ACLS Awards 2014 Collaborative Research Fellowships to Eight Teams of Scholars

The American Council of Learned Societies is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2014 Collaborative Research Fellowships. The eight teams of scholars that were selected for funding cross boundaries of discipline, methodology, and geography to undertake new research projects that will result in joint publications. The program, which is made possible by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, aims to demonstrate the creative potential of collaborative research in the humanities and related social sciences.

“The 2014 ACLS Collaborative Research Fellows put on display the wide range of collaborative projects that scholars pursue in the humanities and related social sciences today,” said ACLS Program Officer Matthew Goldfeder. “The program will support some joint projects that are possible only due to the different specializations each collaborator brings to the project, and others where team members will work to synthesize viewpoints and explanations across disparate fields.”

The diversity of this year’s collaborations includes projects that combine deep expertise in fields such as linguistics, geography, history, literature, and visual studies. That diversity also extends to modes of dissemination, with several of this year’s collaborations foreseeing both print and digital outcomes.

Historian Marina A. Rustow (Associate Professor, Johns Hopkins University) and Judaic studies scholar Eve Krakowski (Postdoctoral Fellow, Yale University) are devising new methods to analyze a trove of medieval Jewish and Islamic government and administrative texts preserved in the Cairo Geniza, to produce a co-authored print handbook that will help spur a new approach to Islamic institutional history and serve as a resource for future scholars.

Investigating how the aesthetic representation and politics of resource governance combined to shape potable water and drainage projects in early twentieth-century Mexico City, geographer Jeffrey M. Banister (Assistant Research Social Scientist, University of Arizona) and art historian Stacie G. Widdifield (Professor, University of Arizona) will co-author a monograph and also develop a website for further interdisciplinary exchanges on water and its representation.

English literature scholar George Edmondson (Associate Professor, Dartmouth College) and German studies scholar Klaus Mladek (Associate Professor, Dartmouth College) will track and revitalize a tradition of melancholic thinking—one both mournful and jubilant, attuned to grief but at the same time an engine of political transformation—from its origin in Greek philosophy through its resurgence in medieval and early modern writers to twentieth-century thinkers in their proposed monograph, A Politics of Melancholia.

Linguist Lisi Oliver (Professor, Louisiana State University) and English literature scholar Stefan Jurasinski (Associate Professor, State University of New York, College at Brockport) will publish an accessible, critical edition of the numerous laws issued by King Alfred the Great in ninth-century England, and show how and where they were indebted to and diverged from prior legal and ecclesiastical traditions.

In Serving the Nation, Safeguarding the Home: Civil Defense, Citizenship, and Gender in Twentieth-Century Britain, historians Susan R. Grayzel (Professor, University of Mississippi) and Lucy Noakes (Senior Lecturer, University of Brighton) explore how a modern, imperial state came to terms with modern total warfare, and how the changing impact of warfare shaped gendered notions of citizenship.

Literature scholar Allison Renée Busch (Associate Professor, Columbia University) and art historian Molly Emma Aitken (Associate Professor, City University of New York, City College) will combine insights from literary and visual depictions of ideal women to shed new light on the overlapping Muslim and Hindu cultural realms in sixteenth- through nineteenth-century India in their co-authored monograph, Aesthetic Worlds of the Indian Heroine.

Historians Rebecca Jo Plant (Associate Professor, University of California, San Diego) and Frances M. Clarke (Senior Lecturer, University of Sydney) plan to reveal how the participation of child soldiers in U.S. wars from the American Revolution to WWII reflected and redefined understandings of childhood itself in a co-authored series of articles and monograph.

Focusing on place-based struggles in British Columbia, New Zealand, and Kansas, geographers Jay T. Johnson (Associate Professor, University of Kansas) and Soren C. Larsen (Associate Professor, University of Missouri) will co-author a book exploring how the ongoing tensions between Indigenous groups and non-Indigenous communities and governments are transforming the places and politics of settler states in the twenty-first century.

Further information about this year’s eight funded projects can be found here. An overview of ACLS fellowship programs, which will award more than $15 million to nearly 400 scholars this year, can be found here.

Environment and Society: Advances in Research [Journal]

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Founded and co-edited by Paige West F’04, ACLS Fellowship, now available from Berghahn Press.

Environment and Society publishes critical reviews of the latest research literature on environmental studies, including subjects of theoretical, methodological, substantive, and applied significance. Articles also survey the literature regionally and thematically and reflect the work of anthropologists, geographers, environmental scientists, and human ecologists from all parts of the world in order to internationalize the conversations within environmental anthropology, environmental geography, and other environmentally oriented social sciences. The publication will appeal to academic, research, and policy-making audiences alike.

For more information about the ACLS Fellowship program, click here.

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Eco-Critical Literature: Regreening African Landscapes

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by Ogaga Doherty Abraham Okuyade'12, African Humanities Program Fellow, now available from African Heritage Press.

Critically examines the representations, contructions, and imaginings of the relationship between the human and non-human worlds in contemporary African literature and culture. It offers innovative, incisive, and critical perspectives on the importance of sustaining a symbiotic relationship between humans and their environment. The book thus carries African scholarship beyond the mere analysis of themes and style to ethical and activist roles of literature having an impact on readers the public. It is a scholarship geared toward rectifying ecological imbalance that is prevalent in many parts of the continent that forms the setting, context, and thematic discourse of the works or authors studied in this book. Besides sensitizing the African readership to the need for the restoration of harmony between man and the environment, this book equally aims to further familiarize scholars and students working on African literature and culture with the theoretical concerns of eco-criticism

For more information about the African Humanities Program, click here.

Exploring the Kingdom of Saturn: Kircher’s Latium and its Legacy by Harry B. Evans G’76 now available from the University of Michigan Press. 
Exploring the Kingdom of Saturn assesses a pioneering study of ancient Latium by one of the most interesting figures in the history of learning, the Jesuit polymath Athanasius Kircher. Although Kircher’s Latium, published in 1671, is not without errors in its reading of the ancient monuments and topography of the area around Rome, this highly influential work launched future topographical study of the Roman campagna. Harry B. Evans investigates Kircher’s Latium, its methods and accuracy, its possible use as a reference now, the scholarly quarrel between Kircher and rival scholar Raffaello Fabretti, and the Vatican’s publications committee’s involvement with Latium.
While Kircher himself is well known for his many publications on a wide variety of subjects—Egyptian hieroglyphs, linguistics, natural science, musicology, and the history of China—his work as an archaeologist and topographer has often been dismissed. But his Latium is worth a detailed assessment: not only was it an early attempt to link ancient literary and historical sources to physical evidence, with splendid illustrations and maps, but the book spurred enormous interest in the region, prompting a more sophisticated study of it by Kircher’s contemporaries and later generations. Anyone interested in the history of archaeology, the world of seventeenth-century Italian antiquarians and scholars, and the fascinating region of Latium itself will want to learn more about Kircher’s achievements and the scholarly legacy of his book.

Exploring the Kingdom of Saturn: Kircher’s Latium and its Legacy by Harry B. Evans G’76 now available from the University of Michigan Press. 

Exploring the Kingdom of Saturn assesses a pioneering study of ancient Latium by one of the most interesting figures in the history of learning, the Jesuit polymath Athanasius Kircher. Although Kircher’s Latium, published in 1671, is not without errors in its reading of the ancient monuments and topography of the area around Rome, this highly influential work launched future topographical study of the Roman campagna. Harry B. Evans investigates Kircher’s Latium, its methods and accuracy, its possible use as a reference now, the scholarly quarrel between Kircher and rival scholar Raffaello Fabretti, and the Vatican’s publications committee’s involvement with Latium.

While Kircher himself is well known for his many publications on a wide variety of subjects—Egyptian hieroglyphs, linguistics, natural science, musicology, and the history of China—his work as an archaeologist and topographer has often been dismissed. But his Latium is worth a detailed assessment: not only was it an early attempt to link ancient literary and historical sources to physical evidence, with splendid illustrations and maps, but the book spurred enormous interest in the region, prompting a more sophisticated study of it by Kircher’s contemporaries and later generations. Anyone interested in the history of archaeology, the world of seventeenth-century Italian antiquarians and scholars, and the fascinating region of Latium itself will want to learn more about Kircher’s achievements and the scholarly legacy of his book.

Machine Art, 1934 by Jennifer Jane Marshall F’04 now available from the University of Chicago Press. 
In 1934, New York’s Museum of Modern Art staged a major exhibition of ball bearings, airplane propellers, pots and pans, cocktail tumblers, petri dishes, protractors, and other machine parts and products. The exhibition, titled Machine Art, explored these ordinary objects as works of modern art, teaching museumgoers about the nature of beauty and value in the era of mass production.
Telling the story of this extraordinarily popular but controversial show, Jennifer Jane Marshall examines its history and the relationship between the museum’s director, Alfred H. Barr Jr., and its curator, Philip Johnson, who oversaw it. She situates the show within the tumultuous climate of the interwar period and the Great Depression, considering how these unadorned objects served as a response to timely debates over photography, abstract art, the end of the American gold standard, and John Dewey’s insight that how a person experiences things depends on the context in which they are encountered. An engaging investigation of interwar American modernism, Machine Art, 1934 reveals how even simple things can serve as a defense against uncertainty.

Machine Art, 1934 by Jennifer Jane Marshall F’04 now available from the University of Chicago Press. 

In 1934, New York’s Museum of Modern Art staged a major exhibition of ball bearings, airplane propellers, pots and pans, cocktail tumblers, petri dishes, protractors, and other machine parts and products. The exhibition, titled Machine Art, explored these ordinary objects as works of modern art, teaching museumgoers about the nature of beauty and value in the era of mass production.

Telling the story of this extraordinarily popular but controversial show, Jennifer Jane Marshall examines its history and the relationship between the museum’s director, Alfred H. Barr Jr., and its curator, Philip Johnson, who oversaw it. She situates the show within the tumultuous climate of the interwar period and the Great Depression, considering how these unadorned objects served as a response to timely debates over photography, abstract art, the end of the American gold standard, and John Dewey’s insight that how a person experiences things depends on the context in which they are encountered. An engaging investigation of interwar American modernism, Machine Art, 1934 reveals how even simple things can serve as a defense against uncertainty.