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Funded Projects Query Form
91 matches

Grant programs:Public Scholars*
Date range: 2019-2022
Sort order: Award year, descending

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Elaine Pagels
Princeton University (Princeton, NJ 08540-5228)

FZ-286767-22
Public Scholars
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
9/1/2022 – 8/31/2023

Who Was Jesus — And Who Is He In The 21st Century

Research and writing of a book on how different peoples and cultures have envisioned Jesus through history from the earliest sources to the present. 

The primary question I raise is: How, from the first century to the present, have countless people envisioned Jesus in such varied and contradictory ways? I address this question as follows: First, what is the evidence from the earliest sources? Second, what is different about how we evaluate it now? Third, who was Jesus of Nazareth in his own time? Finally, what do the countless versions of Jesus tell us about the people and cultures who produced them in literature, art, music, and films, up to the present? While all scholars start from New Testament texts, here I investigate a far wider range of sources, including many nearly always left out of such discussions: Gospels later denounced as “heresy;” and anti-Christian writings by critics of the early movement. Like The Gnostic Gospels and others I have written, this book is addressed not only to scholars and students, but also to a much wider audience, offering a historical view of how Christianity began, and how it resonates today.

John Lisle
Louisiana Tech University (Ruston, LA 71272-0001)

FZ-286787-22
Public Scholars
Research Programs

Totals:
$60,000 (approved)
$45,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2023 – 12/31/2023

A System of Oversight: The Fight for Accountability in the CIA

Research and writing of a book on a lawsuit filed in the 1980s against the CIA over its MK-Ultra program, which involved experiments in mind control on unwitting human subjects.

My book will tell the story of two attorneys and their daunting attempt to hold the CIA accountable for its programs of human experimentation. Throughout the 1980s, famed civil rights attorney Joseph Rauh and his young law partner James Turner represented the victims of these programs in a lawsuit against the CIA. Rauh and Turner eventually secured a lucrative settlement for the victims, but not before the CIA frustrated them at every turn. Most importantly, their efforts laid the groundwork for understanding the failures of the CIA’s system of oversight and how to avoid them in the future.

Edward Gordon Gray
Florida State University (Tallahassee, FL 32306-0001)

FZ-287066-22
Public Scholars
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
7/1/2023 – 12/31/2023

Benjamin Franklin's Money: A Financial Life of the First American

Research and writing of a book about Benjamin Franklin’s attitudes towards money and finance.

Research and writing of a book about money and finance in the life of Benjamin Franklin. Benjamin Franklin’s Money is the first financial life of the most famous colonial American. It follows Benjamin Franklin’s rise from indentured servant to eighteenth-century media mogul and it explains how Franklin managed to escape money’s darker connotations. Franklin’s rise, the book contends, was enabled not only by his careful management of his own and others’ money, but also by his careful management of his reputation as a maker of money. It is not coincidental, my book contends, that the early American most associated with money was also early America’s greatest humanitarian.

Tilar Jenon Mazzeo
Unaffiliated independent scholar

FZ-287072-22
Public Scholars
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
9/1/2022 – 8/31/2023

Mary Ann Patten and the Race to the Bottom of the World

Research and writing leading to a book about nineteenth-century American culture and Mary Ann Patten (1837-1861), who in 1856 averted a maritime disaster by successfully sailing a clipper ship around Cape Horn to San Francisco during the California Gold Rush.

Biography of Mary Ann Patten, celebrated nineteenth-century American heroine, acclaimed for her role in averting one of the most infamous maritime near-disasters of the Californian Gold Rush period.

Jane Kamensky
President and Fellows of Harvard College (Cambridge, MA 02138-3800)

FZ-287076-22
Public Scholars
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
9/1/2022 – 6/30/2023

Candida Royalle and the Sexual Revolution: A History from Below

Research and writing of a history of the sexual revolution told through the life of Candice Vadala (1950-2015), American adult film performer, director, and producer.

Candida Royalle and the Sexual Revolution is both an uncomfortably intimate biography and an epic history of the late twentieth century United States, tracing the political economy of the postwar period and the attendant restructuring of families, gender roles, and sexuality; the rise of Big Freud and the dawn of Big Porn; and the relationships of law and culture, high and low, self and society in a period of sweeping transformation.

Cynthia Ott
University of Delaware (Newark, DE 19716-0099)

FZ-287085-22
Public Scholars
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
9/1/2023 – 8/31/2024

Biscuits & Buffalo: The Ongoing Reinvention of American Indian Culture

Research and writing of a book about American Indians and economic enterprise in Montana from the late nineteenth century to the present, with a focus on the interaction of traditional and contemporary ways of life and the relationships between white, Black, and Native individuals.

Biscuits and Buffalo is about American Indians, including ranchers, farmers, biscuit makers, and entrepreneurs, who sustained their families and built viable economic enterprises on the Crow reservation in Montana from the late nineteenth century to the present. The book challenges persistent myths that Indians did not, or could not, adapt or succeed in the reservation era. It features Indian people who defy these myths, people who sought a viable way forward under difficult circumstances, and who did so with a strong sense of their Native heritage. They include Pretty Shield, who worked alongside white and Black women in the women’s club movement, and buffalo hunter Medicine Crow, who became one of many successful wheat farmers. Their stories revise the too simple histories that equate Indian change with defeat and Indian-white relations with antagonism. The book dismantles stark dichotomies between traditional and contemporary ways of life. It moves toward a more nuanced and inclusive view.

Judith Ann Giesberg
Villanova University (Villanova, PA 19085-1478)

FZ-287117-22
Public Scholars
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
1/1/2023 – 12/31/2023

Last Seen: Searching for Family After Slavery

Research and writing leading to a book on previously enslaved persons’ efforts to locate missing family members. 

Last Seen tells the story of ten ex-slaves as they search for family members taken from them in slavery. Through ads they placed in the papers, the book traces their efforts to find children, parents, brothers, and sisters who were sold into the Domestic Slave Trade. Their stories are compelling, heartbreaking, and unforgettable. Understanding the long, slow, and incomplete process by which ex-slaves reclaimed and rebuilt their families forces us to rethink the narrative of American freedom. Reconstruction marked the beginning of a new chapter in American history in which the nation sought a way forward, without slavery. It has often been portrayed as a moment of reunion, both for the nation and for ex-slaves who are pictured happily embracing one another again and moving on, together, into freedom. Instead it was the beginning of a long process of holding on to hope and managing expectations. How did ex-slaves make freedom even as missing family tugged them back to slavery?

Sophie Pinkham
Unaffiliated independent scholar

FZ-287118-22
Public Scholars
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
9/1/2022 – 8/31/2023

Green Russia: A Forest History

Research and writing a book on the cultural history and representations of the Russian forest in literature and art from medieval times to the present.

“Green Russia: A Forest History” draws on literature, art, music, and original reportage to explore the cultural significance of the Russian forest from medieval times to the present, from pre-Christian forest spirits to the canonical figures of Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, and Turgenev to modern tree-worshipping eco cults, showing the philosophical, creative, political, and economic power of Russia’s vast wilderness.

Eric Douglas Plemons
Arizona Board of Regents (Tucson, AZ 85721-0001)

FZ-287125-22
Public Scholars
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
1/1/2023 – 12/31/2023

What to Make of Me: The Transgender Body as a Valuable Resource

Research and writing of a book on the ethics and history of how transgender medical procedures have supported more traditional reproduction and organ transplant technologies.

Research is underway that would transform the tissues removed during transgender people’s reconstructive genital surgeries from medical waste into valuable resources. My book project, What to Make of Me, investigates the conditions and interrogates the implications of two uses to which researchers hope these tissues might be put. In the first case, trans women’s penile tissue is already being used to engineer penises for soldiers who have lost them in battle. In the second case, trans men’s uteruses (and one day possibly vaginas) could be used to enable others to become pregnant. In this emerging medical research, the historically marginalized trans body is resignified as a source of uniquely valuable material capable of consolidating another’s normative gender in ways that nothing else can.

Gayle F. Wald
George Washington University (Washington, DC 20052-0001)

FZ-287155-22
Public Scholars
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
9/1/2022 – 8/31/2023

This Is Rhythm: Ella Jenkins' Life in Music

Research and writing of a biography of the musician-educator Ella Jenkins (b. 1924).

"This Is Rhythm" will be the first biography of the musician-educator Ella Jenkins (b. 1924), a pioneer of “multicultural” children’s music. Beginning with her 1957 Folkways debut "Call-and-Response Rhythmic Group Singing," Jenkins, a self-taught artist, reimagined American children’s music by grounding it in the sonic traditions of the African American diaspora. Before Jenkins, music for young audiences was geared either toward diversion or cultural uplift, with European art music as a pinnacle. In contrast, by taking Black music—from the playground chants of Black girls to the gospel music of Black churches—as a paradigm, Jenkins envisioned music-making as a practice of community and cooperation. "This Is Rhythm" traces Jenkins’ life from her South Side childhood to her receipt of a lifetime Grammy Award (2004), positioning her not only as a recording artist and performer, but as a grassroots African American female educator who advanced civil rights through rhythm and song.

Michael Erard
Unaffiliated independent scholar

FZ-287165-22
Public Scholars
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
9/1/2022 – 8/31/2023

First Words and Last Words: A Linguistic Biography

Research and writing of a book exploring the linguistic, historical, and cultural dimensions of first words spoken after birth and last words spoken before death.

With our earliest utterances and gestures, we announce ourselves — and are recognized — as people ready to participate in social life. With our final ones, we mark the place where others must release us to death’s embrace. My book explores these phenomena, which are commonly called "first words" and "last words," uncovering their hidden linguistic, historical, and cultural dimensions as well as honoring their deep personal meanings.

James Duesterberg
Unaffiliated independent scholar

FZ-287182-22
Public Scholars
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
9/1/2022 – 8/31/2023

A Cultural and Intellectual History of Structuralism, Cybernetics, and the Postwar Political Imagination

Research and writing of a book of cultural and intellectual history exploring the relationship between cybernetic and structuralist theory, avant-garde art, and global cyberculture.

My book offers a narrative history of the relationship between philosophy, technology, and art as it shaped the postwar Western political imagination. I focus on three key moments: the emergence of cybernetics, structuralism, and the American avant-garde in wartime New York City; the popularization of post-structuralism and the proliferation of a popular “underground” aesthetic amidst cultural and economic crisis in 1970s-80s New York; and the emergence of global cyberculture in the 1990s, at a time when commentators were declaring the end of competing ideologies and “the end of history.” By tracing the reciprocal influence of subculture, art, and philosophy, and showing how these movements in turn influenced broader social, cultural, and economic shifts, I show how ideas about a “virtual” realm—long confined to discourses of art or philosophical speculation—came increasingly to structure the lived environment of the late-20th and early-21st century Western world.

Eric J. Arnesen
George Washington University (Washington, DC 20052-0001)

FZ-287197-22
Public Scholars
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
1/1/2023 – 12/31/2023

"The Unfinished Revolution: The Political Life of A. Philip Randolph"

Research and writing of a political biography of A. Philip Randolph (1889-1979), an African American labor leader and civil rights activist.

"The Unfinished Revolution: The Political Life of A. Philip Randolph" is a biography of one of the 20th century’s most important civil rights and labor activists whose years of political engagement spanned the 1910s to the early 1970s. It explores currents of Black radicalism, trade unionism racism, anticommunism, and anti-colonialism during the Cold War. Critically exploring Randolph's multiple campaigns against governmental and union discrimination, it situates Randolph’s political beliefs and activism in relation to broader African American political currents and explores his use of public opinion, political pressure, the judiciary, and grassroots mobilization in pursuit of racial and economic equality.

Sophie Kirsten White
University of Notre Dame (Notre Dame, IN 46556-4635)

FZ-287209-22
Public Scholars
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
8/1/2023 – 7/31/2024

Strangers Within: A Cultural and Genomic History of Red Hair

Writing toward a book on the scientific, cultural, and visual history of red hair.

_Strangers Within: A Cultural and Genomic History of Red Hair_ analyzes how redheads have been marginalized and penalized over a wide temporal and geographic swathe. Juxtaposing cultural history with new genomic discoveries, this is an investigation of MC1R gene variant carriers and the gendered and sexualized myths that have been ascribed to this phenotypic group. Grounded in contemporary popular culture and running the gamut from genomic findings (which include medical singularities) to Norse mythology, Celtic folklore, slavery in Ancient Greece and Rome, the Inquisition, anti-Semitism, art historical and literary representations, this book has implications and ambitions beyond red hair as a model for understanding the construction of otherness—and the fear and attraction, adulation and abuse—of the other.

Joshua Clark Davis
University of Baltimore (Baltimore, MD 21201-5779)

FZ-287213-22
Public Scholars
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
9/1/2022 – 8/31/2023

Police Against the Movement: The Forgotten Sabotage of the Civil Rights Struggle

Writing a book on the policing of twentieth century civil rights activism, activist efforts to effect police reform, and strategic responses by some urban policing agencies. 

Writing for a broad public audience, I seek to answer three interrelated questions. First, how did police across the United States treat and mistreat the civil rights movement, investigating and retaliating against activists through a variety of means? Second, how did civil rights activists use pickets, rallies, and marches to demand equal treatment from police? Third, how did police discredit such protests as dangerous acts of extremism, forestalling the emergence of a national movement for equitable policing until the 2010s and exacerbating the larger crisis of racial inequality in our criminal justice system for decades?

Tom Zoellner
Chapman University (Orange, CA 92866-1099)

FZ-287247-22
Public Scholars
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
9/1/2022 – 2/28/2023

Freedom's Fortress

Research and writing of a book on the camps formed by fugitive slaves near Union army positions during the U.S. Civil War, and their role in bringing about the Emancipation Proclamation issued by President Abraham Lincoln in 1862.

An account of the "contraband camps" that sprung up in the early days of the U.S. Civil War and how their presence created the necessary pressure on the Lincoln Administration to declare full emancipation in Southern states.

Kathryn Anne Schumaker
Board of Regents of the University of Oklahoma (Norman, OK 73019-3003)

FZ-287256-22
Public Scholars
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
1/1/2023 – 12/31/2023

Interracial Families in Jim Crow Mississippi

Writing and revision of a book on the legal history of the color line in Mississippi.

This book will offer a new history of the color line in Mississippi told through the stories of interracial families. It centers the remarkable case of the Burnsides, who crossed the color line and “passed” as white while remaining in their tight-knit community. The book will explore how interracial families experienced the rise of Jim Crow and how they responded. Although segregationist politicians claimed to support the strict separation of the races, the continued existence of mixed-race families in Mississippi into the twentieth century reveals the contradictions and complexity of how segregation law was understood and enforced at the local level. Ultimately, white supremacists sought to erase the existence of such familial ties across the color line to perpetuate the myth of segregationists’ historic commitment to “racial purity.”

Max Perry Mueller
University of Nebraska (Lincoln, NE 68503-2427)

FZ-287303-22
Public Scholars
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
9/1/2022 – 8/31/2023

Wakara's America: A Native and American History of the West

Research and writing of a biography of Wakara (c. 1815-1855), famed Ute horse thief, Indian slave trader, defender of Native sovereignty, and collaborator in settlement.

In the first half of the 19th century, Wakara (often anglicized as "Walker" (c. 1815-1855)), the famed Ute horse thief, Indian slave trader, collaborator in the settlement of the west and defender of Indian sovereignty, was among the most influential and feared men in the American Southwest. Yet the history books barely mention him. Wakara's America, the first full-length biography of the controversial Ute leader, illuminates why history has forgotten Wakara and explains why it's time that history give Wakara his due. Instead of repeating Manifest Destiny's most pernicious myth—that Native peoples and lifeways were eradicated from the American landscape—telling Wakara's story, and those of his lineal and spiritual descendants, reveals the history of resilience as well as present-day vitality of Wakara's people. Doing so also blurs the long-established lines between "colonizer" and "colonized"; "Native" and "American."

Rowena Kennedy-Epstein
University of Bristol (Bristol BS81TB England)

FZ-287308-22
Public Scholars
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
9/1/2022 – 8/31/2023

Mother Of Us All: The Life and Writing of Muriel Rukeyser

Research and writing of a biography of the American writer Muriel Rukeyser
(1913-1980).

This is the first biography of the American writer Muriel Rukeyser (1913-1980), whose genre-bending work (poetry, plays, films, novels and biographies), involvement in wide-ranging artistic and political circles from New York to Hollywood, and accounts of the Spanish Civil War, the rise of fascism, racial injustice, environmental disaster, and single motherhood, defied and remade women's positions in 20th-C America. Described by Anne Sexton and Adrienne Rich as “mother of us all,” Rukeyser changed how we see the role of the woman writer, the activist writer, the queer writer, the Jewish writer, and the mother writer, and yet she has not been recognized for these revolutionary reinventions, but silenced by Cold War gender, political and publishing norms. This biography makes visible Rukeyser’s central place in American literature, as a catalyst and creator, demonstrating the value of her work for understanding the political crises—and possibilities—of our own times.

April Marisa Rosenblum
Unaffiliated independent scholar

FZ-287312-22
Public Scholars
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
10/1/2022 – 9/30/2023

A New Look at 20th Century Black-Jewish Relations, through the Microhistory of an Unsolved 1971 Crime

Research and writing of a microhistory of an unsolved 1971 crime, the Philadelphia neighborhood in which it occurred, and the community of activists in Black-Jewish relations.

This microhistory looks at an unsolved 1971 crime, the Philadelphia neighborhood in which it occurred and the unusual community of activists it touched, in order to draw conclusions about twentieth-century Black-Jewish relations. Postwar tensions between Black Americans and Jews of European descent are often narrated with an emphasis on leaders and major organizations. By approaching this issue at the scale of a neighborhood and its private lives, I offer new insights about continuing intimacies between these groups after the Civil Rights period, while opening fresh discussion of the integral role Black Jewish and Judaic communities played in postwar urban space. Despite persistent public interest in stories about Black-Jewish relations, few works exist for general readers. I seek to add to this rich scholarly conversation, while opening the subject to a broad spectrum of U.S. readers.

Joseph Luzzi
Bard College (Annandale-on-Hudson, NY 12504-9800)

FZ-287317-22
Public Scholars
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
1/1/2023 – 12/31/2023

Brunelleschi's Children: How a Renaissance Orphanage Saved 400,000 Lives and Reinvented Childhood

Research and writing a cultural history of the Hospital of the Innocents in Florence, Italy, an exceptional institution of childcare and a notable example of early Italian Renaissance architecture, from 1419 to the present.

“Brunelleschi’s Children: How a Renaissance Orphanage Saved 400,000 Lives and Reinvented Childhood” will be the first book for a broad audience to chart and analyze comprehensively the history of the Hospital of the Innocents (or Innocenti) in Florence, Italy, from 1419 to the present day. A foundling home designed by Filippo Brunelleschi, it revolutionized our understanding of childhood development, with contributions such as giving art instruction to unwanted foundlings for the first time, securing dowries and gainful employment for historically ill-treated female children, and paving the way for the birth of pediatrics as a medical science. “Brunelleschi’s Children” will bring together the Innocenti’s multivariate strands into one unified narrative, showing how its devotion to what the historian Jacob Burckhardt called Renaissance “many-sidedness” enabled it to impact so many areas of human life and solve a great challenge in early modern Europe: the crisis of abandoned children.

Michael Eric Lobel
CUNY Research Foundation, Hunter College (New York, NY 10065-5024)

FZ-287321-22
Public Scholars
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
6/1/2023 – 12/31/2023

How to Know Van Gogh

Research and writing of a book about the life and art of Dutch artist Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890), with a focus on the artist’s lesser-known works and art interpretation.

This book on Vincent van Gogh, one of the most iconic modern artists, is meant to showcase what the humanities do best: to teach us that meaning is often found not in seeking definitive answers but in exploring enduring, difficult-to-answer questions. Rather than grasping for new, ostensibly shocking revelations—one of the most common ways of approaching the artist and his work—this project instead seeks to burrow into areas that prompt still more questions: Where did Van Gogh’s intense engagement with self-portraiture come from? In France, where his work underwent a seismic shift that made him into the artist we now know, what was his experience as an immigrant? And how do we understand his final period of illness without engaging in lurid speculation? Throughout, we engage with lesser-known and overlooked works to come to a broader and richer sense of Van Gogh’s art and its relationship to the times in which it was made.

Abigail Santamaria
CUNY Research Foundation, Graduate School and University Center (New York, NY 10016-4309)

FZ-287339-22
Public Scholars
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
9/1/2022 – 8/31/2023

I AM MEG: The Life of Madeleine L'Engle

Research and writing of a biography of American author Madeline L’Engle (1918 – 2007).

The first adult biography of Madeleine L’Engle (1918 – 2007), author of the Newbery Award-winning classic A Wrinkle in Time (and 60 other books), to be published by FSG, draws on hundreds of hours of interviews and exclusive access to private journals, unpublished manuscripts, and personal and editorial correspondence. One of America’s most influential and beloved writers, L’Engle stood on the shoulders of Laura Ingalls Wilder and Lucy Maud Montgomery, published alongside contemporaries including Beverly Cleary, Judy Blume, and Katherine Paterson, and transformed the landscape of possibility for women writers and female protagonists by making way for Ursula Le Guin, Margaret Atwood, J.K. Rowling, and others. This narrative literary biography tells the story of her life, work, and influence in the context of 20th century women authors of dystopic fiction and literature for young people.

Avi Steinberg
Unaffiliated independent scholar

FZ-287362-22
Public Scholars
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
10/1/2022 – 9/30/2023

Grace Paley: A Life

Research and writing of a biography of Jewish-American author, teacher, and political activist Grace Paley (1922 – 2007).

The first complete biography of Grace Paley, a critical figure in mid-century American and Jewish-American literature, in the feminist movement, and in the intersections between these streams. “There’s a case to be made,” wrote New Yorker critic, Alexandra Schwartz, “that Grace Paley was first and foremost an antinuclear, antiwar, antiracist feminist activist who managed, in her spare time, to become one of the truly original voices of American fiction in the twentieth century.” Drawing on exclusive access to Paley’s own archive, on unpublished material from scores of archives, on hundreds of original interviews, on the latest scholarship, and on a thorough investigative effort, this biography is the first comprehensive survey of the material record, and the most complete account of one of the country’s most important feminist literary artists. The book is under contract with Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Mosi Secret
Unaffiliated independent scholar

FZ-287393-22
Public Scholars
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
10/1/2022 – 9/30/2023

A Narrative History of the Desegregation of Private Boarding Schools in the American South, 1967-1975

A book chronicling an experiment conducted in the 1960s by the Stouffer Foundation, a North Carolina-based philanthropy, to desegregate all-white southern boarding schools.

In the late 1960s, a group of white, southern philanthropists conducted a social experiment that they hoped would change the character of the South. They recruited and paid for 140 talented black and brown students to desegregate all-white, southern boarding schools, then havens for white families fleeing court-ordered integration. The question at the heart of the effort was novel: Could the program make white children less bigoted by exposing them to black students? For nearly 10 years, the North Carolina-based philanthropy, called the Stouffer Foundation, desegregated 20 schools and attempted to study what happened. My project is a narrative history of this experiment, tracing the arc of the participating students’ lives and examining the era’s promise of desegregating America’s schools and professions. I hope my work will have reverberations in the ways we historicize the civil rights era, and contribute to wider discussions around social integration and race in American democracy.

Alisa Solomon
Trustees of Columbia University in the City of New York (New York, NY 10027-7922)

FZ-287403-22
Public Scholars
Research Programs

Totals:
$60,000 (approved)
$47,500 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2022 – 8/31/2023

St. Vincent's Hospital in the "Plague Years"

Research and writing of a book on St. Vincent's Hospital, one of New York City's battlegrounds during the AIDS crisis of the 1980s of 1990s.

Based on scores of interviews and extensive archival research, this is a narrative nonfiction book about New York City's St. Vincent’s Hospital at the height of the AIDS crisis (roughly 1980 to 1996). It follows physicians, nurses, administrators, social workers, and patients and their loved ones, to bring readers inside the AIDS units’ day-to-day routines, relentless agonies, developing protocols for care, and special culture. It tells a story of both immense loss and astonishing achievement as caregivers rise to a frightful occasion, often pressured and tutored by activists. The story unfolds in the context of intense – and still persistent – conflicts over the commodification of America’s healthcare system, the role of religion in public life, the impact of gentrification, and the question of who can truly be embraced within American ideals of equality and inclusion.

Samuel M. Lebovic
George Mason University (Fairfax, VA 22030-4444)

FZ-279701-21
Public Scholars
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
1/1/2022 – 12/31/2022

A History of the Espionage Act

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

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

Lance Richardson
Unaffiliated independent scholar

FZ-279952-21
Public Scholars
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
9/1/2021 – 8/31/2022

A Biography of the American Writer and Naturalist Peter Matthiessen (1927-2014)

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

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

Robin Bernstein
President and Fellows of Harvard College (Cambridge, MA 02138-3800)

FZ-279968-21
Public Scholars
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
9/1/2021 – 8/31/2022

The Trials of William Freeman (1824-1847): A Story of Murder, Race, and America's First Industrial Prison

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

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

Audrey Truschke
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Newark (Newark, NJ 07104-3010)

FZ-280011-21
Public Scholars
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
9/1/2022 – 8/31/2023

Indian Pasts (A History of India)

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

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

David M. Lubin
Wake Forest University (Winston-Salem, NC 27109-6000)

FZ-280013-21
Public Scholars
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
1/1/2022 – 12/31/2022

Ready for My Closeup: A Biography of "Sunset Boulevard"

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

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

Henry D. Fetter
Unaffiliated independent scholar

FZ-280015-21
Public Scholars
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
9/1/2021 – 8/31/2022

The Nomination of Louis D. Brandeis to the Supreme Court in 1916: The First " Modern" Confirmation Battle

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

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

Karl Jacoby
Trustees of Columbia University in the City of New York (New York, NY 10027-7922)

FZ-280020-21
Public Scholars
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
9/1/2021 – 5/31/2022

The War with Mexico and the Birth of the U.S.-Mexico Border, 1846-1924

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

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

Miriam Udel
Emory University (Atlanta, GA 30322-1018)

FZ-280031-21
Public Scholars
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
9/1/2021 – 8/31/2022

Children's Literature and Modern Jewish Culture

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

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

Carolyn Eileen Eastman
Virginia Commonwealth University (Richmond, VA 23284-9005)

FZ-280044-21
Public Scholars
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
7/1/2022 – 6/30/2023

A Plague in New York City: How the City Confronted--and Survived--the Yellow Fever Epidemic in the Founding Era

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

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

Cassandra Alexis Good
Marymount University (Arlington, VA 22207-4299)

FZ-280052-21
Public Scholars
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
1/1/2022 – 6/30/2022

First Family: George Washington’s Heirs and the Making of America

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

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

Julia Kohler Gaffield
Georgia State University (Atlanta, GA 30303-2538)

FZ-280056-21
Public Scholars
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
9/1/2021 – 8/31/2022

Jean-Jacques Dessalines (1758-1806) and the Haitian Revolution

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

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

Seth Moglen
Lehigh University (Bethlehem, PA 18015-3027)

FZ-280069-21
Public Scholars
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
9/1/2021 – 8/31/2022

Bethlehem: American Utopia, American Tragedy

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

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

Rebecca Louise Davis
University of Delaware (Newark, DE 19716-0099)

FZ-280071-21
Public Scholars
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
1/1/2022 – 12/31/2022

Sex in America: A History

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

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

Maya Jasanoff
President and Fellows of Harvard College (Cambridge, MA 02138-3800)

FZ-280126-21
Public Scholars
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
9/1/2021 – 8/31/2022

Ancestors: Where Do We Come From and Why Do We Care?

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

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

Rebecca L. Prime
Unaffiliated independent scholar

FZ-280128-21
Public Scholars
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
9/1/2021 – 8/31/2022

Uptight!: Race, Revolution, and the Most Dangerous Film of 1968

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

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

Sheila Curran Bernard
University at Albany (Albany, NY 12222-0100)

FZ-280132-21
Public Scholars
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
9/1/2021 – 8/31/2022

"Bring Judgment Day": Reclaiming Lead Belly's Truths from Jim Crow's Lies

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

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

Daniel Frick
Franklin and Marshall College (Lancaster, PA 17603-2827)

FZ-280152-21
Public Scholars
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
1/1/2022 – 12/31/2022

America's Contrarian Sage: Richard Nixon and the Invention of the Modern Post-Presidency

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

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

Liesl Marie Olson
Newberry Library (Chicago, IL 60610-3380)

FZ-280168-21
Public Scholars
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
9/1/2022 – 8/31/2023

Eye to Eye: Friendship, Art, and Collaboration in Mid-Century America

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

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

Rhaina Cohen
Unaffiliated independent scholar

FZ-280194-21
Public Scholars
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
12/1/2021 – 10/31/2022

More Than Friends: What Platonic Partnerships Reveal About Family, Care, and Intimacy

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

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

David Phillip Cline
San Diego State University (San Diego, CA 92182-0001)

FZ-280211-21
Public Scholars
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
8/1/2022 – 7/31/2023

The Last Great Trip to Nowhere: A True Story of the Brazilian Jungle and the Final Gasps of the Victorian Age of Exploration

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

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

Rachel Lucille Swarns
New York University (New York, NY 10012-1019)

FZ-280212-21
Public Scholars
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
9/1/2021 – 4/30/2022

The 272: The Story of the Enslaved Families who Fueled the Growth of Georgetown University and the Catholic Church

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

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

Laura J. Snyder
Unaffiliated independent scholar

FZ-280219-21
Public Scholars
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
9/1/2021 – 8/31/2022

Biography of Writer and Neurologist Oliver Sacks (1933-2015)

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

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

Catherine Venable Moore
West Virginia Mine Wars Museum (Matewan, WV 25678-0764)

FZ-280223-21
Public Scholars
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
9/1/2021 – 8/31/2022

Disunion: West Virginia Coal Miners and America's Other Civil War

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

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

Micki McElya
University of Connecticut (Storrs, CT 06269-9000)

FZ-280263-21
Public Scholars
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
6/1/2022 – 5/31/2023

No More Miss America! How Protesting the 1968 Pageant Changed a Nation

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

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