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Funded Projects Query Form
75 matches

Program: Public Scholar Program*
Date range: 2017-2019
Sort order: Award year, descending

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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.

Project fields:
Art History and Criticism; Classics

Program:
Public Scholar Program

Division:
Research Programs

Total amounts:
$50,000 (approved)
$50,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2020 – 6/30/2021


FZ-266940-19

Holly Brubach
Unknown institution

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 Scholar Program

Division:
Research Programs

Total amounts:
$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2019 – 8/31/2020


FZ-266872-19

Erica Westly
Unknown institution

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 Scholar Program

Division:
Research Programs

Total amounts:
$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 Scholar Program

Division:
Research Programs

Total amounts:
$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2020 – 8/31/2021


FZ-266880-19

Jennifer Vanderbes
Unknown institution

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 Scholar Program

Division:
Research Programs

Total amounts:
$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 Scholar Program

Division:
Research Programs

Total amounts:
$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.

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

Program:
Public Scholar Program

Division:
Research Programs

Total amounts:
$45,000 (approved)
$45,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
12/1/2019 – 8/31/2020


FZ-266948-19

Peter Manseau
Unknown institution

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 Scholar Program

Division:
Research Programs

Total amounts:
$30,000 (approved)
$30,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2019 – 8/31/2020


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 Scholar Program

Division:
Research Programs

Total amounts:
$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2020 – 12/31/2020


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.

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

Program:
Public Scholar Program

Division:
Research Programs

Total amounts:
$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.

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

Program:
Public Scholar Program

Division:
Research Programs

Total amounts:
$60,000 (approved)
$55,500 (awarded)

Grant period:
5/1/2020 – 4/30/2021


FZ-266906-19

Alison Grace Macor
Unknown institution

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 Scholar Program

Division:
Research Programs

Total amounts:
$30,000 (approved)
$30,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2019 – 2/29/2020


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.

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

Program:
Public Scholar Program

Division:
Research Programs

Total amounts:
$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2019 – 8/31/2020


FZ-266632-19

Steve Kemper
Unknown institution

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 Scholar Program

Division:
Research Programs

Total amounts:
$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 Scholar Program

Division:
Research Programs

Total amounts:
$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2019 – 8/31/2020


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 Scholar Program

Division:
Research Programs

Total amounts:
$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2019 – 12/31/2019


FZ-261345-18

Frank Lee Holt
University of Houston (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.

[Media coverage]

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

Program:
Public Scholar Program

Division:
Research Programs

Total amounts:
$45,000 (approved)
$45,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2018 – 5/31/2019


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 Scholar Program

Division:
Research Programs

Total amounts:
$50,000 (approved)
$50,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2018 – 8/31/2019


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 Scholar Program

Division:
Research Programs

Total amounts:
$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2019 – 6/30/2020


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 Scholar Program

Division:
Research Programs

Total amounts:
$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2018 – 8/31/2019


FZ-261342-18

Tom Dunkel
Unknown institution

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). Research and writing leading to publication of a book 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 Scholar Program

Division:
Research Programs

Total amounts:
$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 Scholar Program

Division:
Research Programs

Total amounts:
$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2019 – 12/31/2019


FZ-261349-18

Kevin Sack
Unknown institution

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 Scholar Program

Division:
Research Programs

Total amounts:
$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2019 – 12/31/2019


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.

Project fields:
Metaphysics

Program:
Public Scholar Program

Division:
Research Programs

Total amounts:
$55,000 (approved)
$55,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2019 – 7/31/2020


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 Scholar Program

Division:
Research Programs

Total amounts:
$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2018 – 8/31/2019


FZ-261376-18

Thomas F. Madden
St. 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 Scholar Program

Division:
Research Programs

Total amounts:
$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 Scholar Program

Division:
Research Programs

Total amounts:
$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 Scholar Program

Division:
Research Programs

Total amounts:
$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 Scholar Program

Division:
Research Programs

Total amounts:
$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2019 – 12/31/2019


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 Scholar Program

Division:
Research Programs

Total amounts:
$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.

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

Program:
Public Scholar Program

Division:
Research Programs

Total amounts:
$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2018 – 8/31/2019


FZ-261512-18

Cynthia Leigh Haven
Unknown institution

“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 Scholar Program

Division:
Research Programs

Total amounts:
$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2018 – 8/31/2019


FZ-261513-18

Timothy Judd Stiles
Unknown institution

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 Scholar Program

Division:
Research Programs

Total amounts:
$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2018 – 8/31/2019


FZ-261516-18

Stephen Heyman
Unknown institution

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 Scholar Program

Division:
Research Programs

Total amounts:
$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 Scholar Program

Division:
Research Programs

Total amounts:
$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2019 – 12/31/2019


FZ-261551-18

Hugh Eakin
Unknown institution

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 Scholar Program

Division:
Research Programs

Total amounts:
$40,000 (approved)
$40,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2018 – 4/30/2019


FZ-261560-18

Jeremy Eichler
Unknown institution

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.

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

Program:
Public Scholar Program

Division:
Research Programs

Total amounts:
$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2018 – 8/31/2019


FZ-256405-17

Megan Kate Nelson
Unknown institution

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 Scholar Program

Division:
Research Programs

Total amounts:
$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 Scholar Program

Division:
Research Programs

Total amounts:
$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2017 – 8/31/2018


FZ-256442-17

Janice P. Nimura
Unknown institution

How the Blackwell Sisters Brought Women to Medicine--and Medicine to Women--in 19th-Century America

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.

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

Program:
Public Scholar Program

Division:
Research Programs

Total amounts:
$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 Scholar Program

Division:
Research Programs

Total amounts:
$42,000 (approved)
$35,700 (awarded)

Grant period:
8/1/2018 – 7/31/2019


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.

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

Program:
Public Scholar Program

Division:
Research Programs

Total amounts:
$37,800 (approved)
$31,500 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2017 – 8/31/2018


FZ-256570-17

Ben Schwartz
Unknown institution

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 Scholar Program

Division:
Research Programs

Total amounts:
$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2017 – 8/31/2018


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 Scholar Program

Division:
Research Programs

Total amounts:
$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 Scholar Program

Division:
Research Programs

Total amounts:
$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 Scholar Program

Division:
Research Programs

Total amounts:
$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2018 – 12/31/2018


FZ-256582-17

Stephen R. Prothero
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 Scholar Program

Division:
Research Programs

Total amounts:
$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 Scholar Program

Division:
Research Programs

Total amounts:
$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2018 – 5/31/2019


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 Scholar Program

Division:
Research Programs

Total amounts:
$25,200 (approved)
$25,200 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2018 – 6/30/2018


FZ-256574-17

Ruth Elizabeth Chang
Rutgers University, New Brunswick (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 Scholar Program

Division:
Research Programs

Total amounts:
$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2018 – 8/31/2019


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 Scholar Program

Division:
Research Programs

Total amounts:
$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2018 – 6/30/2019


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 Scholar Program

Division:
Research Programs

Total amounts:
$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2017 – 12/31/2017


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 Scholar Program

Division:
Research Programs

Total amounts:
$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2017 – 8/31/2018


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 Scholar Program

Division:
Research Programs

Total amounts:
$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
8/1/2017 – 7/31/2018


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 Scholar Program

Division:
Research Programs

Total amounts:
$37,800 (approved)
$37,800 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2017 – 5/31/2018


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 Scholar Program

Division:
Research Programs

Total amounts:
$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2018 – 12/31/2018


FZ-256395-17

Camilla Townsend
Rutgers University, New Brunswick (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 Scholar Program

Division:
Research Programs

Total amounts:
$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 Scholar Program

Division:
Research Programs

Total amounts:
$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2018 – 12/31/2018


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 Scholar Program

Division:
Research Programs

Total amounts:
$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]

Project fields:
Anthropology

Program:
Public Scholar Program

Division:
Research Programs

Total amounts:
$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2017 – 8/31/2018


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 Scholar Program

Division:
Research Programs

Total amounts:
$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 Scholar Program

Division:
Research Programs

Total amounts:
$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2017 – 8/31/2018


FZ-256497-17

John A. Lynn
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (Urbana, 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 Scholar Program

Division:
Research Programs

Total amounts:
$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 Scholar Program

Division:
Research Programs

Total amounts:
$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 Scholar Program

Division:
Research Programs

Total amounts:
$29,400 (approved)
$29,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
2/1/2018 – 8/31/2018


FZ-256671-17

Luke A. Nichter
Texas A & M University, Central Texas (Killeen, TX 76549-5901)

A Biography of Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. (1902-1985)

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 Scholar Program

Division:
Research Programs

Total amounts:
$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 Scholar Program

Division:
Research Programs

Total amounts:
$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2017 – 8/31/2018


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 Scholar Program

Division:
Research Programs

Total amounts:
$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2017 – 12/31/2017


FZ-250394-17

Bruce J. Schulman
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 Scholar Program

Division:
Research Programs

Total amounts:
$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 Scholar Program

Division:
Research Programs

Total amounts:
$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
8/1/2017 – 7/31/2018


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 Scholar Program

Division:
Research Programs

Total amounts:
$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 Scholar Program

Division:
Research Programs

Total amounts:
$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2017 – 6/30/2018


FZ-250483-17

Candacy Ann Taylor
Candacy Taylor (Memphis, TN 38103-4214)

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]

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

Program:
Public Scholar Program

Division:
Research Programs

Total amounts:
$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
4/1/2017 – 3/31/2018


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 Scholar Program

Division:
Research Programs

Total amounts:
$50,400 (approved)
$43,050 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2017 – 12/31/2017


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 Scholar Program

Division:
Research Programs

Total amounts:
$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2017 – 6/30/2018