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Funded Projects Query Form
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Program: Fellowships*
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FEL-272422-21

Ann Louise Kibbie
Bowdoin College (Brunswick, ME 04011-8447)
Obstetrics and the Disabled Maternal Body in Nineteenth-Century Great Britain

Research and writing leading to a book on the medical dilemmas of treating pregnant women in Britain in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Employing the methodologies of feminist and disability studies, literary criticism, and the history of medicine, this study focuses on the most haunting problem faced by nineteenth-century obstetricians: cases of women whose pelvises were distorted by rickets. These women could carry a fetus to term, but could not give birth naturally. In such cases, obstetricians had three options: to stand by as both mother and child died; to save the mother by destroying the fetus in utero and delivering it in pieces; or to perform a Caesarean section, which was tantamount to a death sentence for the mother. Thus, medical professionals were forced to weigh the life of the mother against the life of the unborn child, whose value was as yet unknown; and the mother’s own disability was, itself, a factor in this calculus. This project explores representations of these cases in literary and medical discourse; in the new discipline of statistical analysis; and in Victorian medical photography.

Project fields:
Gender Studies; History and Philosophy of Science, Technology, and Medicine; Literary Criticism

Program:
Fellowships

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
1/1/2021 – 8/31/2021


FEL-272438-21

Dyan Elliott
Northwestern University (Evanston, IL 60208-0001)
The Quick and the Dead: The Medieval Church and the Exhumation of Christians

Research and writing leading to a book on how medieval Christians treated the dead to signify posthumous reward or punishment.

This project analyzes the church’s manipulation of cadavers to signify posthumous reward or punishment. Initially, the only credible motive for church authorities to disturb a Christian body was if s/he was a saint destined for a better resting place. A punitive exhumation was anathema because it implied posthumous judgment: Peter was given the power to bind and loose the living, not the dead. This ancient rationale was reversed ca. 1100 when Pope Paschal II exhumed his rival, the antipope Clement III. Soon exhumations were visited upon heretics and excommunicates posthumously condemned, usurers, and even debtors. Such disinterments represent the church’s growing hegemony over the dead; an inversion of the translation of saints; a ritual of forgetting; and an impetus for lay resistance.

Project fields:
Cultural History; Medieval History

Program:
Fellowships

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
9/1/2022 – 8/31/2023


FEL-272465-21

Olivia Alton Weisser
University of Massachusetts, Boston (Boston, MA 02125-3300)
Sex and Disease in Early Modern London

Research and writing leading to a book on the medical and social history of venereal disease in 17th and 18th century London.

I aim to write a lively, accessible history of venereal disease at the turn of the eighteenth century. The project takes an innovative approach by situating the disease within the texture of pre-modern London life. Rather than focus on institutional records or writing by elite men, the book grounds disease in the gardens, streets, and taverns where patients and healers discussed the disease, swapped remedies, and negotiated cures. In focusing on the words and lives of sufferers, as well as a particularly vocal group of clap-curers who lived and worked in the crowded streets of London, the book is intended to appeal to a broad audience. I use accessible prose and human stories, but without sacrificing the rigor of thoughtful scholarship. More broadly, the project aims to create a new model for studying the history of disease by drawing on the methods of cultural history, as well as material history, the history of gender and sexuality, and literary studies.

Project fields:
British History; Gender Studies; History and Philosophy of Science, Technology, and Medicine

Program:
Fellowships

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
1/1/2022 – 12/31/2022


FEL-272632-21

Colin H. Gordon
University of Iowa (Iowa City, IA 52242-1320)
Segregation and Race-Restrictive Covenants in St. Louis, 1890-1950

Research and writing leading to a book and digital companion on the origins, spread, and impact of race-restrictive deed covenants in greater St. Louis.

Race-restrictive deed covenants are an important, but relatively inaccessible and understudied, element of twentieth century urban history. “Dividing the City” employs newly discovered catalogues of restrictions (for the City of St. Louis and neighboring St. Louis County), which make those restrictions accessible and discoverable, and make it possible to trace their use and diffusion across greater St. Louis between 1890 and 1950. Close examination of these deed records, in the City of St. Louis and in suburban St. Louis County, will provide a detailed account of the use of deed restrictions (in new subdivisions and older neighborhoods alike), of their importance in inventing and sustaining racial segregation, and of the lasting impact of that segregation on local housing, wealth, and economic opportunity. In addition to the published monograph, a digital companion featuring interactive maps and documents will also be a resulting product of this proposal.

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

Program:
Fellowships

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
5/1/2021 – 4/30/2022


FEL-272641-21

Rebecca Scharbach Wollenberg
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1382)
Reimagining Early Jewish Engagement with Biblical Text

Research and writing leading to publication of a book analyzing how rabbis in the post-temple period of Judaism understood and used scripture.

Early Judaism is often described as the religion of the book par excellence—a religious movement built around the study of the Bible and steeped in a culture of bookishness that evolved from that unrelenting focus on a canonical text. The proposed project argues, in contrast, that many early rabbinic authorities did not immediately embrace the biblical text as a source of religious knowledge when the Bible was first canonized but were instead deeply ambivalent about the biblical text and uneasy about its status as a written document. Drawing primarily on less frequently analyzed late antique Palestinian rabbinic texts, this project paints a portrait of early Judaism in which religious leaders seldom opened a Bible and even elite religious thinkers might maintain an indistinct notion of the contents of the biblical text.

Project fields:
History of Religion; Religion, General

Program:
Fellowships

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
7/1/2021 – 6/30/2022


FEL-272668-21

Stacy D. Fahrenthold
University of California, Davis (Davis, CA 95618-6153)
Syrian Textile Workers in the Arab Atlantic, 1890-1934

Research and writing leading to a book on the development of working-class identity among Syrian textile workers, focused on cities including Lowell, Lawrence, and Boston, Massachusetts and Sao Paulo, Brazil.

This project is a global history of the Syrian working class, from the advent of mass migration to the Great Depression. Examining a generation of textile workers from the Arab Middle East, I argue that the shared experiences of transit/passage, proletarianization, systemic precarity in immigrant neighborhoods, and labor activism generated a uniquely Syrian working-class milieu. The work is situated in three locales, joined by the commercial circuits of the textile industry: Ottoman Syria (Homs, Hama, Mount Lebanon); New England (Lowell, Lawrence, Boston); and Brazil (Sao Paulo). The emergence of Syrian communities in these towns was complemented by the liquidity of labor among them, and Syrian workers (men and women) circulated the Americas in pursuit of higher wages. Whether in Brazil or Boston, Syria or Sao Paulo, Arab textile workers communicated across oceans to strike better working conditions for themselves, developing a cosmopolitan outlook that was authentically working-class.

Project fields:
Immigration History; Latin American History; Near and Middle Eastern History

Program:
Fellowships

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
9/1/2021 – 8/31/2022


FEL-272679-21

Elizabeth Ann Foster
Tufts University (Somerville, MA 02144-2401)
On the Edges of Empires: Conquest, Slavery, and Conversion in West Africa, 1885-1940

Research and writing leading to a book on political and religious conflicts in 19th- and 20th-century West Africa, and how they affected the lives of four individuals caught up in them.

On the Edges of Empires is a historical book project that explores the collision of multiple African and French imperial endeavors in West Africa between 1885 and 1940 by tracing the interconnected lives of four “ordinary” people caught in the fallout. They were Téné Sako, a Malinke (Mande) girl enslaved by empire-builder Samori Touré, “liberated” by the French Army, and given to a Catholic mission; Raymond Traoré, the fellow Malinke child slave and Catholic convert whom she married; Namory Keita, the Muslim canton chief in French service whom she later left Raymond and Catholicism for; and Joseph Lacas, the French missionary who bitterly chronicled her story. These individuals’ lives, which I have pieced together in archives across Europe and Africa, will allow me to explore themes of slavery, abolition, conversion, and gendered experience of marriage, love, and betrayal amid conquest and upheaval.

Project fields:
African History; European History; History of Religion

Program:
Fellowships

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
9/1/2021 – 7/31/2022


FEL-272717-21

Judith A. Peraino
Cornell University (Ithaca, NY 14853-2801)
Popism in Stereo: A Musical Guide to the Warhol Seventies

Research and writing leading to a book about Andy Warhol and popular music from the 1960s to the 1980s, based on archival research and interviews.

"Popism in Stereo: A Musical Guide to the Warhol Seventies" is the first dedicated study of Andy Warhol’s engagement with popular music beyond the 1960s, based substantially on archival research and new interviews. Chapters focus on musicians within rock (Mick Jagger, David Bowie, Lou Reed), punk (Blondie, Talking Heads), disco (Grace Jones), and hip hop (Fab Five Freddie) whose careers bore the imprint of Warhol’s influence, and who, in turn, left traces in Warhol’s art and archive. In addition to unearthing biographical details about Warhol and the musicians who enter his orbit, this book offers a cultural history of the 1970s, which Tom Wolfe called “The Me Decade.” Through the microcosm of celebrity stories, I investigate the macrocosm of representations of gender, sexuality, race, and class in art and music, and as mediated by technological developments in portable cameras and tape recorders that engendered a culture of self-documentation and curation, which persists to this day.

Project fields:
Art History and Criticism; Interdisciplinary Studies, Other; Music History and Criticism

Program:
Fellowships

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
1/1/2022 – 12/31/2022


FEL-272749-21

Owen Stanwood
Boston College (Chestnut Hill, MA 02467-3858)
The Tragedy of French Florida: Cosmography, Colonization, and the Origins of America

Research and writing leading to a book about failed French settlements in Florida during the 16th century.

During the 1560s three separate French expeditions attempted to colonize the American Southeast. These efforts have attracted little attention from historians, but represent a powerful origin story for a new, colonial North America. My book will offer a contextualized history of French Florida, beginning with its conception by merchants, politicians, mariners and cosmographers, and continuing through the would-be colonizers fraught encounters with both Timucuan Indians and Spanish rivals. The mostly Protestant colonizers believed that they could create a new, perfect society in America, one that turned humble Frenchmen into heroes and that bound colonizers and natives together with bonds of love and commerce. These dreams soon foundered due to internal divisions and external assaults, but represented a key vision of an America that could heal all of Europe's problems.

Project fields:
European History; U.S. History

Program:
Fellowships

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
9/1/2021 – 6/30/2022


FEL-272827-21

Mark V. Barrow, Jr
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Blacksburg, VA 24061-2000)
Alligator Tales: The Cultural and Environmental History of Florida’s Iconic Reptile

Writing leading to a book on the environmental and cultural history of the American alligator.

The American alligator is a giant, fearsome reptile that inhabits freshwater wetlands across much of the southeastern U.S. but is particularly abundant in Florida. I am seeking NEH support to complete a book-length environmental and cultural history of this popular icon, which I argue has long been central to defining the state’s identity. Drawing from nearly 3,000 sources, my research documents the myriad ways that Euro-Americans, Native Americans, and African Americans have related to this charismatic reptile over the past two centuries: not only as a terrifying predator, but also a landscape symbol, commodity, trophy, mascot, pet, totem, endangered species, nuisance, and sentinel species. I show how humans have shaped this apex predator, even as culture strongly inflects how we perceive it. When we peer into the eyes of an alligator, what we see reflected back is as much a product of our preconceptions and fears as the unvarnished reality of the creature that stands before us.

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

Program:
Fellowships

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
8/1/2021 – 7/31/2022


FEL-272833-21

Tara Fickle
University of Oregon (Eugene, OR 97403-5219)
Behind "Aiiieeeee!": A New History of Asian American Literature

Research, writing, and digital development of a book examining the publication history of the first anthology of Asian-American literature, Aiiieeeee!

“Behind Aiiieeeee!: A New History of Asian American Literature” is a scholarly monograph and accompanying interactive, open-access online resource that transforms our current understanding of the genesis of contemporary Asian American literature. Its focus is the 1974 publication of Aiiieeeee!, a canonical and deeply controversial Asian American literary anthology. Read widely and reviewed everywhere from The New Yorker to Rolling Stone, Aiiieeeee! was the first – and remains the only – Asian American literary anthology to achieve the status of trade publication rather than an academic one primarily for classroom use. The monograph, based on archival research of an enormous collection of previously inaccessible documents, demonstrates how Asian American literature of the post-WW2 period intersected with countercultural energies and US-Asian military conflicts of the 1970s to create new modes of writing and reading about what it meant to be a racial minority in America.

Project fields:
American Literature; Asian American Studies; Interdisciplinary Studies, Other

Program:
Fellowships

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
9/1/2021 – 8/31/2022


FEL-272882-21

Scott Heerman
University of Miami (Coral Gables, FL 33146-2926)
Carried Back: Captivity and Belonging in the Age of Atlantic Emancipations

Research and writing leading to a book on the international dimensions of abolition in the Atlantic World between the 1780s and 1860s.

Carried Back looks at the international dimensions of abolition in the Atlantic world. It traces the kidnapping of freed people across jurisdictions, from Philadelphia to St. Domingo or Barbados to Texas. It argues that when black people crossed in and out of jurisdictions, and in and out of slavery, it prompted a reckoning with what freedom meant. As captives pushed for an end to their bondage abroad, they expanded the freedom struggle onto foreign terrain. Remarkably, captives could at times enlist high ranking officials as allies. When statesmen in Washington D.C. or London responded to freedom suits, they developed conceptions of what it meant to be a free subject of an empire. Carried Back demonstrates that freedom, and the rights it encompassed, came not just from elite politicians, and not only from people who resided within national or imperial borders. Black people who were carried across international boundaries also came to be central actors in the history of abolition.

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

Program:
Fellowships

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
1/1/2022 – 12/31/2022


FEL-272888-21

David L. Pike
American University (Washington, DC 20016-8200)
A Cultural History of Modern Urban Poverty

Research and writing leading to a book on the taxonomy of the term "slum" and the representations of global urban poverty in the modern period.  

The slum imaginary—the meanings, emotions, and associations surrounding the spaces of urban poverty—was formed in the poor and undeveloped districts of the 19th-century imperial capitals London and Paris and rapidly industrializing newer cities such as Manchester or Liverpool. Soon, it was circulating the globe as colonial cities across the global South were redeveloped into ‘native’ slums and ‘modern’ administrative zones. “Slum Lore” traces the history of the word and concept of the slum, the urban spaces they describe, the lives they affect, the uses to which they have been put, and the images, fears and desires they have mobilized over the past two hundred years. Reckoning with the cultural work of the slum imaginary can help to disentangle actionable facts about the dwelling-places of the poor from the myriad other associations that continue to be affectively interwoven with those facts in the imagination of urban poverty.

Project fields:
Comparative Literature; Cultural History; Urban Studies

Program:
Fellowships

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
1/1/2021 – 8/31/2021


FEL-272890-21

Bobby J. Smith II
University of Illinois (Champaign, IL 61801-3620)
Food Power Politics: Race, Civil Rights, and Food Access in the Mississippi Delta

Writing and revision for a book on civil rights-era food justice movements and contemporary food politics and activism in the rural South.

Food Power Politics uses archival materials and qualitative data to examine the interaction between oppressive and emancipatory practices of food power as exercised in the Mississippi Delta from the civil rights era to today. By documenting these dynamics, my book shifts the way we understand civil rights history and current struggles against food disparities in black communities. It offers a new line of inquiry that uncovers a neglected period of the movement when activists expanded the meaning of civil rights to address food, and control over access to food, as integral to social and economic conditions. This meaning-making process is used as a model by black communities today that mobilize around the food justice movement. By making these connections, my book brings together histories of civil rights with food justice studies to illuminate the connections between civil rights activism and present-day food justice activism in rural black communities in the Delta.

Project fields:
African American Studies

Program:
Fellowships

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
8/1/2022 – 7/31/2023


FEL-272918-21

Alexandre Mattos Roberts
University of Southern California (Los Angeles, CA 90089-0012)
Matter Redeemed: Physics and Alchemy in Byzantium and the Islamic World

Research and writing leading to a book on physics and alchemy in the pan-Mediterranean Byzantine world (300-1400).

Theoretical speculation about the laws governing the transformation of matter has a long history in western Eurasia, stretching at least from the first millennium BCE to the present. My project traces the cultural impact of theories about nature by considering how medieval Muslim, Christian, Jewish, and Sabian (pagan) intellectuals writing in Greek and Arabic in the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East from the fourth to the fifteenth century CE understood and valorized matter and its transformation. The resulting monograph will argue that Byzantine and Middle Eastern scholars cared about matter because it had come to be at the heart of the cosmic drama in which humankind was the protagonist. The authors of these texts and their audiences, I contend, were informed by a shared conception of the mechanisms by which matter could be transformed, and by the shared notion that a redemptive logic structures matter’s transformation.

Project fields:
Intellectual History; Medieval History; Near and Middle Eastern History

Program:
Fellowships

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
6/1/2022 – 5/31/2023


FEL-272945-21

Barbara Sue Weinstein
New York University (New York, NY 10012-1019)
An Intellectual Biography of Historian Frank Tannenbaum (1893-1969)

Research and writing leading to an intellectual biography of Frank Tannenbaum (1893-1969), an influential scholar of Latin American history and longtime professor at Columbia University.

My project is an intellectual biography of the historian, criminologist, and social critic Frank Tannenbaum. Best known for his 1946 book Slave and Citizen, a pioneering discussion of race in the Americas, Tannenbaum contributed to an extraordinary range of scholarly and political debates, and authored foundational texts on the Mexican Revolution and on criminal identity. My study of his life and work focuses on the connections between his early years as an anarchist militant, which led to his spending 12 months in prison before attending college, and the originality and range of his scholarly production. I suggest that even after he moved into a position as a professor of Latin American history at Columbia and began shifting to the right on the political spectrum, these early experiences as an activist and auto-didact informed his intellectual perspective and allowed him to formulate highly original arguments that had a profound impact on several different fields of research.

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

Program:
Fellowships

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
1/1/2022 – 12/31/2022


FEL-272961-21

Christopher John Pincock
Ohio State University (Columbus, OH 43210-1132)
Scientific explanation, inference, and realism

Research and writing leading to publication of a book that defends scientific realism.

My project provides a novel defense of the view that our best, current science provides knowledge of unobservable entities like electrons and the Big Bang. This realistic approach to science faces many challenges, including the historical track-record of scientific errors and the ongoing need to deploy models that distort the features of target systems. I show how reflection on the nature of explanation and inference can be used to respond to these challenges. There is good reason to think that scientists now have an improved understanding of how models can explain and when they indicate the truth. This refined understanding shows how the technological and practical successes that science has offered are sufficient evidence for the truth of much of our scientific conception of the world.

Project fields:
Philosophy of Science

Program:
Fellowships

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
1/1/2022 – 12/31/2022


FEL-272966-21

Colin Hoag
Trustees of Smith College (Northampton, MA 01063-6304)
Landscapes of a National Natural Resource in Lesotho, the World’s First Water-Exporting Country

Research and writing leading to a book on the complex social, economic, and ecological factors involved in the South African water crisis and Lesotho’s role as an exporter of this precious commodity.

For a century Lesotho acted as a labor reserve for South African mining industry. As mining employment collapsed in the 1990s, Lesotho signed a treaty with South Africa to build a series of dams and divert water to arid Johannesburg. Lesotho had become the world’s first water-exporter. As water rose in national importance, however, its very nature came into question, inciting debates about how it flows across the landscape. Conservation experts worry that soil erosion and reservoir sedimentation might imperil this massive water project. They blame rural livestock owners who turned to livestock production in the absence of mining jobs. Rural people, by contrast, blame soil erosion on climate change, citing increased drought and destructive thunderstorms. In effect, Lesotho’s water-export economy has exposed a crisis of environmental interpretation. My research scrutinizes this debate, showing why humanistic insights are crucial to emergent water regimes in the Anthropocene.

Project fields:
African Studies; Cultural Anthropology

Program:
Fellowships

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
1/1/2021 – 6/30/2021


FEL-272983-21

Aparna Dharwadker
University of Wisconsin, Madison (Madison, WI 53715-1218)
"Alternative Modernities" and the Modernization of Urban Theatre in India

Research and writing leading of a book about urban theater and modernity in colonial and postcolonial India, from 1850 to the present.

This study argues that the development of urban theatre as a secular, competitive, artistic institution in colonial and postcolonial India exemplifies in uniquely complex ways the “alternative modernity” of cultural forms in the Global South. Given India’s long precolonial history of multilingual literacy and indigenous performance, the modernizing force of Anglo-European influences created aesthetic, material, and institutional conditions for theatre after 1850 that were historically unprecedented and culturally transformative, but still affected by the legacies of “tradition.” The new initiatives included the resurgence of classical Sanskrit models, print authorship, large-scale translation, anti-commercialism, and the formation as well as subversion of a “new national canon” after independence (1947-). My project thus delineates the evolving modernity of a major non-Western urban theatre field, connecting it to sociocultural shifts in India and to vital movements in world theatre.

Project fields:
South Asian Literature; South Asian Studies; Theater History and Criticism

Program:
Fellowships

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
1/1/2022 – 12/31/2022


FEL-272993-21

Marlene Leydy Daut
University of Virginia (Charlottesville, VA 22903-4833)
Awakening the Ashes: An Intellectual History of Haiti

Research and writing leading to an intellectual history of Haiti from 1804 to the 1950s.

In recent years, scholars of historiography have argued the need for a more comparative and capacious understanding of global intellectual history that moves beyond Europe. Awakening the Ashes, which will be the first comprehensive intellectual history of Haiti published in the English language, contributes to this move by placing Haitian writers and politicians within the global history of ideas. Beginning with Haitian independence in 1804 and ending around the time of the second World War, this book is designed to provide an in-depth study of key figures of 19th- and early 20th-century Haitian intellectual history and a broad analysis of what Haitian political, literary, and historical ideas writ large might reveal.

Project fields:
Cultural History; Intellectual History; Latin American History

Program:
Fellowships

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
7/1/2021 – 6/30/2022


FEL-273003-21

Benjamin Howard Leeming
Unknown institution
Translating the Newberry Library’s Nahuatl (Aztec) Sermonary, the First Sermons of the Americas

Translation into English of the Newberry Library’s collection of Nahuatl-language Christian sermons dating from the 1540s.

The Newberry Library’s Nahuatl (Aztec) Sermonary is a collection of the New World’s first sermons; it is also the last remaining unedited work associated with eminent sixteenth century Franciscan missionary, Bernardino de Sahagún. Sahagún is best known today as the editor of the Florentine Codex, often referred to as the first work of modern ethnography. However, Sahagún was also intimately involved in the production of Nahuatl doctrinal materials. Securely dated to the 1540s, the Newberry Sermonary provides the unique opportunity to observe the earliest surviving formulations of Christian doctrine in an Indigenous language of the Americas. The sermons are hybrid texts, Christian in theme, but written in Nahuatl by Nahua scholars trained by the friars at the Colegio de Santa Cruz. Through translation, readers will gain access to a lengthy documentary source of tremendous linguistic, cultural, and historical value.

Project fields:
Latin American History; Latin American Languages; Latin American Literature

Program:
Fellowships

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
9/1/2021 – 8/31/2022


FEL-273005-21

Cassia Roth
University of Georgia (Athens, GA 30602-0001)
Birthing Abolition: Enslaved Women, Reproduction, and the Gradual End of Slavery in Nineteenth-Century Brazil

Research and writing leading to a book on enslaved women, reproduction, and abolition in Brazil, 1820s-1888.

This project argues that enslaved women's reproductive agency shaped the legal parameters of abolition in nineteenth-century Brazil. It traces how enslaved women's reproduction, and elite efforts to control it, in the early century allowed for later legislation based on captive women's reproductive bodies. In particular the threat of reproductive resistance, or abortion and infanticide as purposeful attacks on the institution of slavery, loomed large in the imagination of both pro- and anti-slavery political elites. The project contends that negative biological growth in conjunction with enslaved women's actions created the space for abolitionists to implement the legal framework that ended slavery.

Project fields:
Latin American History; Legal History; Women's History

Program:
Fellowships

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
8/1/2021 – 7/31/2022


FEL-273017-21

Richard H. Davis
Bard College (Annandale-on-Hudson, NY 12504-9800)
Religious Cultures of Early India, up to 650 CE

Research and writing leading to publication of a book describing the development of religious cultures in India, from the earliest evidence to 700 CE, including the interrelated traditions that became Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism.

My book project is a narrative history of religious cultures in early India, from their first traceable beginnings through the middle of the seventh century CE. Unlike most histories of early Indian religions that focus on a single religious formation, this history will explore religious developments across the multiple traditions which we now designate as Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain, as well as others that did not survive as named religions. Adopting a broad understanding of religion, it will center around varied and contending visions of the “good life,” both individual and societal, and the transformative practices aimed at achieving such lives. It develops its narrative around select works of importance, verbal ones and also archeological and art historical sources, located in the historical setting of their time of composition. It aims to present this complex and dynamic history in an accessible manner for specialists, students, non-specialists, and the broader reading public.

Project fields:
Nonwestern Religion; South Asian History; South Asian Studies

Program:
Fellowships

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
1/1/2021 – 8/31/2021


FEL-273019-21

Anne D. Hedeman
University of Kansas, Lawrence (Lawrence, KS 66045-7505)
Gothic Manuscripts, 1320-1390

Research and preparation of of a co-authored book on medieval illuminated manuscripts from France during the 14th century.

Anne D. Hedeman in collaboration with Elizabeth Morrison will co-author Gothic Manuscripts, 1320-1390, a volume in the series A Survey of Manuscripts Illuminated in France. The volume’s co-authored introductory essay and analysis of 100-150 individual manuscripts, with each scholar contributing fifty to seventy-five analyses, will create an indispensable reference work for established scholars while offering beginning scholars an overview of the visual culture of a distant time and place and of the material, intellectual, and art historical significance of fourteenth-century books. Fourteenth-century illumination in France has not been as well-studied as that from other eras. This volume will reveal that it is the very circumstances of political and societal upheaval in the fourteenth century that drove the book market to be one of the most active and inventive, impelling new types of books, illumination programs, and stylistic experimentation.

Project fields:
Art History and Criticism

Program:
Fellowships

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
1/1/2021 – 12/31/2021


FEL-273041-21

Anna Holian
Arizona State University (Tempe, AZ 85281-3670)
Setting up Shop in the House of the Hangman: Jewish Economic Life in Postwar Germany

Research and writing leading to a book on Jewish economic life in postwar Germany (1945-1970).

How did Jews make a living in Germany after the Holocaust? And how were making a living and making a home intertwined? These are the questions at the heart of my book on Jewish economic life in postwar West Germany. Covering the period between the end of the war and the mid-1970s, the book offers an economic and social history of a long and painful (re-)integration process. I examine how Jews (re-)established themselves in business and consider what role their economic activities played in rebuilding Jewish life in Germany. I also consider how survivors’ personal economic histories mapped onto the economic history of the country as a whole. I challenge the prevailing view that Jews in postwar Germany were “sojourners,” temporary residents prepared to leave -- and abandon their businesses -- at the earliest opportunity. But I also show that, despite what is often assumed, they benefited only modestly from the German "economic miracle" of the 1950s and 60s.

Project fields:
Economic History; European History; Immigration History

Program:
Fellowships

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
7/1/2021 – 6/30/2022


FEL-273083-21

Eduardo Ledesma
University of Illinois (Champaign, IL 61801-3620)
Blind Cinema: Visually Impaired Filmmakers and Technologies of Sight

Research and writing leading to a book about visually impaired filmmakers and the experience of blindness through film.

"Blind Cinema," for which I seek a 12-month NEH Fellowship, has two key aims: first, to raise critical awareness about the work of blind filmmakers, and second, to establish the contours of a blind cinematic style through theories of the gaze and haptic film. It is the first book to study how visually impaired filmmakers use digital media both to make visible the experience of disability and to destabilize stereotypes about the blind. My analysis of films by blind and visually impaired directors, as well as of collaborations between blind and sighted filmmakers shows how the aesthetics and content of these works represent the experience of blindness. I bridge film and disability studies approaches to consider how new technologies of vision are giving blind filmmakers access to the tools and techniques of filmmaking and how their innovations are transforming our experience of film and of visual culture.

Project fields:
Film History and Criticism; Media Studies

Program:
Fellowships

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
1/1/2022 – 12/31/2022


FEL-273093-21

Nahyan Abdul Ghaffar Fancy
DePauw University (Greencastle, IN 46135-1736)
In Ibn al-Nafis’s Shadow: Arabic Medical Commentaries in the Post-Classical Period (1200-1520)

Research and writing leading to a book on Late Medieval Arabic medicine and the Arab scholarly critique of the Galenic school of Avicenna/Ibn Sina,

This project analyzes, for the first time, medical issues that attracted the interests of eight Islamic commentators on the *Canon of Medicine* and its abridgment, *The Epitome*, between 1200 and 1520 CE. It helps define the main contours of medical thought during a period often mischaracterized as one of “decline.” It highlights the intellectual rigor of the commentarial discussions that helped modify and transform existing medical theory. The project also situates the debates and discussions of these Arabic commentaries within the intellectual, institutional and social contexts of post-1200 Islamic societies, revealing the intertwined nature of medicine, philosophy and religion. Finally, by studying both the textual content and manuscript marginalia and notes, the project pays close attention to how medical commentaries were produced, disseminated, used and studied.

Project fields:
History and Philosophy of Science, Technology, and Medicine; History of Science; Near and Middle Eastern History

Program:
Fellowships

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
7/1/2021 – 6/30/2022


FEL-273130-21

Patrick Frierson
Whitman College (Walla Walla, WA 99362-2083)
Maria Montessori's Moral Philosophy

Research and writing leading to publication of a book on the moral philosophy of physician and educator Maria Montessori (1870-1952).

For this project, I will write a monograph on Maria Montessori's moral philosophy.

Project fields:
Ethics; History of Philosophy; Philosophy, Other

Program:
Fellowships

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
1/1/2021 – 8/31/2021


FEL-273148-21

Jeffrey Thomas Wickes
Saint Louis University (St. Louis, MO 63103-2097)
Poetry, Religion, and the Past: Syriac Poems on Saint and Martyrs in Late Antiquity

Research and writing leading to a book analyzing a set of 120 Christian Syriac poems on saints and martyrs, written in the 4th-6th centuries CE, that demonstrate the writing and performance of poetry as a religious practice.

This book explores the relationship between poetry and religion as refracted in a set of 120 poems on saints and martyrs. These poems were written in Syriac, a dialect of Aramaic, between the fourth and sixth centuries C.E., in late antique Rome and Persia. Underlying the particular study are a set of basic questions about poetry, religion, and the past. In what ways are these 120 poems religious? How has the writing and performance of poetry acted as a religious practice? What concepts of religion emerge when we view poetic production in terms of religious practice? How are these questions weighted when the poems and the religious practices around which they developed come from a past culture, one radically different from the contemporary context in which we ask them? Taking Syriac poetry itself as its subject, this is the first study to integrate these questions into a broader account of eastern Christian literature as a distinctive phenomenon.

Project fields:
Ancient History; History of Religion; Near and Middle Eastern Literature

Program:
Fellowships

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
7/1/2021 – 6/30/2022


FEL-273163-21

Misty Y. Schieberle
University of Kansas, Lawrence (Lawrence, KS 66045-7505)
Patriarchy, Politics, and Christine de Pizan's Influence on English Literature, 1400-1478

Research and writing leading to a book on the reception of French author Christine de Pizan’s writing in late medieval English Literature.

This monograph recovers French author Christine de Pizan's substantial influence on late medieval English literature, an influence obscured by male writers' failure to cite her properly or at all, due to a combination of misogyny and political rivalries. Using a methodology that attends to gender, translators' practices, and political tensions between England and France, I reorient fifteenth-century English literary culture around Christine as the central figure whose inventive perspectives on authority, gender, war, and politics provided a rich opportunity for English writers to translate, adapt, and react to her ideas. New manuscript evidence reveals that writers such as Hoccleve and Lydgate knew Christine’s works better than their poems disclose, demonstrating that although they prefer to place themselves in the masculine English lineage of Chaucer, they owe many innovations in the form, content, and quality of their writings to the prominent French woman author instead.

Project fields:
British Literature; French Literature; Medieval Studies

Program:
Fellowships

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
8/1/2021 – 7/31/2022


FEL-273171-21

Allison Mickel
Lehigh University (Bethlehem, PA 18015-3027)
Turning over the Spade: Startup Approaches to Transforming Labor Relations in Jordanian Archaeology

Research and writing leading to a book on how two Jordanian non-profits are developing cultural heritage management capacity among local archaeological laborers.

My ethnographic research project examines a current and significant movement in the practice of Jordanian archaeology, toward building local capacity and increased local representation in cultural heritage management in Jordan. In 2016, two startup nonprofit corporations emerged in Jordan with the aim of building local capacity to document, conserve, protect, and make decisions about the future of archaeological sites in Jordan. These corporations, if successful, will transform entrenched archaeological labor management strategies with more than 200 years of history. I am following these companies for five years in order to advance current discussion across the fields of archaeology, critical cultural heritage, science studies, and sustainable development. This fellowship will support five months of ethnographic fieldwork and seven months to complete a book manuscript.

Project fields:
Anthropology; Archaeology; History and Philosophy of Science, Technology, and Medicine

Program:
Fellowships

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
8/1/2021 – 7/31/2022


FEL-273177-21

Shari Rabin
Oberlin College (Oberlin, OH 44074-1057)
Jews and the American South: Race, Religion, Region

Research and writing leading to publication of a book narrating the history of Jewish people in the South, from 1669 to the present day.

This project is the first academic survey of southern Jewish history. Jews have had a presence in what came to be known as the South since the late seventeenth century, and while scholarship on this history has grown tremendously in the last fifty years, it has not made an impact on broader conversations about the American South. Because Jews were distinctive not only in belief and practice, but in kinship ties and occupational patterns, they complicated southern racial and religious norms. When viewed through the lens of its Jewish residents, the South emerges as a place not only of rural spaces, rigid racial divisions, and Christian uniformity, but of urban settings, shifting dynamics of inclusion and exclusion, and diverse people groups laying claim to southern belonging. In focusing on a seemingly marginal group in a seemingly peripheral place, this book will tell a bigger story about American history.

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

Program:
Fellowships

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
8/1/2021 – 7/31/2022


FEL-273182-21

Ian Matthew Miller
St. John's University, New York (Queens, NY 11439-9000)
Ancestral Shade: Kinship and Ecology in South China, 1200-1850

Research and writing leading to a book on the role of kinship organizations in the environmental history of South China from 1200 to 1850.

This project explores the roles played by kinship organizations in the environmental history of South China between 1200 and 1850. Through both case studies and cross-sectional analysis of kinship groups in Jiangxi Province, I explore how lineage organizations emerged as the key institutions in local political ecology. Lineages anchored their control of village-level environments to graves and shrines. They endowed land to corporations held in the name of their ancestors, and used fengshui geomancy to govern the vegetation and landforms permitted in discrete segments of the village landscape. Most importantly, they used the framework of patrilineal descent to determine who was permitted access to shared resources. Far from eternal features of the Chinese environment, village landscapes were created through repeated interactions between people and their natal soils and waters, flora and fauna, governed by a coherent ethics joining kinship and ecology.

Project fields:
East Asian History; East Asian Studies

Program:
Fellowships

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
1/1/2022 – 12/31/2022


FEL-273185-21

Amrita Dhar
Ohio State University (Columbus, OH 43210-1132)
John Milton’s Blind Language

Research and writing leading to a book on the influence of blindness on the writing of English author John Milton (1608–1674).

This is a study of seventeenth-century author and polemic John Milton’s poetic language created in his years of partial and ultimately complete blindness: his psalm translations and some shorter poems, and significantly, the landmark achievements Paradise Lost, Paradise Regained, and Samson Agonistes. Examining, on one hand, blindness in terms of language, and on the other, poetic language in terms of visual transformation, this project demonstrates the workings of blindness towards the creation of some of our most enduring poetry. Similarly, this study shows how Milton’s final long blind verse bears the weight of its author’s lived visual difference. This work thus addresses a gap in early modern studies, scholarship on poetry, disability studies, and the literary humanities by establishing the affirmative capacities and far-reaching aesthetic consequences of blind writing.

Project fields:
British Literature; Literary Criticism

Program:
Fellowships

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
5/1/2021 – 4/30/2022


FEL-273203-21

Beth Lew-Williams
Princeton University (Princeton, NJ 08540-5228)
John Doe Chinaman: Race and Law in the American West, 1850-1924

Research and writing leading to a book on Chinese immigrants and the law in the American West, 1850-1924.

This book project examines the regulation of race and alienage in the American West, with particular attention to the experiences of Chinese migrants. While previous scholarship has focused on how federal law “excluded” the Chinese from the nation and erected immigration controls at its borders, my book will draw attention to how local and state law “included” the Chinese within the political economy and forged a racial regime in the interior. Twin questions drive this project as well as my larger commitment to the study of inequality: How have racial and national boundaries produced power relations within American society? And how have power relations determined the bounds of race and citizenship? My search for answers begins with legal sources, because the state has played an outsize role in this dialectical process. My ultimate goal, however, is to produce social history that captures the meaning of state power in the lives of marginalized peoples, both past and present.

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

Program:
Fellowships

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
7/1/2022 – 6/30/2023


FEL-273230-21

Michael Gibbs Hill
College of William and Mary (Williamsburg, VA 23186-0002)
Reading Distance: Chinese and Arabic Literatures at the End of Empire, 1850-1950

Research and writing leading to a book on the connections between intellectual “enlightenment” in China and Nahda (i.e., awakening) in the Middle East from the 19th to the first half of the 20th century.

This project breaks new ground in comparative literary and cultural studies, connecting the intellectual “enlightenment” in China in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century with the “enlightenment” or “awakening” (Nahda) in Arabic-language cultural and intellectual history of the mid-nineteenth through the early twentieth century. Using materials in Chinese and Arabic—often in translation or in dialogue with writings in English, French, and German—my project begins in the mid-nineteenth century, when these two intellectual and literary traditions were relatively isolated from one another, and extends to a moment in the 1940s that saw substantial exchanges among intellectuals from the Republic of China and Egypt. Through a historically and linguistically rigorous account of these developments, my project pushes the limits of the methods of global intellectual and cultural history and comparative literature.

Project fields:
Arabic Literature; Comparative Literature; East Asian Literature

Program:
Fellowships

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
7/1/2021 – 12/31/2021


FEL-273250-21

Ananya Chakravarti
Georgetown University (Washington, DC 20057-0001)
The Konkan: Space, Mobility and Cultural Ecology on an Indian Ocean Coast, 1500-2019

Research and writing leading to a book on the history of Konkan (a coastal plain in western India), and the factors contributing to its regional identity. 

The Konkan coast, stretching from south of Mumbai to north Kerala, long bound South Asia to the Indian Ocean while remaining peripheral to its interior polities. Its geographic amorphousness reflects the political fragmentation of a coast drawn into the orbit of many local, regional and global polities. Konkan peoples travelled widely, while others arrived in waves upon its shores, their entangled histories embodied by communities like the Afro-Asian Siddis or Goan Catholics. Political fragmentation and mobility does not prevent the Konkan from cohering as a "region." Konkan histories of mobility, and cultural phenomena such as cults of deities of place and the Konkani language reflect a long-overlooked spatial and historical unity. Combining archival and ethnographic methods, I explore how regional cultural ecologies formed at the borders of global and local space in the early modern world and how these connections transformed and persisted into the contemporary moment.

Project fields:
South Asian History; South Asian Studies

Program:
Fellowships

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
9/1/2021 – 8/31/2022


FEL-273265-21

Lisa Marie Bitel
University of Southern California (Los Angeles, CA 90089-0012)
Unseen: The Religious Supernatural in the Earliest Middle Ages

Research and writing leading to a book on religious conversion to Christianity in early medieval Britain and Ireland.

My book project is about religious change in Ireland and Britain between ca. 400-800 C.E.. Most scholars treat the Christianization of these islands as a story of sudden epiphanies, drawn from Christian-authored medieval histories and hagiographies. I propose instead to explain changes in the religious habits and landscapes of ordinary people in relation to the unseen forces that surrounded them. The source base includes neglected texts across written genres in both Latin and the vernaculars, as well as a growing body of recent archaeological evidence that contradicts traditional histories. I use this evidence to show how people in the region gradually shifted their interactions with the religious supernatural, including the triune Christian God. They chose what to see among possible religious realities, then negotiated with family members, allies, and authorities to find efficacious ways of dealing with the supernatural. Eventually, they learned to look like Christians.

Project fields:
History of Religion; Medieval History

Program:
Fellowships

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
8/1/2021 – 5/31/2022


FEL-273273-21

Jens-Uwe Guettel
Pennsylvania State University (University Park, PA 16802-1503)
Radical Democracy in Germany, 1871-1918

Research and writing leading to a book on democratic movements in imperial Germany, 1871-1918.

Radical Democracy in Germany, 1871-1918, focuses on resistance to a patently undemocratic system. The project examines center-left reformers, socialists, feminists, and proponents of gay rights who between 1871 and the state’s demise at the end of the First World War profoundly altered the autocratic structure of the German Empire. While being targeted by the country’s authorities this study’s subjects pushed back against a system designed to protect small social and economic elites. They demanded reforms of gerrymandered franchise procedures; of sexual and gender norms; and of Germany’s nationalist and imperialist foreign and economic policies. The book highlights the potential for democratic change even under undemocratic conditions, and the chances taken or squandered by the champions of democratic reform in Germany before 1918. As such, it exposes understudied moments of historical contingency and tells stories of what was and suggests futures of what could have been.

Project fields:
European History

Program:
Fellowships

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
7/1/2021 – 6/30/2022


FEL-273288-21

Melissa Yin Mueller
University of Massachusetts, Amherst (Amherst, MA 01003-9242)
Sappho and Homer: A Reparative Reading

Research and preparation of a book exploring the reception of Homeric epics in the work of the ancient Greek poet Sappho (c. 630-570 BCE).

Like all poets in archaic Greece, Sappho was steeped in Homer’s story world; yet scholars typically frame the relationship between the two poets as competitive and antagonistic. Inspired by the work of Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick whose turn in the mid-1990s toward “reparative reading” sparked a new wave of queer feminist criticism, this project seeks to disentangle Sappho’s reading of Homer from the combative, arena-like moves and politics of current practices of literary criticism. In queering the markedly heterosexual desire foregrounded by epic, her lyrics furnish alternative endings and new interpretations of epic material. Sappho expertly captures the experience of falling in and out of love, as a woman, a poet, and a reader of epic. This will be one of the first books to offer in-depth discussions of the major fragments, including those only recently published, and to initiate a conversation between philological scholarship on Sappho and Homer and more recent trends in the humanities.

Project fields:
Classical Languages; Classical Literature; Gender Studies

Program:
Fellowships

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
9/1/2021 – 8/31/2022


FEL-273298-21

Annette Damayanti Lienau
Harvard University (Cambridge, MA 02138-3800)
Sacred Language, Vernacular Difference, and Counter-Imperial Writing from the Arabophone to the Asian-African (19th-20th C.)

Research and writing leading to a book on how Arabic became a counter-imperial and transregional language that connected African and Asian in the 19th-20h centuries.

This project challenges prevailing paradigms in the fields of comparative and post-colonial studies of Asian and African literature. While scholars in post-colonial studies tend to focus on how literatures have developed in response to European imperial influences, this book emphasizes how writers across imperial and regional lines also incorporated or responded to a scriptural Arabic literary sensibility. The project traces how Arabic—as a transregional, inter-ethnic, and inter-religious language—became intertwined with important debates about ethnolinguistic egalitarianism in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, with underexamined implications for the politics of post-colonial culture. Drawing from case studies of Senegalese, Egyptian, and Indonesian writing, and incorporating sources in Arabic, French, Wolof, and Indonesian, the project offers a new perspective on the emergence of twentieth-century counter-imperial and national literatures.

Project fields:
African Literature; Arabic Language; Comparative Literature

Program:
Fellowships

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
1/1/2021 – 12/31/2021


FEL-273338-21

Saundra Weddle
Drury University (Springfield, MO 65802-3791)
Architecture, Mobility, Segregation: The Everyday Spatial Practices of Women in Early Modern Venice

Research and preparation of a book studying the opposing forces of mobility and confinement of women in Venice during the 16th-18th centuries.

This urban history examines the everyday spatial practices of nuns, sex workers, and widows in early modern Venice, where marginalized status presented obstacles to and opportunities for women’s agency. Convents, brothels, and widows’ residences established a certain alterity for their inhabitants, but analysis of residential, institutional, and professional nodes and networks reveals the instability of this "otherness.” Relying on archival sources, I produce digital maps that establish, assess, and present gendered patterns of mobility, interconnectivity, and segregation in the context of daily life. More than mere illustrations, they serve as spatial and relational texts, conveying embodied experience in ways that analog maps or even site visits cannot. Focusing on mechanisms of control, tactics for asserting agency, and ways the built environment conditions activities, a broad range of case studies produces a critical reading of Venice as dynamic space rather than static place.

Project fields:
Architecture; Renaissance Studies; Urban History

Program:
Fellowships

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
2/1/2021 – 7/31/2021


FEL-273348-21

Lakshmi Krishnan
Georgetown University (Washington, DC 20057-0001)
The Doctor and the Detective: A Cultural History of Diagnosis

Research and writing leading to a book on the intersection of medical diagnoses and detective literature in England, France, and the U.S. from the 19th century to mid-20th century.

The Doctor & the Detective argues that the medical practice of diagnosis cannot be understood without examining its shared intellectual lineage with the literary genre of detective fiction. Sweeping from post-revolutionary Paris to Harlem, the book introduces us to key historical and fictional doctors and detectives in the 150 years leading up to World War II, a central period for both contemporary Western medicine and detective fiction. It draws on medical and literary sources to excavate how the relationship between diagnosis and detective fiction arose, consolidated, and ultimately, diverged. Though this alliance is repeatedly interrogated in detective fiction, it has solidified and remained largely unexamined in medical practice. Ultimately, The Doctor & the Detective repositions diagnosis as an essential strand in the complex history of how doctors—and by extension, humans think—and leads to a richer understanding of the intersection between medicine, society, and culture.

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

Program:
Fellowships

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
1/1/2022 – 12/31/2022


FEL-273380-21

Patrick Justus Iber
University of Wisconsin, Madison (Madison, WI 53715-1218)
The Ford Foundation, Social Science, and the Politics of Poverty and Inequality in Cold War Latin America

Research and writing leading to a book about the Ford Foundation’s social scientific research in Latin America during the Cold War.

This book will provide an examination of the development of social scientific thinking about poverty and inequality as seen through the operations of the Ford Foundation in Cold War Latin America. During the Cold War, the Ford Foundation was the major institution for the promotion and consolidation of the social sciences throughout the region, and Latin America was an essential site of Cold War contestation in what the United States understood to be its area of influence. Poverty was seen as a political danger, since it could lead the poor to embrace Communism; understanding it and alleviating was a matter of national security. This project will examine the grants, practices, and institutions developed and supported by the Ford Foundation. In so doing, it will make it possible to track changing understandings of poverty and inequality over time, and thus contribute to the intellectual history of the social sciences, U.S. diplomatic history, and Latin American history.

Project fields:
Diplomatic History; Intellectual History; Latin American History

Program:
Fellowships

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
1/1/2022 – 12/31/2022


FEL-273424-21

Laura E. Kunreuther
Bard College (Annandale-on-Hudson, NY 12504-9800)
Interpreting the Field, Translating Global Voices: On the Labor of Interpreters in UN Field Missions

Research and writing leading to a book on how U.N. mission interpreters translate trauma across different languages and how such translation affects the interpreters themselves.

Drawing on research in Nepal, Geneva, and among refugee interpreters from Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya, my project explores the work of field interpreters for UN missions, whose labor is typically invisible but essential to global organizations. My analysis centers around two competing ethical positions that remain in tension and structure interpreter's work in the field. Interpreters must become neutral conduits of voice who translate information faithfully and transparently. Interpreters also frequently describe their role as ear-witnesses, who bear an ethical responsibility to accurately convey often deeply traumatic testimonies in ways that can affect the interpreter's own sense of humanity. At its broadest level, Interpreting the Field explores historical and cultural connections between the invisibility of UN interpreters' labor and the bureaucratic ideals of transparency and global citizenship, asking how these ideals are embodied, or not, in the day-to-day work of UN missions.

Project fields:
Cultural Anthropology; Interdisciplinary Studies, Other; Languages, General

Program:
Fellowships

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
7/1/2021 – 6/30/2022


FEL-273428-21

Josh C. Lauer
University of New Hampshire, Durham (Durham, NH 03824-2620)
The Telephone in America: A Cultural History of Instant Connection

Research and writing a book on the history and proliferation of the telephone and how it transformed modern societies, from Alexander Graham Bell to the present.

Though the early history of the telephone is well documented and the rise of mobile communication after 1990 has attracted intense scholarly interest, we know surprisingly little about how the telephone shaped American society during the twentieth century. How did the proliferation of telephones – in offices and stores, in homes and on streets – change the way Americans thought of personal communication? How did it redefine their sense of time and place, work and leisure, connection and privacy? These questions are historical, but their answers illuminate the predicaments of twenty-first-century digital life. While providing a comprehensive cultural history of the telephone in America, this book project excavates the origins and development of today’s always-on, always-connected condition, drawing attention to the telephone’s compensatory function as a technological antidote to the shocks and dislocations of modernity.

Project fields:
Communications; Communications; Cultural History; Media Studies

Program:
Fellowships

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
8/1/2022 – 7/31/2023


FEL-273489-21

Sueann Caulfield
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1382)
Stretching the Boundaries of Legitimacy: The Changing Meaning of Family in Brazil

Research and writing leading to a social history of Brazilian family law during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

My study is a social history of Brazilian family law over two centuries, largely from the perspective of non-marital children. It examines a range of lived experiences and social expectations regarding fathers’ relationships with their children of varied birth-status, as revealed through struggles of non-marital children and unmarried mothers to gain access to family rights by petitioning for “legitimation,” suing for paternal acknowledgment, requesting state pensions or other family benefits, or joining political movements. Analyzing these individual struggles within the context of public debates over women’s and children’s rights, my book reveals ground-level dynamics of major paradigm shifts in the legal conception of the family as it shifted from what legal scholars identify as “the patriarchal, patrimonial model,” shaped by nineteenth-century liberalism, to the “egalitarian and pluralistic model” that emerged from anti-authoritarian movements of the late twentieth century.

Project fields:
Gender Studies; Latin American History

Program:
Fellowships

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
8/1/2021 – 7/31/2022


FEL-273537-21

Caitlin Earley
University of Nevada, Reno (Reno, NV 89557-0001)
The Captive Body in Late Classic Maya Art: Bound in Rope, Bound in Stone

Research and writing leading to a book on the roles and identities of bound captives in Late Classic Maya stone sculpture.

This book project investigates depictions of captives in Late Classic (600-900 CE) Maya stone sculpture. Although they are usually understood as emblems of dishonor, this study suggests that captives were both multivalent and rhetorically powerful in Maya art. Based on analysis of the style, iconography, and context of over 300 depictions of captured enemies from throughout the Maya area, I demonstrate that captives in Late Classic Maya art legitimized royal authority, constructed specific social identities, and ensured the maintenance of world order through the nourishing power of their bodies. Treating the captive body as a cultural project that both shaped and reflected the embodied experiences of ancient people, this analysis enables a more robust understanding of Maya art by recovering the ways in which carved stone sculptures signified to diverse audiences in ancient Maya centers.

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

Program:
Fellowships

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
7/1/2021 – 12/31/2021


FEL-273547-21

Susanna Schellenberg
Rutgers University (New Brunswick, NJ 08901-8559)
The Neural Basis of Perception: Discrimination, Information-Processing, and Biases

Research and writing leading to publication of a book on the nature of perception based on current neuroscience.

The Neural Basis of Perception: Discrimination, Information-Processing, and Biases is a philosophical investigation into the neural underpinnings of how we experience the world through our senses. Neuroscience is currently one of the most exciting areas of scientific research. The last two decades have seen enormous progress in understanding the neural basis of perception. Despite obvious relevance, this research has barely been taken up in philosophical accounts of perception. Similarly, philosophical work on perception has had little influence on neuroscientific accounts. My book aims to develop an encompassing understanding of the nature of perception informed by both sides thereby contributing to debates in both philosophy and neuroscience while building a bridge between them.

Project fields:
Epistemology; Philosophy, Other

Program:
Fellowships

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
1/1/2021 – 12/31/2021


FEL-273574-21

Mark Fisher
Georgetown University (Washington, DC 20057-0001)
Thucydides and the Heroic Democracy

Research and writing leading to a book on the ancient Greek historian Thucydides (c.460 BC - c.400 BC) and his understanding of Athenian democracy. 

This book project offers a fundamental reinterpretation of Thucydides’ analysis of Athenian democracy. Drawing upon literary, epigraphic, and visual evidence to contextualize Thucydides’ account, I show that he advanced an understanding of dêmokratia that was substantively different from later definitions of “democracy.” Paradoxical though it seems, he impressed upon his reader the need to analyze Athenian democracy as a form of autocratic rule, not as an inherently egalitarian regime. In doing so, I show, Thucydides reinvented the traditional ideology of heroic kingship, utilizing explanatory tools from Greek science to produce an account of a heroic democracy that was at once proto-social scientific and indebted to tragic myth. Recognition of this project redefines our understanding of Thucydidean thought and suggests an understanding of “democracy” that challenges present orthodoxy in both democratic theory and intellectual history.

Project fields:
Ancient History; Classics; Political Theory

Program:
Fellowships

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
5/1/2021 – 12/31/2021


FEL-273616-21

Sara Galletti
Duke University (Durham, NC 27705-4677)
History of Stone Vaulting in the Pre-Modern Mediterranean: Practices, Theories, and Patterns of Knowledge Transfer

Research and preparation of a book on the history of stereotomy, an architectural vaulting technique used in the Mediterranean region from about 300 BCE through the 18th century CE.

In this book, I explore the history of a stone vaulting technique called stereotomy from a transnational, longue durée perspective across the Mediterranean from the third century BCE—when the oldest of known stereotomic vaults was built in the Sanctuary of Delphi—through the 16th and 17th centuries, when pioneering theoretical works such as those by Philibert de L’Orme (1514–70) and Alonso de Vandelvira (1544–1626) crossed the boundaries of the building trades and stereotomy became the focus of a broader intellectual debate about solid geometry. I argue that the history of stereotomy is far more complex and fascinating than historians have assumed so far and that it offers a privileged perspective on the cultural and material exchanges that have taken place, across spatial, linguistic, and chronological boundaries, in the long history of the Mediterranean and its peoples.

Project fields:
Architecture; Art History and Criticism

Program:
Fellowships

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
7/1/2021 – 6/30/2022


FEL-273733-21

Yasmeen Daifallah
University of California, Santa Cruz (Santa Cruz, CA 95064-1077)
Thinking Past Islam and the West: Theorizing Politics in Contemporary Arab Thought

Research and writing leading to a book on the political thought of three prominent contemporary Arab philosophers and historians: Abdullah Laroui (1933—), Hassan Hanafi (1935—), and Mohamed ‘Abed Al-Jabri (1935-2010).

This study explores a critical question in political theory and postcolonial studies, namely: How can we envision political progress in the postcolonial world after the heyday of decolonization? What intellectual and practical resources do we have for theorizing the role of political agency after the demise of the revolutionary ideologies that gave a central role to that agency (e.g., of the nation, the working class, etc.), and the rise of post-independence states that seek to quell it? I address these questions by closely examining the oeuvres of three prominent political thinkers who lived and wrote in the postcolonial Arab world, and whose works heavily influenced intellectual debates about political change from the late 1980s till the eve of the Arab Spring in the 2000s. I shows how each of these thinkers variously defines the conditions for invigorating political agency by actively reinterpreting the Islamic tradition and European political thought for a postcolonial context.

Project fields:
Area Studies; Non Western Philosophy; Political Theory

Program:
Fellowships

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
10/1/2021 – 3/31/2022


FEL-273785-21

Alison Ellen Isenberg
Princeton University (Princeton, NJ 08540-5228)
Uprisings: the Impact of Martin Luther King Jr.’s Assassination and the Case of Trenton, New Jersey

Research and writing leading to a book on unrest in Trenton, New Jersey, in the aftermath of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Uprisings takes the April 1968 unrest in Trenton, New Jersey as its starting point, offering a window into the volatile weeks after Rev. King’s assassination. Around the nation more than 40 people died in what was called the Holy Week uprisings, or King riots. Police said many victims were looters or arsonists. Trenton’s “riots” became a simplified explanation for the city’s woes. Yet there has been little research into the nation’s “scenes of racial violence,” as named by the Philadelphia Inquirer. Uprisings centers on Harlan Bruce Joseph, a black college sophomore at Lincoln University who was fatally shot by a white officer during minor unrest in Trenton. Joseph’s life reveals a committed young man interested in the ministry who worked to make a better Trenton. The circumstances of his death correct longstanding misperceptions of the “riots” and their meaning. The shooting entwined a young man and his city in tragedy. This book disentangles the two, to tell a story of life and hope.

Project fields:
U.S. History; Urban History; Urban Studies

Program:
Fellowships

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
1/1/2021 – 6/30/2021


FEL-273797-21

Sinclair Wynn Bell
Northern Illinois University (DeKalb, IL 60115-2828)
Race and Representation in the Roman Empire: Images of Aethiopians in Imperial Visual and Material Culture

Research and preparation of a book on the representation of Africans in ancient Roman art.

This book project investigates how artists and their social patrons conceptualized racial difference in the Roman empire (c. 100 BCE-200 CE). In particular, it seeks to understand how the social roles and status of Aethiopians and their perception by Romans were communicated through visual representations in "art" (e.g., statues, reliefs, mosaics) and material culture (e.g., amulets, earrings, perfume jars). The aim is to study the character, incidence, and contexts of these representations in cultural historical perspective: their formal qualities; their original viewing contexts and geographical distribution; their kinship with and differences from representations of “Others” (non-Romans) generally (e.g., Gauls); and the larger cultural understandings that underwrite them (e.g., "lightness" vs. "darkness"). This project is therefore interdisciplinary in its aims and methodology, as it sits at the intersection of African studies, Classical Studies, archaeology, and art history.

Project fields:
African Studies; Art History and Criticism; Classics

Program:
Fellowships

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
5/1/2022 – 4/30/2023


FEL-273803-21

Angus Burgin
Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, MD 21218-2625)
The Neology: A History of the Technological Society in Four Words

Research and writing leading to a book of intellectual history on the 20th-century origin and development of four key technological concepts.

This project provides a tour through the emergence and evolution of four words often invoked to describe the technological society: automation, globalization, cyberspace, and neoliberalism. Each of these terms inspired vast literatures that dwelled on the implications of emerging technologies: the promise and peril of a world without work, an economy without borders, a space without material constraints, a frictionless competitive order. And yet in recent decades each has proven less revolutionary than early advocates had imagined: working hours intensified, tariffs returned, online identities were increasingly constrained by corporations and states, and the primacy of the economy came under resurgent criticism from both left and right. Drawing on both archival research and the integrative tools of concept history, The Neology tells the story of a society in which institutions transformed much less quickly than their underlying technologies, with increasingly catastrophic results.

Project fields:
Intellectual History; U.S. History

Program:
Fellowships

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
9/1/2021 – 4/30/2022


FEL-273853-21

Stephen Robertson
George Mason University (Fairfax, VA 22030-4444)
Harlem in Disorder: A Spatial History of How Racial Violence Changed in 1935

Research and preparation of a digital publication that describes and analyzes the racially based unrest in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City on March 19, 1935.

The outbreak of disorder in Harlem on the evening of March 19, 1935 immediately attracted national attention as the first large-scale racial violence in the United States in more than a decade, and as an expression of the frustrated hopes of black migrants to the north. Later, scholars recognized that night as the first instance of a new form of racial violence characterized by black attacks on white property and clashes with police. This study provides the first detailed analysis of the events of the disorder, maps where they happened, and traces how they were dealt with in the press and in the legal system. This approach directs attention to the complexity and heterogeneity of the form of racial disorder that characterized the second half of the twentieth century. Developing a digital publication structured as a multi-layered, hyperlinked argument showcases that perspective by connecting different scales of analysis: broad narratives, aggregated patterns, and individual events.

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

Program:
Fellowships

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
9/1/2021 – 5/31/2022


FEL-273870-21

Jewon Woo
Lorain County Community College (Elyria, OH 44035-1613)
Rhizomatic Democracy in the 19th-Century Black Press of Ohio

Preparation for a digital monograph on nineteenth-century black newspapers in Ohio and their role in civic life.

Rhizomatic Democracy analyzes the 19th-century black press in Ohio to introduce early African Americans’ civic engagement that ripened our perception of democracy. DH tools are essential to this research and publication because quantitative methods with data and digital visualization can make visible what, like early black communities in the Midwest, has been considered hard to trace. This project offers informative and interpretative essays through both close and distance reading of the newspapers to show dynamic communal life of 19th-century black Ohioans, who legitimized their sovereignty by demonstrating civic qualification as a response to and beyond the government system that had failed to maintain its constitutional promise on human rights. The project serves as a tool for civic education by offering accessible digital resource for the learning public, in order to promote a better understanding of the maturation of American democracy and the use of DH tools for equity.

Project fields:
African American Studies; American Studies; Journalism

Program:
Fellowships

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
5/1/2021 – 12/31/2021


FEL-273874-21

Kelli Wood
University of Tennessee, Knoxville (Knoxville, TN 37916-3801)
Digitizing Early Modern Board Games

Preparation of a playable digital critical edition and translation of seven early modern Italian board games.

Booming print production in the sixteenth century led to the development of new styles of board games in Rome that spread across Europe, including direct progenitors of recognizable contemporary favorites including The Game of Life. These novel games represented microcosms of governmental, social, military, and celestial systems for educated aristocrats and average tavern-goers alike. This project proposes that virtual interfaces employed in video game world building can enable an innovative analysis of the complexity and depth of these games. Playable, digital versions of these non-linear forms of intermedial artistic production, formed out of diagrams, texts, images, and game mechanics, allow for an engagement which greatly exceeds the capacity of traditional publication. Playing—rather than simply viewing—these games will provide a new vantage point on the poetics, artistry, and imagery of the entwined visual, material, and literary culture of the Counter Reformation in Italy.

Project fields:
Art History and Criticism; Renaissance Studies

Program:
Fellowships

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
8/1/2021 – 7/31/2022


FEL-273875-21

Christopher Mele
SUNY Research Foundation, University at Buffalo (Amherst, NY 14228-2577)
Home, Neighborhood and Community in the Context of Urban Decline

Preparation of an interactive digital analysis and publication about community-based responses to urban decline in Chester, Pennsylvania.

I seek an NEH-Mellon Fellowship for Digital Publication to complete digital story collection, analysis, and publication in Manifold, an open-source digital platform, with Temple University Press. This project provides a new approach and understanding of urban declension or decline through analysis and interpretation of how low-income minority residents of Chester, Pennsylvania attach meaning and understanding to their varied experiences, memories and commitments to home, neighborhood and community. Collectively, these comprise a local, vernacular form of knowledge that is the centerpiece of this project. The project contributes to interdisciplinary urban studies by situating, analyzing and interpreting vernacular knowledge in relation to dominant ‘city in crisis’ tropes and enhances public access to and awareness of the complexities of maintaining attachment to home, neighborhood and community in the midst of structural decline.

Project fields:
Sociology; Urban History; Urban Studies

Program:
Fellowships

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
1/1/2022 – 12/31/2022


FEL-273882-21

Ariana Maki
University of Virginia (Charlottesville, VA 22903-4833)
Digital Biography: Teaching the Life of the Buddha Using Literature and Art

Art historical research and writing on the extensive seventeenth-century murals at the Tibetan Buddhist monastery of Jonang Puntsokling for the Life of the Buddha project.

The Life of the Buddha project (LOTB; lifeofthebuddha.org) is the first full-scale study of the life of the Buddha in a Tibetan setting, based on a series of 17th century murals and their associated contemporaneous texts. Three of the mural program’s fifteen panels have been correlated with the extant literature—a biography, a painting manual, and painted inscriptions—and are online on a highly interactive platform. This proposal seeks support for an art historian to correlate the remaining twelve panels with its associated literary sources, and to create project-based learning activities for teaching the relationships between text and image in their wider historical, religious, social, and political contexts. This will significantly expand content, and accordingly, audience, providing easily navigable, fully translated English content for educators addressing world religions, global art history, biographic literature, textual studies and South Asia-focused courses, among others.

Project fields:
Art History and Criticism; East Asian Literature; Nonwestern Religion

Program:
Fellowships

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
11/1/2021 – 10/31/2022


FEL-273893-21

Melissa Bradshaw
Loyola University, Chicago (Chicago, IL 60611-2147)
Amy Lowell Letters Project

Preparation of an open-access digital scholarly edition of over 800 letters written by American poet, editor, and critic Amy Lowell (1874–1925).

I seek support for work on an open-access, digital scholarly edition of the letters of American poet, editor, and critic Amy Lowell (1874–1925). At the time of her death in 1925, Lowell was one of the most celebrated and sought-after authors in America, respected both as a poet and as a literary critic. She published prodigiously during her fifteen-year career (1910-1925): six volumes of poetry (three more were published posthumously), two volumes of literary criticism, a two-volume biography of John Keats, and countless articles and reviews. What’s O’Clock, in press at the time of her death, won the 1926 Pulitzer Prize for poetry. She corresponded with virtually all the most prominent poets, editors, and magazine publishers of her time, yet no representative collection of her letters exists I am editing, annotating and doing XML markup on letters related to her career as a powerful, polarizing, and influential figure in twentieth century poetry.

Project fields:
American Literature; Intellectual History; Literary Criticism

Program:
Fellowships

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
8/1/2021 – 7/31/2022


FEL-273927-21

Amy Elizabeth Earhart
Texas A & M University, College Station (College Station, TX 77843-0001)
Digital Humanities and the Infrastructures of Race in African-American Literature

Research and preparation of a digital publication studying how digital tools and methods employed for literature studies may reflect biases built into the technological infrastructure.

This project examines how technological infrastructure and algorithms interact with African-American authored literary texts to construct and deconstruct racial identities. By employing multiple lenses of data, digital tools, and analysis, the project reveals how seemingly naturalized technological infrastructures impact meaning through an interactive Scalar project and reposited data, visualizations and project documents for use and remix. Further, the digital project is designed to explore questions of preservation and open data, particularly important to Black literary studies where we continue to struggle to represent the fullness of cultural expression within current infrastructures.

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

Program:
Fellowships

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
1/1/2021 – 12/31/2021


FEL-273936-21

Vilja Hulden
University of Colorado, Boulder (Boulder, CO 80302-7046)
A computational analysis of group representation at U.S. Congressional hearings since 1877

Research and preparation of a digital publication based on the computational analysis of Congressional hearing records to explore the history of group representation and lobbying between the mid-19th and later 20th centuries.

The United States Congress has historically held hundreds and even thousands of hearings a year to investigate societal problems and collect viewpoints on proposed legislation. This project aims to understand long-term patterns in representation at these hearings by conducting a large-scale computational analysis of hearings over the past 140 years using available metadata (hearings title, witness name, etc.) and the full text of hearings. The analysis will provide a birds-eye view as well as examine three case studies (labor, women, and the environment.) The final product will be a multifaceted digital book (using Scalar) aimed at scholarly and general audiences in equal measure. It constructs a narrative that engages scholarly arguments about lobbying and representation, but also offers a modular structure and multiple pathways that invite students and the general public to explore who and what Congress has paid attention to over the years.

Project fields:
U.S. History

Program:
Fellowships

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
1/1/2021 – 12/31/2021


FEL-267194-20

Sherry Roush
Pennsylvania State University (University Park, PA 16802-1503)
The First Novel Specially Written for Women: An Edition and Translation of Jacopo Caviceo's Peregrino (1508)

Research and writing leading to the first English translation of the popular early Italian novel Peregrino by Jacopo Caviceo (1508).

A six-month NEH Individual Fellowship will permit the completion of the first-ever English translation from Italian and a substantial critical introduction of Jacopo Caviceo's Peregrino (1508). The European bestseller has been called "the first novel specially written for women" (Letizia Panizza in The Cambridge History of Italian Literature) and was the first prose romance dedicated to a historical woman (Lucrezia Borgia).

Project fields:
Italian Literature

Program:
Fellowships

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
7/1/2020 – 12/31/2020


FEL-267212-20

Peter Joseph Kalliney
University of Kentucky Research Foundation (Lexington, KY 40506-0004)
The Aesthetic Cold War: Decolonization and Global Literature

Completion of a book on the literary production in Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean under the influence of Cold War politics.

During the Cold War, both the US and the Soviet Union jockeyed for geopolitical influence in what was then called the Third World. The superpowers also competed for intellectual influence by sponsoring literary activities in Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean. The Congress for Cultural Freedom (organized clandestinely by the CIA), the US State Department, and the Soviet Writers' Union funded outreach programs in the decolonizing world, hosting international conferences, establishing publishing houses and magazines, and sponsoring cultural exchange programs. Surprisingly, writers from decolonizing areas did not line up neatly into Cold War camps. As archival research demonstrates, writers were willing to accept patronage from both US and Soviet agencies. This includes some of the leading intellectuals the day, such as Chinua Achebe, Alex La Guma, Wole Soyinka, and Ngugi wa Thiong'o. 

Project fields:
African Literature; British Literature; Literature, General

Program:
Fellowships

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
2/1/2020 – 7/31/2020


FEL-267217-20

Ioannis D. Evrigenis
Tufts University (Somerville, MA 02144-2401)
The Modern Conception of Sovereignty: A New Edition of Jean Bodin's The Six Bookes of a Commonweale

Editing, research, and writing annotations leading to the publication of an edition of French political philosopher Jean Bodin’s (1530-1596) The Six Bookes of a Commonweale (1576).

Preparation of a new, cleaned-up, annotated edition of Jean Bodin's political treatise The Six Bookes of a Commonweale, which was translated by Richard Knolles in 1606 and is no longer in print, despite its extensive influence on modern political thought.

Project fields:
Philosophy, Other; Political Theory; Renaissance History

Program:
Fellowships

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
7/1/2021 – 6/30/2022


FEL-267222-20

Jacob Blanc
University of Edinburgh (Edinburgh EH8 9AG Scotland)
The Prestes Column Rebellion: An Interior History of Twentieth-Century Brazil

Research and writing leading to a book on the Prestes Column, a rebellion of military personnel that shook Brazilian politics and ignited the public imagination during the 1920s.

This project offers the first critical reinterpretation of one of the most mythologized events in Brazilian history: the Prestes Column rebellion, when from 1924 to 1927, a group of junior army officers marched nearly 25,000 kilometers through Brazil's vast interior. While existing scholarship has treated the passage through the interior as a backdrop to the rebellion, I focus on the interior regions themselves, exploring how the country's so-called “backlands" served as both a place and a concept in the formation of modern Brazil. By analyzing the rebel passage through the interior and also the meanings attached to that experience afterwards, I will chart the Column's political, conceptual, and geographic significance throughout the twentieth century.My study of the Prestes Column will also serve to develop an entirely new subfield: interior history, an innovative approach for studying Brazil and also Latin America as a whole.

Project fields:
Latin American History; Rural Studies

Program:
Fellowships

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
9/1/2020 – 8/31/2021


FEL-267225-20

Lillian Guerra
University of Florida (Gainesville, FL 32611-0001)
Patriots and Traitors in Revolutionary Cuba, 1961-1981

Research and writing leading to a book on youth education programs during the Cuban Revolution between 1961 and 1981.

“These children will be patriots or traitors,” a poster declared in 1965 Cuba, “you decide. Teach them the work of the Revolution.” Yet citizens rarely responded to this call with unconditional support. For this reason, in the 1970s, the state turned to “rehabilitation” of citizens through labor camps, Soviet pedagogy designed to create a “Communist personality in every child” and finally, Fidel’s launch of the Mariel Boatlift in 1980—a policy to rid Cuba of critics accused of lacking “revolutionary genes”. What was it like to grow up in this Cuba? How did leaders go from “teaching the work of the Revolution” to repression and exclusion? Through unused archives and oral history, I delve into the mechanisms through which grassroots support was constructed and challenged. Finding that the burdens of revolutionary citizenship often blurred lines, I illuminate an ironically apolitical nation within the binary of patriot vs. traitor: there, a creative, collective individualism thrived.

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

Program:
Fellowships

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
8/1/2020 – 7/31/2021


FEL-267248-20

Gregory Peter Barnhisel
Duquesne University (Pittsburgh, PA 15282-0001)
The Professor Was a Spy: A Biography of Norman Holmes Pearson (1909-1975), American Literary Scholar

Research and writing leading to a cultural biography of Norman Holmes Pearson (1909-1975), a proponent of literary modernism, a U.S. intelligence operative, and a founding father of American Studies.

As a scholar, teacher, networker, and spy, Norman Holmes Pearson's influence in 20th century American culture was profound, although barely known. With this NEH fellowship, I will complete my biography of Pearson. But this is a cultural biography, using Pearson’s life, experiences, and accomplishments to illustrate the evolution of American society from the 1920s to the 1970s, with a particular focus on how elite culture came together in the 1940s and 1950s to advance a political, cultural, and aesthetic vision of America, and how that consensus fell apart with Vietnam.

Project fields:
American Literature; Cultural History

Program:
Fellowships

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
7/1/2021 – 6/30/2022


FEL-267252-20

Michele Marie Greet
George Mason University (Fairfax, VA 22030-4444)
Abstract Art in the Andes, 1950-1970

Research and writing of a book about 20th-century abstract art from the Andean countries Bolivia, Ecuador, and Peru.

Informalist abstraction (also referred to as gestural or lyrical abstraction) emerged as a dominant trend in Andean art in the 1950s and 1960s, simultaneous to and in dialogue with the advent of this variant of abstraction in Europe and the United States. Yet Andean artists declared abstraction as their heritage and, by working in this manner, they believed that were finally disengaging themselves from the legacies of colonialism, assuming and transforming an aesthetic that was already rightfully theirs. This investigation will examine the nuances of postwar Andean artists’ references to pre-Columbian abstract designs, the politics and implications of this posture at home and in the international art world, and its effectiveness as an aesthetic strategy in these spheres.

Project fields:
Art History and Criticism; Latin American Studies

Program:
Fellowships

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
9/1/2020 – 8/31/2021


FEL-267328-20

Karline Marie McLain
Bucknell University (Lewisburg, PA 17837-2005)
Gandhi's Ashrams: Residential Experiments for Universal Wellbeing

Research and writing a history of four utopian communities, established by Mohandas Gandhi in South Africa and India between 1904 and 1936, which provided a model for his social thought and politics.

Gandhi is known worldwide for his nonviolent fight for India’s independence from colonial rule. Lesser known are his utopian residential experiments conducted at the intentional communities, or ashrams, that he founded in South Africa and India: Phoenix Settlement (est. 1904), Tolstoy Farm (est. 1910), Sabarmati Ashram (est. 1915), and Sevagram Ashram (est. 1936). Residents engaged in small-scale experiments with ideals and methods for living a just life that Gandhi would apply to larger-scale social, religious, and political problems. This book focuses on the communal observances undertaken by Gandhi and his co-residents to illuminate the evolution of Gandhi’s concept of sarvodaya, universal wellbeing. It argues: First, that voluntary self-control, which at times bled into self-sacrifice, was central to Gandhi’s utopian philosophy of sarvodaya; and second, that Gandhi’s intentional communities were the necessary conditions for his experiments with and articulation of that philosophy.

Project fields:
Nonwestern Religion; South Asian Studies

Program:
Fellowships

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
2/1/2020 – 7/31/2020


FEL-267334-20

Juliet Benham Wiersema
University of Texas, San Antonio (San Antonio, TX 78249-1644)
The History of a Periphery: Spanish Colonial Cartography from Colombia’s Pacific Lowlands, 1710-1810

Research and writing leading to a book on unpublished maps depicting the economic life of free and enslaved Africans in Nueva Granada (modern-day Colombia) during the 18th century.

This book-length project tells a new story about frontier regions, nature, and the limits of empire. It illuminates the pivotal role that African and indigenous inhabitants played in the economy of a gold mining region in the Viceroyalty of Nueva Granada during the last century of Spanish colonial rule. Drawing from unpublished manuscript maps and archival documents, this project reconstructs little-studied communities that existed beyond the margins of the colonial system and reveals an alternate view of the Spanish empire, one with distinct protagonists and different priorities than previously understood. This project highlights how rivers—ubiquitous in this region—acted as a channel for contraband, a lifeline to miners, and a pathway to freedom for African slaves.

Project fields:
African History; Art History and Criticism; Latin American History

Program:
Fellowships

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
9/1/2020 – 8/31/2021


FEL-267379-20

Sharon Ann Murphy
Providence College (Providence, RI 02918-7000)
Banking on Slavery in the Antebellum American South

Completion of a book on the relationship between banking and slavery in the antebellum South.

This project focuses on the conscious choices made by bankers to directly, knowingly, and explicitly interact with the slave system. My research reveals that southern commercial banks accepted slaves as collateral for loans, helped underwrite the sale of slaves, and sold slave property as part of foreclosure proceedings. Commercial bank involvement with slavery occurred throughout the antebellum period and across the South, placing southern banks at the heart of the domestic slave trade. This project will result in the first major monograph on the relationship between banking and slavery, as well as serving as a corrective to the conclusions of several scholars collectively called the “new historians of capitalism.” Most banks limited their direct involvement with slavery, demonstrating that capitalism did not need slavery to develop. Slavery was intricately, but not inevitably, tied up with the capitalist system.

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

Program:
Fellowships

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
1/1/2021 – 7/31/2021


FEL-267414-20

Rachel Gabara
University of Georgia (Athens, GA 30602-0001)
Reclaiming Realism: From Documentary Film in Africa to African Documentary Film

Completion of a book about the history of documentary filmmaking in West and Central Africa, from the French colonial period to the present.

The first book in English to focus on African documentary, “Reclaiming Realism” will explore the aesthetic, sociopolitical, and historical development of nonfiction film in West and Central Africa. For over half a century, French colonial documentary claimed to capture the truth about Africa and Africans. After independence, African filmmakers reclaimed the cinema and their cinematic image by experimenting with documentary content, voice and style. This project will demonstrate the vital importance of documentary first to French colonialism, then to a post-independence reframing of African identities and modes of filmic discourse. A transnational study that highlights the complex interactions between colonial and postcolonial cinemas, “Reclaiming Realism” intervenes in contemporary critical debates about global documentary and the very nature of filmic representations of reality.

Project fields:
African Studies; Film History and Criticism; French Language

Program:
Fellowships

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
7/1/2020 – 6/30/2021


FEL-267420-20

Adrian Dominic Johns
University of Chicago (Chicago, IL 60637-5418)
The Information Defense Industry: A History

Research and writing leading to a book on the history of individual privacy and intellectual property from the Renaissance to the present.

The information defense industry is the enterprise that works to uphold information and intellectual property in today’s world. A composite global enterprise involving major corporations, policing institutions, and public agencies, it uses technology, enforcement, litigation, and lobbying to combat counterfeiting and piracy of all kinds. The industry has coalesced in the last 50 years out of disparate forces that had existed for centuries. It now plays a major, but largely unacknowledged, role in shaping the information society itself. I propose writing the first history of this industry. Starting with the guild practices of the European Renaissance, it will reveal the long and contentious process that has led from them to today’s sophisticated enterprise. My book should help us understand how the defining issues of our information politics – those concerning privacy, security, authenticity, and property – attained their current form, and thereby help us devise ways of tackling them.

Project fields:
Cultural History; History of Science; History, General

Program:
Fellowships

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
7/1/2020 – 6/30/2021


FEL-267436-20

Eric Hayot
Pennsylvania State University (University Park, PA 16802-1503)
An Inquiry into Humanist Reason

Completion of a book on the philosophical history of the divide between humanities, social sciences, and science, and the future of humanistic thought.

This project first describes, and then revises, our understanding of how scholars in the humanities think -- how they use evidence, how they argue, how they come to the truth. It begins with an exploration of the philosophical roots of humanist epistemology in the formation of the modern, tripartite university (characterized by the division into the sciences, the humanities, and the social sciences). It continues through an exploration of the Kantian roots of that philosophy, and closes with "articles of reason:" a list of principles that most humanists today believe in and practice in their scholarship and teaching. Against caricatures of the humanities as ideologically motivated, or even well-meaning descriptions of humanist work as subjectively oriented toward the individual or the unique, this project makes the case for the humanities as reason, as a critical social form of thinking and argument that is, like every other such form, supported (and changed) by the evidence it makes.

Project fields:
Comparative Literature; Literary Criticism

Program:
Fellowships

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
7/1/2020 – 6/30/2021


FEL-267442-20

Hannah Marcus
Harvard University (Cambridge, MA 02138-3800)
The Limits of Life in Early Modern Europe (1450-1700)

We are living longer and longer. However, contrary to popular opinion, longevity is not a uniquely modern phenomenon. The Limits of Life explores the cultural and scientific world of advanced old age in early modern Europe (1450-1700). While many in this period were particularly intrigued by the possibility of extending human life, physicians and natural philosophers were also deeply concerned about the political, philosophical, ecological, and social implications of longevity. Expanding beyond the historical demography of Renaissance Italy, my research builds on recent scholarship interested in the cultural and medical history of death and dying. My research probes the ways that ideas about mortality and longevity crossed between elite spaces and popular discourse both in print and through well-documented encounters with the bodies of the aged. Longevity, as both a goal and a lived reality, revealed the religious, social, and embodied limits of early modern life.

[Grant products]

Project fields:
History of Science; Renaissance History

Program:
Fellowships

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
2/1/2020 – 7/31/2020


FEL-267473-20

Dorit Bar-On
University of Connecticut (Storrs, CT 06269-9000)
Expression, Communication, and Origins of Meaning

Completion of a book on the origins of language.

We humans are not the only minded creatures in the world. Nonhuman animals, too, can have various states of mind, both affective and cognitive. But, as far as we know, we are the only creatures who speak their minds. How could this come to pass? How could some animals – descendants of speechless animals – come to develop the capacity to speak their minds? My project aims to offer an original philosophical perspective on the long-standing puzzle of the origins of linguistic meaning. The project integrates conceptual tools and theoretical insights from philosophy, linguistics, comparative psychology, anthropology, biology of communication, and cognitive science.

Project fields:
Interdisciplinary Studies, Other; Philosophy of Language; Philosophy, General

Program:
Fellowships

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
1/1/2021 – 12/31/2021


FEL-267498-20

Robin E. Jensen
University of Utah (Salt Lake City, UT 84112-9049)
A Rhetorical History of Women Shaping the Trajectory of Fertility Science, 1870-1970

Research and writing leading to a book on the rhetorical practices of three American women involved in the study of fertility.

This rhetorical history project analyzes the scientific, public, and interpersonal communication of three women who were central to the development and implementation of fertility science as it is known today. Reformer Julia Ward Howe, psychoanalyst Helene Deutsch, and gynecologist Sophia Kleegman communicated from different social locations and time periods to push back against—and contribute to—scientific orthodoxy. I contend that the fissures they created in scholarly and mainstream discourses about reproductive health functioned to expand the scope of infertility diagnosis and treatment regimens, and to loosen long-held clinical beliefs about women as the central players in fertility related ills. This analysis identifies the discursive strategies that these actors employed to intervene in fertility studies and demonstrates how interventions in science often unfold not in terms of revolutions but in terms of multimodal, nonlinear, and longitudinal communicative negotiations.

Project fields:
Communications; Communications; History and Philosophy of Science, Technology, and Medicine; Women's History

Program:
Fellowships

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
8/1/2020 – 7/31/2021


FEL-267501-20

Elizabeth Marie Duquette
Gettysburg College (Gettysburg, PA 17325-1483)
A Biography of American Author Elizabeth Stuart Phelps (1844-1911)

Research and writing of an intellectual and cultural biography of American author Elizabeth Stuart Phelps (1844-1911).

Elizabeth Stuart Phelps (1844-1911) was a bestselling and influential US author across the second half of the nineteenth century. Her most famous book, The Gates Ajar (1868), presented a vision of heaven that continues to shape expectations about the afterlife to this day. A voice for reform and an advocate for the rights of women, Phelps was a peer of the male authors who still dominate the late-century canon, publishing alongside them in periodicals and volumes. Despite her talents as a writer and her contributions to American intellectual history, there is no critical biography of this important author: "Elizabeth Stuart Phelps: The Woman Who Invented Heaven" will correct this oversight. Drawing on archival research and published histories, the biography will introduce Phelps to a general audience, locating her life and works in a rich account of US culture, and provide scholars with a synthetic account of this prominent figure in American literary history.

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

Program:
Fellowships

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
9/1/2020 – 8/31/2021


FEL-267507-20

Simon R. Doubleday
Hofstra University (Hempstead, NY 11549-1000)
Christian Spain before the Crusades: Power and Pragmatism in Eleventh-Century Iberia

Research and writing leading to a book on relations between 11th-century Christian rulers of León and the Islamic states of al-Andalus.

The dangerous perception that medieval Europe was a theater of implacable holy war and that Spain was the arena of religiously-driven Reconquista is widespread. This project questions this perception through a study of the Iberian realms of León, Galicia, and Castile in the eleventh century, under Fernando I (1037-65) and Queen Sancha (d. 1067); it will be the first study of the reign in English. The period is often seen as one in which their Christian kingdom gained the upper hand over the weaker Islamic states of al-Andalus. Historians have generally believed that Fernando aspired to imperial authority in Iberia, developed a close relationship with the French monastic order of Cluny, and exerted dominance over the Islamic states to the south. This project challenges all these presumptions. Through an original analysis of royal charters and narrative sources, it traces the pragmatic nature of power and a geopolitical environment in which religious identity was by no means paramount.

Project fields:
European History; Medieval History; Medieval Studies

Program:
Fellowships

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
9/1/2020 – 8/31/2021


FEL-267532-20

Elisa Camiscioli
SUNY Research Foundation, Binghamton (Binghamton, NY 13902-4400)
Trafficking, Travel, and Illicit Migration in the Early Twentieth-Century French Atlantic World

Research and writing leading to a book on the history of trafficking between France and the Americas in the early 20th century.

This project investigates early twentieth-century debates on trafficking through the lens of migration history, and how women’s mobility raised key questions about the distinction between free movement and unauthorized migrations. The “traffic in women” generated copious documentation on such themes as border policing, passport controls, immigration law, deportation, and repatriation. In addition, letters written by ostensibly trafficked women, their families, and members of criminal networks reveal the lived experience of these migrations. Focusing primarily on the transatlantic route between France and the Americas, the project situates both the discourse and experience of early twentieth-century trafficking within a longer history of free and unfree labor, sex work, mobility, and globalization. It thereby deepens our understanding of human trafficking, one of the most visible and controversial human rights issues of our time.

Project fields:
European History; Immigration History; Women's History

Program:
Fellowships

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
6/1/2020 – 5/31/2021


FEL-267537-20

Deborah Lutz
University of Louisville (Louisville, KY 40292-0001)
Paper Art and Craft: Victorian Writers and Their Materials

Research and writing of a book on 19th-century poets, novelists, and artist who used the materials of writing and everyday life as inspiration for their work.

This project considers 19th-century British authors who used the materials of writing for inspiration and experimentation: Charlotte Brontë composing poems in the margins of printed books, George Eliot jotting ideas on her blotter, E.B. Browning sewing paper to paper to edit her poems, or Jane Austen using straight pins to “cut and paste.” Albums, journals, and notebooks play central roles, as embodied, haptic spaces where writers created text-and-collage gifts for friends, stored material memories, or collected appropriated words. Paper crafts and needlework served as text composition outside the bounds of ink and pen, and writing’s platforms—desk, slate, wall—mattered. This expanded view of what creativity with textual things meant was common, but the writers discussed here were excessive in their undoing, encrypting, and reusing. Their attention to seemingly insignificant details has been overlooked, primarily because such details have been aligned with the feminine and domestic.

Project fields:
Art History and Criticism; British Literature; Gender Studies

Program:
Fellowships

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
2/1/2020 – 8/31/2020


FEL-267539-20

Jessica Maier
Mount Holyoke College (South Hadley, MA 01075-1461)
The Cartography of Conflict: Maps, News, and the Visual Arts in Early Modern Europe

Preparation of a book on 16th-17th-century European prints depicting maps and battles that functioned as an early form of news reports.

This project addresses a treasure trove of material: scores of printed “news maps” of sieges and battles that proliferated in early modern Europe. Issued hastily by publishers in cities throughout Europe, these works depicted current events in their geographical context, reporting history as it unfolded. They are a key early form of the news—a visual form—that decisively shaped people’s views about conflict and external threat, and even influenced painted battle scenes in elite halls of state. Their implications for our understanding of early modern culture are considerable. News maps helped to build a sense of collective identity along proto-nationalist lines, while fueling a burgeoning awareness of contemporaneity: a notion that has been considered a hallmark of modernity. In probing these larger themes, this study will go beyond addressing a neglected genre to provide new insight into how, where, and why information is deemed culturally relevant, travels, and becomes visual history.

Project fields:
Renaissance History; Renaissance Studies; Theater History and Criticism

Program:
Fellowships

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
7/1/2020 – 6/30/2021


FEL-267540-20

Aurelian Craiutu
Indiana University, Bloomington (Bloomington, IN 47405-7000)
Moderation and the Rise of Democracy in France, 1830-1900

Building upon the conceptual framework outlined in my previous book A Virtue for Courageous Minds: Moderation in French Political Thought, 1748-1830 (Princeton, 2012), this new interdisciplinary project fills a significant gap in the existing literature on French 19tth-century political thought. It explores how post-revolutionary thinkers (A. de Tocqueville, V. Cousin, F. Guizot, C. de Rémusat, liberal Catholics, É. Laboulaye, and J. Ferry) used the legacy of the French Revolution to build new representative institutions and promote key reforms, most notably in the field of education. The project also addresses several important contemporary concerns. I argue that far from being of mere historical interest, moderation is particularly relevant in an eclectic age such as ours, because it can also serve as a powerful normative stance in the fight against new forms of political extremism and religious fundamentalism.

Project fields:
Intellectual History; Political Science, Other; Political Theory

Program:
Fellowships

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
8/1/2021 – 7/31/2022


FEL-267541-20

Ashley Dawn Farmer
University of Texas, Austin (Austin, TX 78712-0100)
A Biography of Audley Moore (d. 1997): Mother of Black Nationalism

Research and writing leading to a biography of black nationalist Audley Moore (1890s-1997), whose political life spanned much of the 20th century’s black nationalist movement.

If Rosa Parks was the mother of the civil rights movement, then Audley Moore midwifed modern black nationalism. Indeed, Moore created or was involved in many of the major movement moments and organizations now considered to be central to 20th century black radical organizing from the 1920s to the 1990s. Queen Mother” Audley Moore: Mother of Black Nationalism is the first full length biography of Moore—one of the most influential yet understudied activists and thinkers of the 20th century. The book examines Moore’s life and activism from the 1890s until her death in 1997 and argues that she was an important but overlooked progenitor of 20th century black radical thought whose organizing approaches and ideas became the architecture of modern radical black activism. Using Moore as a thread, the book offers a wide-ranging history of twentieth-century black nationalist movements, moments, and organizations, foregrounding black women’s roles in creating a sustained ideological tradition.

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

Program:
Fellowships

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
1/1/2021 – 12/31/2021


FEL-267547-20

Maya Maskarinec
University of Southern California (Los Angeles, CA 90089-0012)
Domesticating Saints in Medieval and Early Modern Rome

Research and writing leading to a book on how prominent families in late medieval and early modern Rome appropriated Christian saints and hagiography into their own histories to further their moral and political authority.

This project investigates the "domestication" of Christian sanctity in medieval and early modern Rome. In the course of the Middle Ages, there developed a pronounced sense that churches and their saints belonged to specific regions, neighborhoods, and even families. This "emplacement" of medieval families and medieval saints, coupled with a resurgent interest in Rome’s Christian antiquity and a heightened attentiveness to noble lineages, culminated in Roman families weaving themselves, genealogically and materially, into Rome’s Christian past. Saintly lineages blossomed, as did the identification of churches as the former residences of early Christian and late antique saints—cementing presumed links between place, descent and moral worth.

Project fields:
Medieval History

Program:
Fellowships

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
7/1/2021 – 6/30/2022


FEL-267550-20

John High
Long Island University (Brooklyn, NY 11201-5301)
A Translation and Commentary of The Voronezh Notebooks by Russian Poet Osip Mandelstam (1891-1938)

Preparation of an English-language translation and critical edition of the Voronezh Notebooks by the Russian poet Osip Mandelstam (1891-1938).

The project is a critical English-language edition of the Voronezh Notebooks of Osip Mandelstam, one of Russia’s most significant 20th-century poets. These poems, written during his exile, in a period between destitution and hope, mark the moment of Mandelstam's crossing from modernist tradition to postmodern poetics, and his negotiation of individuality and collectivity in the precarious political context of Stalin's 1930s. Relying on recently available archival material and manuscript versions, and a wealth of scholarship written in the post-Soviet period, the proposed edition would offer new translations and contextualizing commentary on Mandelstam’s crowning poetic achievement, providing the general reader as well as scholars with pertinent bibliographic information, a timeline of the poet's life, relevant documents from his NKVD files, and comparisons between early publications and contemporary authoritative editions.

Project fields:
American Literature

Program:
Fellowships

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
5/1/2020 – 4/30/2021


FEL-267562-20

Michela Andreatta
University of Rochester (Rochester, NY 14627-0001)
An Edition and Translation of Toffeh 'Arukh (Hell Arrayed) by Oses Zacuto (1620-1697)

Research and writing the first English translation-edition of the 17th-century Hebrew poem Tofteh ‘Arukh (Hell Arrayed) by rabbi-scholar Moses Zacuto.

Written at the height of the Italian Counter Reformation, Tofteh ‘Arukh (Hell Arrayed) by rabbi-scholar Moses Zacuto (Amsterdam, c. 1620-Mantua, 1697) is a 925-line dramatic poem in Hebrew graphically depicting the hereafter of sinners according to Kabbalah, or Jewish mysticism. Despite its popularity among Jewish readership of the pre-modern era and being generally considered a milestone in the history of Hebrew literary culture, it has never been translated into English, nor has it been the subject of thorough scholarly investigation in English. Sitting at the intersection of textual studies and historical and literary criticism, the project intends to make Tofteh ‘Arukh accessible to the English reader by offering the first-ever complete annotated English translation of the original Hebrew text. The translation will be supplemented by introductory essays framing Zacuto’s work against the cultural ambience of early modern Jewish Italy in which it was produced, read, and circulated.

[Grant products]

Project fields:
Jewish Studies; Literary Criticism; Near and Middle Eastern Literature

Program:
Fellowships

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
4/1/2020 – 12/31/2020


FEL-267576-20

Susan Elizabeth Gagliardi
Emory University (Atlanta, GA 30322-1018)
Mapping Senufo: African Art History and the Art-Historical Monograph in the Era of Digital Publication

Preparation of a digital publication that analyzes and reinterprets the term “Senufo,” a designation used for an important class of artworks from West Africa.

Mapping Senufo—an in-progress, collaborative, born-digital publication project I initiated and now co-direct—contributes to my larger effort to forge alternate possibilities for how scholars study “traditional” arts of Africa and present findings to broad audiences. Mapping Senufo also reflects a commitment to taking seriously the long-established understanding that a marker of identity, like the labeling of an art style or knowledge itself, is historically constituted, fluid, and positional. The multimodal, digital publication that the project team is developing will exemplify in its form the contingent nature of identities, art style labeling, and knowledge production. With a seven-month NEH-Mellon Fellowship for Digital Publication, I will generate text for the publication’s introduction and a chapter-equivalent section of it, and I will lead the project team in completing the chapter-equivalent section to submit to Stanford University Press for review.

[Grant products]

Project fields:
African Studies; Art History and Criticism

Program:
Fellowships

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
2/1/2020 – 8/31/2020


FEL-267597-20

Eric Scott Gardner
Saginaw Valley State University (University Center, MI 48710-0001)
Frances E.W. Harper's Civil War and Reconstruction: A Biographical and Literary Study of a 19th-Century African American Writer, Orator, and Activist

Research and writing of a book on Frances Ellen Watkins Harper (1825-1911), African American author, orator, abolitionist, suffragist, and civil rights leader.

With the support of an NEH Fellowship, I will complete the first book-length study of the Civil War and Reconstruction-era work of African American writer, speaker, and activist Frances Ellen Watkins Harper (1825-1911). Harper’s career—especially the critical period between 1861 and 1877—remains surprisingly understudied, even though her efforts shaped African American literature, abolitionism, suffrage and civil rights struggles, the temperance movement, the Black press, and American lyceum culture. Beyond either traditional biography or collection of close readings, my book will explore how Harper claimed these nation-shaking moments as her own, both creating and critiquing public assessments of the war and its aftermath. It will argue that she forged a deeply intersectional praxis of public life that engaged the communities around her and that modeled the citizenship she demanded for herself and for other African Americans.

Project fields:
American Literature

Program:
Fellowships

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
1/1/2021 – 12/31/2021


FEL-267640-20

Anne S. Rubin
University of Maryland, Baltimore County (Baltimore, MD 21250-0001)
Confederate Hunger: Food and Famine in the Civil War South, 1861-1867

Research leading to a book about the impact of food shortages on food culture in the Civil War South.

Confederate Hunger: Food and Famine in the Civil War South is an exploration of hunger, starvation, and the myriad meanings of food in the Civil War-era South. I use culinary history, particularly as it pertains to Southern food shortages, as a lens into questions of nationalism, resistance, migration, and public welfare. My work is animated by the deceptively simple question: What do people eat when they are starving? And how does that experience shift depending on place, time, and circumstance? This project focuses exclusively on the eleven states of the Confederacy, because of the impact that war and environment had on this agricultural region.

Project fields:
Cultural History; U.S. History

Program:
Fellowships

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
8/1/2020 – 7/31/2021


FEL-267650-20

Lorrin Reed Thomas
Rutgers University, Camden (Camden, NJ 08102-1405)
Latinos, the Civil Rights Movement, and the Making of Multiracial America After the 1960s

Research and writing leading to a book on the Latino involvement in the Civil Rights Movement between 1968 and 1984.

Minority: Latinos and the Making of Multiracial America after the 1960s offers a full account of Latinos’ centrality to the struggles over law and policy that reconfigured American society after the 1960s. The book will argue that Latino activism and leadership contributed substantially to the outcome of major domestic conflicts and debates during the long decade of the 1970s: battles over school desegregation and busing, political redistricting, affirmative action in employment, and access to higher education, as well as ongoing protests against police brutality and disagreements over the causes of growing urban poverty. The real impact of the major changes that took shape in American society during the 1970s--the coda to the conventionally-defined civil rights movement--cannot be understood without expanding this national story to incorporate Latinos as central historical actors.

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

Program:
Fellowships

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
7/1/2020 – 6/30/2021


FEL-267657-20

Marcus Folch
Columbia University (New York, NY 10027-7922)
A Cultural History of Incarceration and the Prison in Greece and Rome

Research and writing leading to a book on the social and political history of prisons in the ancient Greco-Roman world.

The first comprehensive study in English of the development of prisons in the ancient Greco-Roman Mediterranean. Combining archaeological, historiographical, legal, and literary evidence, this book offers a systematic examination of the earliest evidence for the emergence of prisons in Archaic Greece. It examines forms of incarceration, such as debt bondage and slavery, which predated, coexisted alongside, and supplied conceptual, legal, and linguistic frameworks within which early prisons were understood. It presents historical analysis of the state prison in Athens and the Classical Athenian prisoner population. And it examines the uses of incarceration in Roman law and the proliferation of prisons as an instrument of imperial administration in the Roman Empire, showing that these prisons served as the site of complex negotiations of authority among the imperial center located in Rome, provincial governors who oversaw the administration of prisons, and local populations.

Project fields:
Classical History; Classical Literature; Legal History

Program:
Fellowships

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
9/1/2020 – 8/31/2021


FEL-267666-20

Leor Edward Halevi
Vanderbilt University (Nashville, TN 37240-0001)
Everyday Salafism in an Entangled World: The Saudi Spirit of Global Exchange in the Age of Bin Baz

Research and writing a book on the effects of economic pressures on religious principles, specifically how Salafist Islam has adapted to economic growth and globalization.

My book project is about the impact of global economic exchanges on an Islamic movement. Oil deposits and world trade radically changed Saudi Arabia, one of the poorest and most isolated nations in the 1930s, into one of the world’s leading importers of goods and services by the end of the twentieth century. I will analyze the effect of these and other economic changes on Salafism, a religious movement dedicated to reviving the doctrines and practices of the first Muslims. Specifically, I will focus on the codes of conduct that Salafist clerics designed to guide lay Muslims in everyday economic activities not only in Saudi Arabia but throughout the world. Political scientists and historians have studied the spread of Salafism across national borders and the emergence of rival Salafist schools. But they have not examined, as I will in this book, the ways that Salafists have tried to reconcile moral and material pursuits in the context of economic globalization.

Project fields:
History of Religion; History, Other; Near and Middle Eastern History

Program:
Fellowships

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
2/1/2020 – 7/31/2020


FEL-267717-20

Samantha Baskind
Cleveland State University (Cleveland, OH 44115-2214)
Moses Jacob Ezekiel (1844-1917): The Life of a Confederate, Expatriate, Jewish Sculptor

Research and writing of a book on the life and work of the Jewish American sculptor Moses Jacob Ezekiel (1844-1917).

Largely forgotten today, sculptor Moses Jacob Ezekiel (1844-1917), a figure with a life story holding drama rivaling that recently brought to light about Alexander Hamilton, was the first Jewish American artist to earn international acclaim. This study will examine the influence of Ezekiel’s singular life on his sculpture, which is imbued with elements of both his Southern and Jewish roots as well as his expatriate experience in Italy. Reciprocally, Ezekiel’s life and art offer access to a range of political, cultural, social, and religious issues crucial to the 19th century and how they intersect with visual culture. These include the aftermath of the Civil War and post-Emancipation race relations, the Jewish American assimilation experience, and radical changes in the art world. Investigation of Ezekiel’s significant body of work addressing the Confederacy is closely tied to the current, very public, and fraught national debate on the place of Confederate monuments on American soil.

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

Program:
Fellowships

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
6/1/2020 – 5/31/2021


FEL-267719-20

Ethan W. Ris
University of Nevada, Reno (Reno, NV 89557-0001)
The Origins of American Higher Education Reform, 1890-1936

Completion of a book on higher education reform movements in the United States during the Progressive Era.

A historical examination of the first iteration of sustained, systemic reform efforts directed at American colleges and universities, based on new archival research. The project identifies a cohort of reformers, the "academic engineers," who derived their power and prominence from the earliest permanently endowed philanthropic foundations. The academic engineers attempted to constrain the ambitions of both institutions and students, but fell short in the face of mounting bottom-up resistance. Still, they left a legacy that includes key infrastructural developments like the community college, as well as a logic of reform that lives on, focused on efficiency, accountability, and utility.

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

Program:
Fellowships

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
2/1/2020 – 7/31/2020


FEL-267727-20

Nathaniel Comfort
Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, MD 21218-2625)
A Biography of James D. Watson (b. 1928), American Molecular Biologist and Geneticist

Research and writing leading to the publication of a biography of James D. Watson, one of the leaders in genetic science and a controversial public intellectual.

This project is to write the first critical biography of James Watson, co-discoverer of the DNA double helix and among the most consequential figures of recent American intellectual and cultural history. Drawing upon voluminous, often-untapped archival sources, interviews, and more than 20 years acquaintance with Watson, I will present a nuanced portrait of this complex, often troubling man. As a scientist, educator, administrator, director of the Human Genome Project, and public figure, Watson promoted the idea that DNA is the "secret of life," instilling it in the heart of science, medicine, and popular culture. But since 2007, he has become notorious for making racist comments about genes and intelligence. This book, under contract with Basic/Perseus, will set Watson’s rise and fall within the history of science and American political and cultural history, and will contribute to crucial, contemporary public conversations about genetics, health, eugenics, race, and identity.

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

Program:
Fellowships

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
3/1/2020 – 2/28/2021


FEL-267737-20

Helene Effie Bilis
Wellesley College (Wellesley, MA 02481-8203)
La Princesse de Clèves (The Princess of Clèves) by Marie-Madeleine de Lafayette: A Digital Critical Edition of a 17th-Century French Novel

Preparation of a digital critical edition and translation of the 17th-century French novel La Princesse de Clèves by Marie-Madeleine de Lafayette.

Questioning purported “universal theories of digital technologies,” a key aim of this project is to present a model for North American DH [digital humanities] projects, useful to graduate and scholarly audiences, but above all accessible to undergraduates, that focuses on non-Anglophone materials, while furthering scholarly understanding of a classic early modern text. In creating a digital platform for investigating the seventeenth-century novel, La Princesse de Clèves, I offer a liberal arts approach to combining modern language and DH methods by active engagement pedagogies to realize a richer, more global, trans-disciplinary and trans-linguistic DH experience. The approach to the interactive Princesse de Clèves publication will enable viewers to observe how cultural and linguistic differences shape the kinds of questions DH practitioners pose, as well as the methods and materials they draw from.

Project fields:
Computational Linguistics; French Language; Renaissance Studies

Program:
Fellowships

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
2/1/2020 – 8/31/2020


FEL-267745-20

Katharine Gerbner
University of Minnesota, Twin Cities (Minneapolis, MN 55455-0433)
Constructing Religion, Defining Crime: Slavery, Power, and Belief in Colonial America

Research and writing leading to a book on the development of ideas about religion and religious freedom in colonial America as they were shaped by slavery and the criminalization of black religious practices.

Religious freedom is one of the founding principles of American democracy. But what do we mean when we talk about “religion”? And how do we distinguish “religion” from “superstition” or “witchcraft”? Most importantly, who gets to decide what counts as a religion and what is a superstition – or a crime? My research, “Constructing Religion, Defining Crime: Slavery, Power and Belief,” examines how modern ideas about religion and freedom emerged within a colonial slave society. It shows how the institution of slavery made some religious practices criminal, while others were deemed legitimate. African diasporic religions were especially targeted for persecution and defined as rebellious. Examining this complex dynamic between race, belief, and danger shows that we must examine the history of slavery in order to understand the meaning of religion and the concept of religious freedom.

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

Program:
Fellowships

Division:
Research Programs

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

Grant period:
1/1/2021 – 12/31/2021