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Participant name: Christoph Irmscher
Key words: Agassiz (ANY of these words -- matching substrings)
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Indiana University, Bloomington (Bloomington, IN 47405-7000)
Christoph Irmscher (Project Director: March 2008 to June 2010)
Picturing John James Audubon

A four-week institute that gives twenty-five high school teachers of history, literature, and art an opportunity to study Audubon's art and literary works in context.

John James Audubon was the first American painter of international stature. He was also one of America's first important nature writers. The purpose of the Institute, directed collaboratively by an art historian and a literary historian (and editor of Audubon's writings), is to give interested teachers an opportunity to study Audubon's art and literary work in a location close to key settings of Audubon's life. We also seek to rescue Audubon from the narrowly nationalist frameworks within which he has usually been studied and to represent his work in its full cosmopolitan splendor and complexity. The guest speakers are the foremost experts working on Audubon today, and the resources on the beautiful campus of Indiana University are unparalleled. By helping teachers acquire the tools they need to tell the story of the American nation through one of the masters of American art, "Picturing John James Audubon" directly supports the NEH's "Picturing America" initiative.

[Grant products]

Project fields:
American Studies

Institutes for School Teachers

Education Programs

$199,147 (approved)
$199,147 (awarded)

Grant period:
10/1/2008 – 12/31/2009

Funding details:
Original grant (2008) $182,700
Supplement (2010) $16,447


Christoph Irmscher
University of Maryland, Baltimore County (Baltimore, MD 21250-0001)
A Cultural Biography of American Scientist Louis Agassiz (1807-1873)

I'm requesting support for a cultural biography of the American scientist Louis Agassiz (1807-1873), once considered the most important American scientist but now mostly remembered for his stubborn opposition to Darwinism. Agassiz was equally famous as a paleontologist, ichthyologist, and geologist, and he pioneered the genre of popular science writing in America. At the same time, he was an unabashed racist. My biography, the first in over 40 years, will re-visit the central tenets of Agassiz's theories and discuss this cultural importance (Emerson regarded him as one of "my men"), the reasons for his unprecedented success in America, and the links between his science and his racism.

[Grant products]

Project fields:
American Studies

Fellowships for University Teachers

Research Programs

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

Grant period:
7/1/2005 – 6/30/2006