America, and it remains an extraordinary moment about which we know far too little. My project studies the impeachment proceeding and its major participants, both for and against, in Congress and on the street, especially in the South, to determine what happened and why. To many, the outcome, acquittal by one vote, squandered the result of the recent war insofar as the war aimed to secure equal rights for all; to others it protected the executive from political chicanery. In a sense, both are true. But the country stood at a crossroads, which included a path to justice, one insufficiently argued, or that was not yet seen for what it was: fair and decent. And so impeachment's ramifications helped shape our definition of Reconstruction (itself not adequately understood) and the racial politics of the next century, and our own.

Project fields:
American Studies; U.S. History

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$50,400 (approved)
$43,050 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2016 – 8/31/2017


FZ-250361-16

Gayle Feldman
Unaffiliated Independent Scholar
Bennett Cerf: The Man Who Published America: A Biography

In 1927 Bennett Cerf and a colleague founded Random House, which published many of the most prominent American authors of the 20th century, from William Faulkner to Dr. Seuss. This biography will tell the story of Cerf's life, which straddled high culture and mass entertainment: not only did he profoundly shape the course of  American publishing, he was also a celebrity thanks to his slot on the popular television show "What's My Line?"

At a time when digital disruption and globalization are reshaping book culture, presenting new challenges and new opportunities, this biography-cum-history, an independent work of scholarship, focuses on the life of Bennett Cerf (1898-1971), asserting that he was the greatest American publisher of the 20th century. It examines how Cerf’s story and that of Random House, the company he co-founded, inform American culture today. How did he build the preeminent publishing house, a living force able to fight successfully to publish Ulysses, that went on to encompass Faulkner and Dr. Seuss, Capote and Ayn Rand, Portnoy’s Complaint and Rosemary’s Baby, Knopf and Pantheon and the Modern Library? There has never been a biography of Cerf, a man who straddled culture both high and mass, through books – those he published and those he wrote - magazines, TV, Hollywood and Broadway. Why is it that this most “public” of American publishers is so forgotten today? A reassessment is long overdue.

Project fields:
American Studies; Cultural History; Literature, General

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2016 – 8/31/2017


FZ-250371-16

Thomas Joseph Healy
Seton Hall University (South Orange, NJ 07079-2697)
Soul City -- The Lost Dream of an American Utopia

Soul City, North Carolina, a community founded in 1969 by civil rights leader Floyd McKissick, was designed to serve as a model of black economic empowerment. This book tells the story of the city and its eventual demise in 1979, asking what this failed experiment tells us about the struggle to provide economic opportunity for all Americans.

This is a book about Soul City, N.C., an experimental community founded by civil rights leader Floyd McKissick in 1969. Located on a former slave plantation in one of the poorest areas of the country, Soul City was designed to ease overcrowding in the ghettos of the north and serve as a model of black economic empowerment. Although supported by the Nixon Administration, the city ran into opposition from conservatives who viewed it as a form of welfarism and from liberals who worried about its separatist implications. Caught between these two forces and hampered by a weak economy, Soul City struggled to fulfill its potential and was eventually shut down in 1979. Today it is a twentieth century ghost town. My book will tell the story of Soul City’s rise and fall, exploring the political, social, and economic factors that led to its demise. It will also consider what Soul City’s failure tells us about the continuing struggle to provide economic opportunity for all Americans.

Project fields:
African American History; Legal History; U.S. History

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2017 – 12/31/2017


FZ-250372-16

Amy Sophia Greenberg
Pennsylvania State University (University Park, PA 16802-1503)
"Mrs. President": Sarah Childress Polk and Women's Political Power before the Vote

The first full-length biography of Sarah Childress Polk (1803-1891), wife of United States President James K. Polk. Mrs. President explains how Polk wielded a degree of political authority unprecedented at the time for a woman, and more broadly considers the workings of female political power in nineteenth-century America.

In a period when women were both disenfranchised and supposedly “unfit” for both politics and business, Sarah Childress Polk (1803-1891) exercised an unprecedented degree of political authority as “Mrs. President,” the wife, political partner, and personal secretary of the eleventh president of the United States. My narrative biography of the first political First Lady, under contract with Alfred A. Knopf Press, is the first full-length biography about a public figure whose experience harnessing the power of submission holds the potential to transform reigning historical narratives about female power before the franchise, and the role of women in American presidential politics.

[Grant products]

Project fields:
U.S. History

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2016 – 8/31/2017


FZ-250386-16

Natalia Molina
University of California, San Diego (La Jolla, CA 92093-0013)
Place-Makers and Place-Making: The Story of a Los Angeles Community

A history of the Echo Park neighborhood of Los Angeles, the book will highlight the role of six largely Mexican-owned restaurants and their clientele (including movie stars, baseball players, boxers, activists, musicians, and artists) in building a community for immigrants in the 1950s and 1960s. The book will also address gentrification and the loss of historical memory it often entails. 

For decades, outsiders dismissed Echo Park, a neighborhood in the heart of Los Angeles, as just another barrio, dirty and dangerous. In the last ten years, gentrification has transformed it into a trendy, hipster zone. Neither label captures Echo Park’s unique reality as a crossroads where a variety of communities intersected with the wider cosmopolitan city. "Placemakers" examines a century of change in Echo Park’s diverse history. At the heart of the book is an in-depth look at six Echo Park restaurants during the 1950s and 60s that served to form community and preserve memory. "Placemakers" will open new dialogues focusing on the immigrant, urban, multicultural experience, social relations and political structures. These dialogues are urgently relevant for every American neighborhood struggling to maintain its history and identity in the face of the transformational and history-erasing force of gentrification and displacement.

Project fields:
Immigration History; Latino History; Urban Studies

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2017 – 6/30/2018


FZ-250278-16

Christopher Benfey
Mount Holyoke College (South Hadley, MA 01075-1461)
Kipling's Ark: The Making and Unmaking of an American Writer

A study of the Nobel-prize-winning British writer Rudyard Kipling’s engagement with the United States, especially during four years he spent living in Vermont. By focusing on Kipling's "American decade" (1889-99), the book will provide a fresh perspective on Kipling's life and works, as well as on the American Gilded Age. 

From 1890 to 1920 and beyond, Rudyard Kipling was the most popular writer in the world, winning a Nobel Prize in 1907, but his reputation has suffered a strange eclipse. “Kipling’s Ark: The Making and Unmaking of an American Writer” seeks to address a conspicuous lacuna in efforts to make sense of Kipling’s varied career. Kipling’s intense engagement with the United States—on a personal, political, and aesthetic level—has never received the attention it deserves. The central focus of my book is Kipling’s American decade, extending from 1889 to 1899, with special attention to his four-year sojourn in Vermont. Seven individual chapters, blending narrative with essayistic elaboration, will address key moments and encounters during the decade, while also offering a fresh perspective—Kipling’s own—on the American Gilded Age, the subject of four previous trade books I have published.

[Grant products]

Project fields:
American Studies; Literary Criticism; Literature, General

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2016 – 8/31/2017


FZ-231666-16

Carla Kaplan
Northeastern University (Boston, MA 02115-5005)
Queen of the Muckrakers: The Life and Times of Jessica Mitford (1917-1996)

A book-length study of a social activist whose writing and organizing activities challenged the conventions of her age.

This is the first major book to examine the life, writing, and influence of Jessica Mitford, a woman who walked away from British aristocracy to eventually revitalize muckraking: one of the oldest forms of American narrative advocacy. Mitford’s three distinct life phases as a peer’s daughter, a communist, and a successful writer were all defined by dogged efforts to shed the precepts of her class and learn to empathize and identify with society’s least empowered. At the center of American civil rights struggles in Oakland, she crossed America’s intransigent color line, anticipating the “New Abolitionist” critique of race and prisons by two decades. Beginning with her 1963 blockbuster The American Way of Death, (an exposé of the funeral industry’s exploitation of the poor), Mitford’s writing re-introduced, and radicalized, Gilded Age ideas of civic responsibility in ways which continue to impact contemporary debates over social inequality, whistle blowing, and the ethics of writing.

[Grant products]

Project fields:
American Literature; American Studies; Cultural History

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2016 – 6/30/2017


FZ-231734-16

Anne Boyd Rioux
University of New Orleans (New Orleans, LA 70148-0001)
Reading Little Women: The History of an American Classic

Research and writing of a comprehensive study of Little Women, including elements of memoir, literary criticism, historical context, and literary biography, in commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the novel's publication.

To commemorate the 150th anniversary of the publication of Little Women, I am writing a "biography of the book"—a variety of literary nonfiction that combines elements of (biblio)memoir, literary criticism, historical context, and literary biography—in order to illuminate for a nonspecialist audience how the novel was written and why it endures. The time is ripe to reassess the novel’s significance, as it appears on the Common Core Standards reading list for grades 6-8, a new film is in the works from Sony Pictures, and we appear to be on the verge of the first viable women's candidacy for president by Hillary Clinton, one of the many women who has declared that Jo March was her greatest influence growing up. (Others include Ruth Bader Ginsberg, J. K. Rowling, and Patti Smith.) This book will examine the novel's significance as a feminist and an American literary classic, examining how much girls may still need it today and arguing that it should be read by men and women of all ages.

[Grant products]

Project fields:
American Literature

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2016 – 12/31/2016


FZ-231455-16

James H. Rubin
SUNY Research Foundation, Stony Brook (Stony Brook, NY 11794-0001)
Why Monet Matters, or Meanings Among the Lily Pads

The writing of a book placing the well-known art of a popular artist in literary, cultural, historical, and philosophical context to deepen understanding and appreciation of modern art in general.

Few painters are as famous as the great French Impressionist Claude Monet. He is a staple of the museum exhibition circuit, and few masters bring higher prices. His house and gardens in France, with their placid lily ponds, are among the most visited sites in Europe. Using this popularity to attract the widest audience, the book will offer ways of thinking beyond surfaces when looking at modern art. Monet’s Water Lilies appear above all to be a call to visual experience. Their scale and aesthetic presence suspend thoughts of the outside world and its conflicts. Yet when one realizes that these works were made in a period of social and political turmoil-regime changes, the Dreyfus Affair, and WW I—questions must arise about the context—personal, cultural, and historical—in which an artist creates such sumptuous fantasies of nature. By revealing those conditions, it is possible show how Monet’s work—a harbinger of American abstraction—appeals to something deep in modern consciousness.

[Grant products]

Project fields:
Aesthetics; Art History and Criticism; Cultural History

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2016 – 12/31/2016


FZ-231571-16

Mark Allan Clague
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1382)
O Say Can You Hear?: A Tuneful Cultural History of "The Star-Spangled Banner"

A cultural and musical history of the national anthem composed by Francis Scott Key.

The story of "The Star-Spangled Banner" is the story of the United States of America, yet many know little about the song and what is known is usually distorted by myth and misinformation. My book project—O Say Can You Hear? A Tuneful Cultural History of "The Star-Spangled Banner"—will share the forgotten musical history of Francis Scott Key's song and reveal how the song's story presents a surprising social history of the United States. It will be the first to reveal the full story of the anthem's music: how the version we think of as traditional today, grew over the song's first century. Similarly, Key's now famous lyric was just one of hundreds of American patriotic and protest songs written to this melody. Key's artistry thus offers all U.S. citizens the chance to examine what it means to be American. This book will inspire readers to answer Key's lyrical question for themselves—to show that like the song, America's democratic experiment is always in the process of becoming.

[Media coverage]

Project fields:
American Studies; Music History and Criticism; U.S. History

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2016 – 5/31/2017


FZ-231572-16

Thomas George Andrews
University of Colorado, Boulder (Boulder, CO 80302-7046)
Animals in the History of the United States

The research and writing of a book-length study of the human-animal relationship within the context of changes in broader American culture and life.

An Animals’ History of the United States, under contract with Harvard University Press, presents a path-breaking view of human-animal relationships in U.S. history. Using incisive research, accessible prose, and gripping storytelling, it asks the following questions: How have animals shaped our nation? Where did our contemporary ideas about animals come from? What can we learn about the origins and evolution of the seemingly contradictory practices through which we interact with the creatures we categorize as pets, livestock, wildlife, laboratory subjects, spectacles, and so forth? This project seeks to illuminate these questions by examining the past six centuries of human-animal relationships in what is now the U.S. The resulting work of public scholarship will offer an animals’-eye view of U. S. history since 1400. In the process, this project will make an important contribution to ongoing debates over how we think about and act toward non-human beings.

Project fields:
History, Other; U.S. History

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2016 – 12/31/2016


FZ-231582-15

Sarah Crawford Dry
Unaffiliated Independent Scholar
Water World: How the Sciences of Water Went Global

A book-length history of global knowledge about climate and water spanning more than a century and a half and based on a wide array of scientific disciplines, including meteorology, oceanography, atmospheric sciences, and glaciology.

Water World: How the Sciences of Water Went Global describes 150 years in the history of the sciences of water. Spanning meteorology, oceanography, atmospheric sciences and glaciology, the book tells the history of our global understanding of climate and water. Few specialist books on this important subject exist, fewer still for general readers. By spanning more than a century and a half and covering a wide array of scientific disciplines, Water World aims to give readers a firm understanding of how global knowledge about climate has been made in different scientific fields. Each chapter places a unique moment, individual and place in studies of water, ice and vapor in the wider social, political and cultural context of its time. Rich archival sources, including interviews with living participants, enable me to construct a gripping and well-paced narrative history of landmark moments in the generation of a global awareness of the earth’s climate.

[Grant products]

Project fields:
History of Science

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
10/1/2015 – 9/30/2016


FZ-231630-15

Noah Isenberg
New School (New York, NY 10011-8871)
Everybody Comes to Rick's: How "Casablanca" Taught Us to Love Movies

A book-length exploration of Casablanca's iconic status in American cinematic history.

"Everybody Comes to Rick’s" (under contract with W.W. Norton in the U.S.and Faber & Faber in the U.K.) is fueled by a profound desire to understand what makes a single film so unusually captivating, so enduring, and such a worldwide phenomenon--what makes it, in the eyes of Umberto Eco, not simply a stand-alone production, but somehow representative of all "movies." Through extensive research and reporting, conducting a vast array of interviews with film scholars and professionals, screenwriters and directors, relatives of the cast and crew, and also with the fans themselves, I wish to answer this question. Along the way, I seek to tell a lively, intense, and engaging story whose register of meaning far transcends the mere plot-lines of the film and taps into our continued fascination with motion pictures as a means of self-understanding. The project aims to broaden and complicate received wisdom concerning the film and to provide original insights for a new generation of viewers.

[Grant products][Media coverage]

Project fields:
Film History and Criticism; History, Criticism, and Theory of the Arts; Interdisciplinary Studies, General

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$42,000 (approved)
$42,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
10/1/2015 – 7/31/2016


FZ-231633-15

Bette Talvacchia
University of Connecticut (Storrs, CT 06269-9000)
The Two Michelangelos

A comparative analysis of the major protagonists of Renaissance and Baroque art, Michelangelo Buonarroti and Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio.

I propose to complete research for and write a book entitled The Two Michelangelos. The volume will offer targeted discussions, which can be thought of as case studies, exploring works by the major protagonists of Renaissance and Baroque art, Michelangelo Buonarroti and Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio. My intent is first and foremost to give access to the meaning of the art itself, getting as close as possible to the original circumstances of the making and reception of the works. A particular focus will be on how each artist employed the human body as a conveyor of meaning. I will present the information conversationally, through a narrative that shares the approach of a good detective story, outlining questions and then looking for clues to solve mysteries. The individual cases explored will be carefully chosen so that they in turn become keys for unlocking larger historical problems, whose answers have enduring meaning for our own culture.

Project fields:
Art History and Criticism; Gender Studies; Renaissance Studies

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
10/1/2015 – 9/30/2016


FZ-231645-15

Phillips Payson O'Brien
University of Glasgow (Glasgow G12 8QQ United Kingdom)
The Second Most Powerful Man in the World: Adm. William D. Leahy (1875-1959), Statecraft and the Shaping of the Modern World

A biography of the first chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the only person in U.S. history to hold the job of Chief of Staff to the Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy, serving both Roosevelt and Truman from 1942 to 1949.

This project will result in a much-needed biographical and political study of the second most powerful man in American strategic decision-making between 1942 and 1949, Admiral William D. Leahy. He was the first chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the only person in US history to hold the job of Chief of staff to the Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy. Leahy’s unique place in the American decision making structure is worthy of a new detailed study. Leahy was the only individual to serve continuously during this remarkable seven year period, advising Presidents Roosevelt and Truman on the most sensitive and important international (and at times national) policy matters while serving as the single most important conduit of information between the White House, the armed services, the State Department and the intelligence agencies. He provides an excellent example of the difference between real and perceived power.

Project fields:
History, General

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2016 – 8/31/2017


FZ-231656-15

Timothy K. Beal
Case Western Reserve University (Cleveland, OH 44106-4901)
Revelation: A Biography

A cultural history of the New Testament book of Revelation, describing how the book was created and has been reinterpreted and reinvented over the years.

A cultural history of the New Testament book of Revelation and the apocalyptic imaginations it has fueled, telling the story of the many, often wildly contradictory lives of this strangely familiar, sometimes horrifying, sometimes inspiring biblical vision. It is the story of how Revelation keeps becoming something new, reinventing itself, taking on new forms of life in the hearts and minds and imaginations of those who become its hosts. The book will be published by Princeton University Press in the trade series, "Lives of Great Religious Books," which publishes books by leading authors and scholars for general audiences.

[Grant products][Media coverage]

Project fields:
Cultural History; Religion, General; Religion, Other

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$29,400 (approved)
$29,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2016 – 7/31/2016


FZ-231476-15

Andrew S. Curran
Wesleyan University (Middletown, CT 06459-3208)
French Enlightenment Philosopher and Critic Denis Diderot (1713-1784): The Art of Thinking Freely

The writing of a biography of 18th-century thinker Denis Diderot, a peer of Voltaire and Rousseau and leading contributor to the world's first comprehensive encyclopedia.

The French Enlightenment philosopher and critic Denis Diderot (1713-84) dreamt of natural selection before Darwin, the Oedipus complex before Freud, and genetic manipulation centuries before Dolly the Sheep was born. Overshadowed by Voltaire and Jean-Jacques Rousseau during his lifetime, Diderot was nonetheless his era’s most dynamic and versatile writer, engaging with and writing on virtually all of his century’s forbidden subjects, including the (non-biblical) origin of the human species, the sexual abuse endured by nuns, as well as the race science underpinning the extremely profitable slave trade. This profoundly intriguing scientific and literary career, and the life that was its backdrop, are the subject of a “public scholar" intellectual biography that I am proposing to the NEH for funding.

Project fields:
European History; French Literature; History, Criticism, and Theory of the Arts

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$46,200 (approved)
$46,200 (awarded)

Grant period:
10/1/2015 – 8/31/2016


FZ-231482-15

Kembrew McLeod
University of Iowa (Iowa City, IA 52242-1320)
The Pop Underground: Downtown New York’s Converging Arts Scenes in the 1960s and 1970s

A book-length study of the social networks that connected the art, writing, film, theater, fashion, and music movements in lower Manhattan during the 1960s and 70s.

The Pop Underground is the first book to provide a thorough account of the interlocking arts scenes that thrived in Lower Manhattan (i.e., “downtown”) during the 1960s and 1970s. Even though these art, writing, film, theater, fashion, and music movements have each been well-documented, this project breaks new ground with its holistic approach. Using interview and archival research methods, it maps the social networks that developed downtown, where artists used DIY (Do It Yourself) media in innovative ways. This contributed to the development of what media scholars refer to as “participatory culture”—which enables everyday people to make and distribute their own creations. The most recent example of this mode of media production is “Web 2.0,” but the origins of that DIY approach can be traced back to those downtown arts scenes. It was a unique period when offbeat artists, gonzo musicians, and other outsiders used indie media to remake popular culture in their own image.

Project fields:
Art History and Criticism; Communications; Communications; Music History and Criticism

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2016 – 5/31/2017


FZ-231501-15

Malinda Maynor Lowery
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (Chapel Hill, NC 27599-1350)
The Lumbee Indians: An American Struggle

A book-length exploration of the importance of Native peoples in American history, and in particular how the history of the largest Indian tribe east of the Mississippi spotlights the struggle to reconcile religious and cultural differences within our own borders and in engagements all over the globe.

"The Lumbee Indians, An American Struggle" explores the integral place of Native people, specifically the Lumbees, to the narratives of American history and how Native stories change the American past that we think we know. The Lumbees are the largest Native American tribe east of the Mississippi and the ninth largest in the nation. With Lumbees at the center of U.S. and Southern history, those narratives become even more dramatic, intense, and compelling. The Lumbee story is in many ways a microcosm of the Southern United States; its moments of crisis offer constant surprises even to those who are familiar with the region's ambiguous power dynamics. The manuscript is currently under advance contract with the University of North Carolina Press.

[Grant products][Media coverage]

Project fields:
American Studies; Native American Studies; U.S. History

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2015 – 8/31/2016


FZ-231520-15

Jennifer G. Tucker
Wesleyan University (Middletown, CT 06459-3208)
Caught on Camera: A History of Photographic Detection and Evasion

A book-length study of the development of photographic detection, surveillance, and evasion from the 19th century to the present.

"Caught on Camera" will chart the historical transformation of photographic detection, surveillance, and evasion from the 19th century to today. It spans photography's early uses in the capture of facial likenesses through the rise of today's sophisticated facial recognition systems. The book explores how the threats to individual privacy and identity posed by corporate and state surveillance techniques were confronted by earlier generations. From the mugshot to Big Brother, from the family album to the selfie, photography has served both as a source of empowerment and social control. Written in an accessible style for a general reader, the book will demonstrate how study of the past can shed new light on contemporary debates over a topic of public concern. It will contribute to the humanities by integrating modes of analysis that are often disparate, combining the history of science and technology with political history, legal studies, social and cultural history, and visual studies.