NEH banner

[light] [dark]

Funded Projects Query Form
62 matches

Program: Public Scholars*
Date range: 2018-2021
Sort order: Award year, descending

Query elapsed time: 0.016 sec

Export results to Excel
Save this query

FZ-271119-20

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

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

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

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

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
9/1/2020 – 8/31/2021


FZ-271344-20

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

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

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

Project fields:
Ethics; Intellectual History

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
6/1/2021 – 12/31/2021


FZ-271363-20

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

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

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

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

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
6/1/2021 – 5/31/2022


FZ-271902-20

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

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

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

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

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
9/1/2020 – 8/31/2021


FZ-271916-20

Gary Krist
Unknown institution
The 1871 Murder Trial of Laura D. Fair and the End of Frontier-Era San Francisco

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

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

Project fields:
U.S. History

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
9/1/2020 – 8/31/2021


FZ-271922-20

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

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

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

Project fields:
American Literature

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
9/1/2020 – 8/31/2021


FZ-272046-20

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

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

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

Project fields:
American Literature; Literature, General

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
9/1/2020 – 8/31/2021


FZ-272052-20

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

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

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

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

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
9/1/2020 – 8/31/2021


FZ-272055-20

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

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

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

Project fields:
American Literature

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
7/1/2021 – 6/30/2022


FZ-272061-20

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

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

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

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

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
9/1/2021 – 8/31/2022


FZ-272064-20

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

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

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

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

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
1/1/2021 – 12/31/2021


FZ-272068-20

Bruce Jay Weber
Unknown institution
American Novelist E.L. Doctorow (1931-2015): A Writing Life

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

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

Project fields:
American Literature; Literary Criticism

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
9/1/2020 – 8/31/2021


FZ-272105-20

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

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

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

Project fields:
Art History and Criticism; Renaissance History

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
8/1/2021 – 7/31/2022


FZ-272129-20

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

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

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

Project fields:
Legal History; U.S. History

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
1/1/2021 – 8/31/2021


FZ-272133-20

Avis Ann Berman
Unknown institution
A Biography of American Artist Roy Lichtenstein (1923-1997)

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

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

Project fields:
Art History and Criticism; Arts, General

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
9/1/2020 – 8/31/2021


FZ-272140-20

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

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

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

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

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
7/1/2021 – 6/30/2022


FZ-272163-20

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

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

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

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

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
7/1/2021 – 6/30/2022


FZ-272181-20

Kimberly Chrisman-Campbell
Unknown institution
A Biography of American Fashion Designer Chester Weinberg (1930-1985)

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

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

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

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
9/1/2020 – 5/31/2021


FZ-272198-20

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

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

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

Project fields:
English; Interdisciplinary Studies, General; Linguistics

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
9/1/2020 – 2/28/2021


FZ-272211-20

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

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

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

Project fields:
Art History and Criticism; Classical History

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
6/1/2021 – 5/31/2022


FZ-272244-20

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

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

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

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

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
1/1/2021 – 12/31/2021


FZ-272289-20

David Pettegrew
Messiah College (Mechanicsburg, PA 17055-6805)
The Archaeology of the Early Christian World: History, Methods, Evidence

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

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

Project fields:
Ancient History; Archaeology; History of Religion

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
1/1/2021 – 12/31/2021


FZ-272292-20

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

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

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

[Grant products]

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

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
9/1/2020 – 8/31/2021


FZ-272316-20

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

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

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

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

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
7/1/2021 – 6/30/2022


FZ-272347-20

Ian Denis Johnson
Unknown institution
Sparks: Writing China's Unofficial History

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

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

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

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
9/1/2020 – 8/31/2021


FZ-266572-19

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

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

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

Project fields:
U.S. History

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
1/1/2020 – 12/31/2020


FZ-266632-19

Steve Kemper
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 Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
9/1/2019 – 8/31/2020


FZ-266641-19

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

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

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

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

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
9/1/2019 – 8/31/2020


FZ-266824-19

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

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

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

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

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
9/1/2019 – 8/31/2020


FZ-266853-19

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

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

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

Project fields:
Art History and Criticism; Classics

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
9/1/2020 – 6/30/2021


FZ-266854-19

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

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

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

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

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
9/1/2019 – 8/31/2020


FZ-266866-19

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

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

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

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

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
5/1/2020 – 4/30/2021


FZ-266872-19

Erica Westly
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 Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
9/1/2019 – 4/30/2020


FZ-266874-19

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

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

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

Project fields:
U.S. History

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
9/1/2020 – 8/31/2021


FZ-266880-19

Jennifer Vanderbes
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 Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
9/1/2019 – 8/31/2020


FZ-266889-19

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

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

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

Project fields:
Ethics; Interdisciplinary Studies, General

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
9/1/2020 – 8/31/2021


FZ-266901-19

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

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

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

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

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
12/1/2019 – 8/31/2020


FZ-266906-19

Alison Grace Macor
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 Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
9/1/2019 – 2/29/2020


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 Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
9/1/2019 – 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 Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
9/1/2019 – 8/31/2020


FZ-260999-18

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

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

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

Project fields:
Anthropology; Classics

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
9/1/2018 – 8/31/2019


FZ-261336-18

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

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

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

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

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
1/1/2019 – 12/31/2019


FZ-261342-18

Tom Dunkel
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 Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
1/1/2019 – 12/31/2019


FZ-261345-18

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

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

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

[Media coverage]

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

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
9/1/2018 – 5/31/2019


FZ-261349-18

Kevin Sack
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 Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
1/1/2019 – 12/31/2019


FZ-261376-18

Thomas F. Madden
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 Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
7/1/2019 – 6/30/2020


FZ-261383-18

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

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

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

Project fields:
East Asian History; History, General

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
1/1/2019 – 12/31/2019


FZ-261386-18

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

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

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

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

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
9/1/2018 – 8/31/2019


FZ-261390-18

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

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

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

Project fields:
Classics; Gender Studies; Military History

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
9/1/2018 – 8/31/2019


FZ-261403-18

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

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

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

[Grant products]

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

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
9/1/2018 – 8/31/2019


FZ-261408-18

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

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

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

Project fields:
British History; British Literature; Gender Studies

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
1/1/2019 – 12/31/2019


FZ-261412-18

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

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

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

Project fields:
Interdisciplinary Studies, Other; Philosophy, Other

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
7/1/2019 – 6/30/2020


FZ-261417-18

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

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

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

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

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
1/1/2019 – 12/31/2019


FZ-261482-18

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

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

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

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

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
1/1/2019 – 12/31/2019


FZ-261493-18

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

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

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

[Grant products]

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

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
9/1/2018 – 8/31/2019


FZ-261496-18

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

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

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

Project fields:
Metaphysics

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
9/1/2019 – 7/31/2020


FZ-261512-18

Cynthia Leigh Haven
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 Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
9/1/2018 – 8/31/2019


FZ-261513-18

Timothy Judd Stiles
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 Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$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 Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
9/1/2018 – 8/31/2019


FZ-261543-18

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

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

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

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

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
1/1/2019 – 12/31/2019


FZ-261551-18

Hugh Eakin
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 Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

Totals:
$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.

[Grant products]

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

Program:
Public Scholars

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
9/1/2018 – 8/31/2019