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Grant program: Public Scholars

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Page size:
 235 items in 5 pages
Award Number Grant ProgramAward RecipientProject TitleAward PeriodApproved Award Total
Page size:
 235 items in 5 pages
FZ-230646-15Research Programs: Public ScholarsJonathan M. HansenYoung Castro: The Making of a Cuban Revolutionary10/1/2015 - 8/31/2016$46,200.00JonathanM.Hansen   President and Fellows of Harvard CollegeCambridgeMA02138-3800USA2015Latin American HistoryPublic ScholarsResearch Programs462000462000

A study of the childhood, education, and development of Cuban leader Fidel Castro against the backdrop of reforms in Cuba and unfolding U.S.-Cuba relations.

This project provides the first-ever rigorous historical examination of the childhood, education, and development of Cuban leader Fidel Castro. It taps human, archival, and cultural resources in Havana and elsewhere to recreate Castro's youth as he actually lived it rather than as an anachronistic projection of the man we know today. The historical record reveals a subject of surprising depth and complexity, an intellectual polymath as familiar with and sympathetic to the romantic and liberal traditions as to Marxism and Communism. The project advances NEH's mission of promoting collaboration and public engagement by reexamining Castro's life against the backdrop of reforms in Cuba and unfolding U.S.-Cuban relations. By recapturing the contingency and complexity of the early Cuban Revolution, the project suggests grounds for cooperation and reciprocity today. Though first and foremost a work of scholarship, I see Young Castro as a modest contribution to U.S.-Cuban diplomacy. [Edited by staff.]

FZ-230902-15Research Programs: Public ScholarsWendy LesserAmerican Architect Louis Kahn (1901-1974): A Portrait in Light and Shadow10/1/2015 - 7/31/2016$42,000.00Wendy Lesser   Unaffiliated Independent ScholarBerkeleyCA94709-1533USA2015ArchitecturePublic ScholarsResearch Programs420000420000

The writing of a biography of a 20th-century American architect known for his public buildings: government centers, museums, religious centers, educational research complexes, and memorial parks.

My project will be the first full-length biography of the architect Louis Kahn, and the only book about him to be aimed at a wide general audience. Architecture is a pertinent subject for all of us --we live amidst it, whether we wish to or not-- and if the twentieth century produced a "public" American architect, Louis Kahn was it. He did not design shopping centers or fancy hotels or expensive condominium towers or corporate skyscrapers. Instead, he focused on medical and educational research complexes, government centers, art museums, libraries, memorial parks, religious buildings,and other structures that would serve the public good. At the same time, the private side of his life was so complex, so obscure, and sometimes so unconventional that it has been largely unexplored in any of the works written about him. Yet even with these personal complications, Kahn remains an exemplary figure in architecture.

FZ-230912-15Research Programs: Public ScholarsGregg Alan HecimovichThe Life and Times of Hannah Crafts: The True Story of The Bondwoman's Narrative10/1/2015 - 9/30/2016$50,400.00GreggAlanHecimovich   Winthrop UniversityRock HillSC29733-7001USA2015African American HistoryPublic ScholarsResearch Programs504000504000

A biography of the fugitive slave who authored a 19th-century American slave narrative discovered in 2001 and published in 2002 to great fanfare, becoming an instant bestseller.

In 2001, the celebrated scholar and historian, Henry Louis Gates Jr., purchased a manuscript at auction titled "The Bondwoman's Narrative by Hannah Crafts a Fugitive Slave Recently Escaped from North Carolina." Gates authenticated it, and then published it in 2002 to great fanfare. The work became an instant New York Times Bestseller. But while Gates confirmed that the author's probable master was John Hill Wheeler, he could not locate the mixed-race, fugitive slave who called herself "Hannah Crafts." My book identifies the first, black female novelist as Hannah Bond "Crafts" and tells the story of her life and the search for her identity. At once a detective story, a literary chase, and a cultural history, The Life and Times of Hannah Crafts discovers a Dickensian tale of love, friendship, betrayal, and interracial intrigue against the backdrop of America's slide into Civil War.

FZ-230918-15Research Programs: Public ScholarsEric ClineDigging up Armageddon: The Story of Biblical Megiddo from Canaanites to Christians12/1/2015 - 5/31/2016$25,200.00Eric Cline   George Washington UniversityWashingtonDC20052-0001USA2015ArchaeologyPublic ScholarsResearch Programs252000252000

A book-length study of the archaeology and history of ancient Megiddo in northern Israel, the site referred to as Armageddon in the Book of Revelation.

Few people today realize that Armageddon is a real place, but it certainly is. It is the ancient site of Megiddo in northern Israel, where the remains of 20 cities lie buried one on top of another within a 70-foot-tall mound. James Michener's book "The Source," published to worldwide acclaim in 1965, featured the fictitious site of Makor, which was a compilation of the archaeological sites of Megiddo and Hazor. "Digging up Armageddon" turns fiction into fact, for it is the real story of Megiddo, told in a way that has never been done before. Written as narrative non-fiction in an unprecedented contribution to the humanities by the current co-director of the Megiddo Expedition, "Digging up Armageddon" is a compelling reconstruction of Megiddo's archaeology and history down through the ages, including both the excavations and the excavators, set within the larger context of the development of western civilization from the Neolithic Revolution through the end of classical antiquity.

FZ-231033-15Research Programs: Public ScholarsJohn Coyne McManusThe U.S. Army in the Pacific/Asia Theater in World War II12/1/2015 - 8/31/2016$50,400.00JohnCoyneMcManus   Missouri University of Science and TechnologyRollaMO65409-0001USA2015U.S. HistoryPublic ScholarsResearch Programs504000378000

A two-volume study of the military, political, and social dimensions of the American army's operations in the Pacific theater. 

The United States Army did the majority of the fighting and dying in the Pacific War. Nearly 40 percent of Army soldiers who served overseas during World War II fought in the Pacific. From the first moments of the Pearl Harbor attack through the bitter final days of the battle for Okinawa, the Army fought most of the bloody campaigns that decided the outcome of the war. The Pacific/Asia War, though overshadowed in the public mind by the war in Europe, was actually a harbinger for the American future. Every major American conflict thereafter has taken place in the Pacific-Asian rim, (including two recent wars in southwest Asia), heedless of the niceties of the Geneva convention, against enemies with profound cultural differences. I am writing a two volume series on the history of the Army in the Asia/Pacific theater. NAL/Penguin, the leading publisher of scholarly World War II books for a wide audience, will publish the series in 2018 and 2020.

FZ-231042-15Research Programs: Public ScholarsPhilip Lester DrayThe Fair Chase: The Epic Story of Hunting in America10/1/2015 - 9/30/2016$50,400.00PhilipLesterDray    BrooklynNY11231-4051USA2015U.S. HistoryPublic ScholarsResearch Programs504000504000

A history of hunting as a sport in America, with its deep influence on culture and society since the 19th century.

My book is a social and cultural history of sport hunting, an American passion that was immediately popular when it was introduced to the public in the mid-19th century and which continues to affect our cultural and political landscape. Promoted as a means of reconnecting an increasingly urban America with nature, sports magazines invoked the elitism of the British hunt, the independence of the American frontiersman, and the stealth of the Native American. Even clerics sermonized on the sport’s behalf, as it was said to restore spiritual health and manliness. Gun-making, clothing, and tourism industries sprang up around the pastime. Hunting’s long history has deeply influenced our American experience, including begetting the conservation movement. However, due to the sport’s abandonment by elites, as well as our changing values regarding diet, animal ethics, the use of firearms, and what constitutes recreation, it has largely been neglected as a topic of historical inquiry in America

FZ-231049-15Research Programs: Public ScholarsJason C. SokolThe Heavens Might Crack: The Death and Legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr.1/1/2016 - 12/31/2016$50,400.00JasonC.Sokol   University of New HampshireDurhamNH03824-2620USA2015U.S. HistoryPublic ScholarsResearch Programs504000504000

A book on the immediate and long-term effects of King's assassination on culture, race relations, and politics in America.

This is a book about the broader historical impact of Martin Luther King's death. It asks how individual Americans – and others across the globe – experienced King’s assassination, in the days, weeks, and months afterward. It shows how his death unleashed a host of different emotions: devastation and despair, pain and guilt, shock and apathy, bitterness and even satisfaction. I also probe the long-term ramifications of King's death, analyzing the ways it transformed race relations and politics in America. For all of the literature on King, the civil rights movement, and the 1960s, no scholar has explored the larger meaning of his death. As a social history of that seminal event, this book offers a fresh perspective on one of the most written-about figures in American life.

FZ-231313-15Research Programs: Public ScholarsJudith DupreOne World Trade Center: The Biography of the Building10/1/2015 - 6/30/2016$37,800.00Judith Dupre   Purchase College, SUNYPurchaseNY10577-1402USA2015ArchitecturePublic ScholarsResearch Programs378000378000

A book and accompanying website on all aspects, including history, design, financing, and construction, of America's tallest building.

One World Trade Center: The Biography of the Building responds to the public’s great curiosity about how the new skyscraper that anchors the World Trade Center, unlike any in memory, was built. The book explores the super tower’s planning, aesthetic premise, and historical origins. It examines the tower’s groundbreaking safety measures, its structural and construction challenges, and the politics of commemoration and financing. Extensive first-person accounts of those responsible—from ironworkers to architects to financiers—reveal their motivations and struggles. Lavishly illustrated with photographs and plans, the book also includes explanatory diagrams, maps, and critical timelines. An interactive website complements and expands upon the publication, allowing the public to track the WTC’s progress and access in-depth interviews and film clips. Above all, this is a profoundly human story about the heroic efforts and dogged determination that raised the tallest building in the nation.

FZ-231325-15Research Programs: Public ScholarsDavid T. CourtwrightThe Age of Addiction: How Bad Habits Became Big Business5/1/2016 - 4/30/2017$50,400.00DavidT.Courtwright   University of North FloridaJacksonvilleFL32224-7699USA2015History, GeneralPublic ScholarsResearch Programs504000504000

A history of the rise of abusive consumption and addiction in modern life and of the global economic systems that have enabled them.

I have contracted to write a trade book about the history of pleasure, vice, and addiction, a subject of general interest and large consequence. Humanists, especially historians, have published studies of particular pleasures, vices, and addictions. So have social scientists and neuroscientists seeking to understand the process of pathological learning. As yet no one has brought this work together to explain the development of a socially regressive global economic system through which multinational industries, often with the help of complicit governments and criminal organizations, have encouraged, manipulated, and multiplied the forms of abusive consumption and addiction. I call that system limbic capitalism. My book will trace limbic capitalism’s historical origins; identify who gained and who lost from its growth; and explain why modern states, despite a powerful international reform movement that arose more than a century ago, ultimately failed to check its influence.

FZ-231349-15Research Programs: Public ScholarsEdward BallConstant LeCorgne (1832-1886): Biography of a Klansman10/1/2015 - 9/30/2016$50,400.00Edward Ball   Yale UniversityNew HavenCT06510-1703USA2015U.S. HistoryPublic ScholarsResearch Programs504000504000

A biography of a klansman (the author's great-great grandfather) in the American South during Reconstruction, exploring the roots of American racial violence and ideology.

I propose in a fellowship year to work on the biography of a klansman, tracing the life of a foot soldier in the race battles that occurred during Reconstruction in the American South. The vigilante in this project was an ordinary man, a French-speaking carpenter by the name of Constant LeCorgne, who was my great-great-grandfather. LeCorgne joined and fought with the White League, a militia in Louisiana equivalent to the Ku Klux Klan. A person long dead, his life thinly documented, LeCorgne was a person who despite a marginal place in memory once ranked as a hero to his white contemporaries. The biography will follow the evolution of this white guerilla soldier as a way to explore the roots of American racial violence and ideology. Segregation and white supremacy disfigured American life for 150 years—this project zeroes in on one man to investigate how, why, and by whom they were shaped.

FZ-231375-15Research Programs: Public ScholarsChristina Abbott ThompsonThe Wonder Story of the World: How the Islands of Polynesia Were Settled and How We Know10/1/2015 - 8/31/2016$46,200.00ChristinaAbbottThompson   President and Fellows of Harvard CollegeCambridgeMA02138-3800USA2015Cultural HistoryPublic ScholarsResearch Programs462000462000

A book on the colonization of the Pacific, combining research from the fields of history, mythology, anthropology, and linguistics.

"The Wonder Story of the World" is a book about the settlement of Polynesia by the ancient voyagers of the Pacific. Combining research in several different fields—from history and mythology to anthropology and linguistics—it traces attempts to solve what was long known as "The Problem of Polynesian Origins." When Europeans first reached the Pacific, they were amazed to discover people on even the remotest islands. Over the course of the next several hundred years, various scenarios were envisioned: that the islanders were the remnants of a lost civilization, that they were Aryans, or American Indians, or descendants of ocean-going migrants from Taiwan. This book tells the story of these and other theories, of the evidence for them, and of the contexts in which they arose. It is a study in historical problem-solving which takes as its starting point one of the most extraordinary chapters in human history: the Polynesian colonization of the largest ocean in the world.

FZ-231396-15Research Programs: Public ScholarsNicholas Andrew BasbanesCross of Snow: A Life of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow1/1/2016 - 12/31/2016$50,400.00NicholasAndrewBasbanes    NORTH GRAFTONMA01536-1806USA2015Arts, GeneralPublic ScholarsResearch Programs504000504000

A biographical examination of the life, times, and celebrity of the poet and his role in shaping American cultural identity.

A multi-layered biographical and critical narrative written for the general reader examining the life, times, and unprecedented celebrity of the 19th-century American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and of his role in the shaping of a cultural identity that was truly American. A project ripe in the 21st century for a fresh consideration, the book will also profile at length the influence of Longfellow's ill-fated wife, Frances Elizabeth Appleton Longfellow, heretofore never more than a curiosity on the margins of his story. It will include, too, a portrait of 19th-century literary Boston and Cambridge, and offer a fresh evaluation of Longfellow’s place in the pantheon of American literature. The project will involve primary research at the Longfellow House in Cambridge, Mass., a repository of artifacts and archival materials numbering 800,000 items, as well as at other major collections, and use the principles of materiality to offer added insight and nuance to the major characters

FZ-231436-15Research Programs: Public ScholarsLinda PrzybyszewskiThe Unexpected Origins of Modern Religious Liberty1/1/2016 - 12/31/2016$50,400.00Linda Przybyszewski   University of Notre DameNotre DameIN46556-4635USA2015History, GeneralPublic ScholarsResearch Programs504000504000

A book chronicling the 1869 Cincinnati school board vote to end Bible reading in public schools, which sparked mass protest across the nation and a lawsuit that lasted over four years.

In the fall of 1869, the Cincinnati school board took a vote to end Bible reading in the public schools, sparking mass protests, angry newspaper editorials across the nation, and a lawsuit that dragged on for four years. The Bible War has attracted attention from legal scholars, but they misidentify it as the simple triumph of secularists over religious believers, and miss its dramatic potential as a struggle over the meaning of religious liberty. The story of the Bible War sweeps us back to a time when Protestants and Catholics often saw one another as enemies and schooling as their weapon. It reminds us that arguments over the meaning of religious liberty and the value of religious pluralism are not new; they developed early in a country peopled by immigrants and spiritual seekers. The legal brief which won the case for the board reveals how religious faith could be more than an obstacle to the development of religious liberty; it was often essential to its defense.

FZ-231439-15Research Programs: Public ScholarsMary Lynne MurphyThe Prodigal Tongue: The Love-Hate Relationship Between American and British English1/1/2016 - 12/31/2016$50,400.00MaryLynneMurphy   University of SussexBrighton BN1 9QNEngland2015EnglishPublic ScholarsResearch Programs504000504000

A historical exploration of changes in the English language over 300 years, focusing on differences between American and British national dialects, why they differ, and how the differences are perceived.

This project supports M. Lynne Murphy in writing How America Saved the English Language. Since 2006, Murphy has used her linguistic expertise to engage the public in exploring American and British English through the blog Separated by a Common Language, social media, public talks and media work. While the tongue-in-cheek title serves to draw readers in, the book provides a rigorously researched and reader-friendly examination of why national dialects differ as they do, why they don’t differ more, how they are changing with and despite each other’s influence, and how these issues are often misrepresented due to a range of social-cognitive biases and mistaken beliefs. It incorporates a range of original archival, corpus, and analytical research as well as the synthesis of existing work on the history and status of English. It is aimed to help English users examine biases in treatment of the two dialects (in teaching, editing, media) and appreciate the richness of their language.

FZ-231454-15Research Programs: Public ScholarsMichael GorraWilliam Faulkner's Civil War7/1/2016 - 6/30/2017$50,400.00Michael Gorra   Trustees of Smith CollegeNorthamptonMA01060-2916USA2015American LiteraturePublic ScholarsResearch Programs504000504000

A book-length study of how the Civil War shaped Faulkner's fiction and also how Faulkner's fiction influenced understanding of the Civil War.

What can the work of William Faulkner tell us about the Civil War? And what can that war tell us about the most important American writer of the 20th century? These questions seem obvious, and yet no book-length work has put them at its center. This one will. It will use the Civil War to help us understand the whole body of the Mississippian's fiction, making his demanding work newly available for the general reader, and at the same time uses that fiction to help us understand the war itself, from Secession through Reconstruction and on to our own continual revision and rewriting of its history. But it is also about the civil war within Faulkner himself, his own struggle to come to terms with its meaning; which is to say, with slavery. His attempt—and ours. For what we think about the Civil War at any given moment can tell us what we think about ourselves as Americans, about the nature of our polity and the shape of our history.

FZ-231455-16Research Programs: Public ScholarsJames H. RubinWhy Monet Matters, or Meanings Among the Lily Pads1/1/2016 - 12/31/2016$50,400.00JamesH.Rubin   SUNY Research Foundation, Stony BrookStony BrookNY11794-0001USA2015Art History and CriticismPublic ScholarsResearch Programs504000504000

The writing of a book placing the well-known art of a popular artist in literary, cultural, historical, and philosophical context to deepen understanding and appreciation of modern art in general.

Few painters are as famous as the great French Impressionist Claude Monet. He is a staple of the museum exhibition circuit, and few masters bring higher prices. His house and gardens in France, with their placid lily ponds, are among the most visited sites in Europe. Using this popularity to attract the widest audience, the book will offer ways of thinking beyond surfaces when looking at modern art. Monet’s Water Lilies appear above all to be a call to visual experience. Their scale and aesthetic presence suspend thoughts of the outside world and its conflicts. Yet when one realizes that these works were made in a period of social and political turmoil-regime changes, the Dreyfus Affair, and WW I—questions must arise about the context—personal, cultural, and historical—in which an artist creates such sumptuous fantasies of nature. By revealing those conditions, it is possible show how Monet’s work—a harbinger of American abstraction—appeals to something deep in modern consciousness.

FZ-231476-15Research Programs: Public ScholarsAndrew S. CurranFrench Enlightenment Philosopher and Critic Denis Diderot (1713-1784): The Art of Thinking Freely10/1/2015 - 8/31/2016$46,200.00AndrewS.Curran   Wesleyan UniversityMiddletownCT06459-3208USA2015French LiteraturePublic ScholarsResearch Programs462000462000

The writing of a biography of 18th-century thinker Denis Diderot, a peer of Voltaire and Rousseau and leading contributor to the world's first comprehensive encyclopedia.

The French Enlightenment philosopher and critic Denis Diderot (1713-84) dreamt of natural selection before Darwin, the Oedipus complex before Freud, and genetic manipulation centuries before Dolly the Sheep was born. Overshadowed by Voltaire and Jean-Jacques Rousseau during his lifetime, Diderot was nonetheless his era’s most dynamic and versatile writer, engaging with and writing on virtually all of his century’s forbidden subjects, including the (non-biblical) origin of the human species, the sexual abuse endured by nuns, as well as the race science underpinning the extremely profitable slave trade. This profoundly intriguing scientific and literary career, and the life that was its backdrop, are the subject of a “public scholar" intellectual biography that I am proposing to the NEH for funding.

FZ-231482-15Research Programs: Public ScholarsKembrew McLeodThe Pop Underground: Downtown New York’s Converging Arts Scenes in the 1960s and 1970s6/1/2016 - 5/31/2017$50,400.00Kembrew McLeod   University of IowaIowa CityIA52242-1320USA2015Music History and CriticismPublic ScholarsResearch Programs504000504000

A book-length study of the social networks that connected the art, writing, film, theater, fashion, and music movements in lower Manhattan during the 1960s and 70s.

The Pop Underground is the first book to provide a thorough account of the interlocking arts scenes that thrived in Lower Manhattan (i.e., “downtown”) during the 1960s and 1970s. Even though these art, writing, film, theater, fashion, and music movements have each been well-documented, this project breaks new ground with its holistic approach. Using interview and archival research methods, it maps the social networks that developed downtown, where artists used DIY (Do It Yourself) media in innovative ways. This contributed to the development of what media scholars refer to as “participatory culture”—which enables everyday people to make and distribute their own creations. The most recent example of this mode of media production is “Web 2.0,” but the origins of that DIY approach can be traced back to those downtown arts scenes. It was a unique period when offbeat artists, gonzo musicians, and other outsiders used indie media to remake popular culture in their own image.

FZ-231501-15Research Programs: Public ScholarsMalinda Maynor LoweryThe Lumbee Indians: An American Struggle9/1/2015 - 8/31/2016$50,400.00MalindaMaynorLowery   University of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillNC27599-1350USA2015U.S. HistoryPublic ScholarsResearch Programs504000504000

A book-length exploration of the importance of Native peoples in American history, and in particular how the history of the largest Indian tribe east of the Mississippi spotlights the struggle to reconcile religious and cultural differences within our own borders and in engagements all over the globe.

"The Lumbee Indians, An American Struggle" explores the integral place of Native people, specifically the Lumbees, to the narratives of American history and how Native stories change the American past that we think we know. The Lumbees are the largest Native American tribe east of the Mississippi and the ninth largest in the nation. With Lumbees at the center of U.S. and Southern history, those narratives become even more dramatic, intense, and compelling. The Lumbee story is in many ways a microcosm of the Southern United States; its moments of crisis offer constant surprises even to those who are familiar with the region's ambiguous power dynamics. The manuscript is currently under advance contract with the University of North Carolina Press.

FZ-231520-15Research Programs: Public ScholarsJennifer G. TuckerCaught on Camera: A History of Photographic Detection and Evasion1/1/2016 - 12/31/2016$50,400.00JenniferG.Tucker   Wesleyan UniversityMiddletownCT06459-3208USA2015History and Philosophy of Science, Technology, and MedicinePublic ScholarsResearch Programs504000504000

A book-length study of the development of photographic detection, surveillance, and evasion from the 19th century to the present.

"Caught on Camera" will chart the historical transformation of photographic detection, surveillance, and evasion from the 19th century to today. It spans photography's early uses in the capture of facial likenesses through the rise of today's sophisticated facial recognition systems. The book explores how the threats to individual privacy and identity posed by corporate and state surveillance techniques were confronted by earlier generations. From the mugshot to Big Brother, from the family album to the selfie, photography has served both as a source of empowerment and social control. Written in an accessible style for a general reader, the book will demonstrate how study of the past can shed new light on contemporary debates over a topic of public concern. It will contribute to the humanities by integrating modes of analysis that are often disparate, combining the history of science and technology with political history, legal studies, social and cultural history, and visual studies.

FZ-231557-15Research Programs: Public ScholarsChristopher HagerI Remain Yours: Common Lives in Civil War Letters1/1/2016 - 8/31/2016$50,400.00Christopher Hager   Trinity CollegeHartfordCT06106-3100USA2015American LiteraturePublic ScholarsResearch Programs504000336000

The research and writing of a major study of Civil War letter writing, using working-class Americans' correspondence to craft a history of emotional life during the Civil War. 

My book, the first major study of Civil War letter-writing, uses working-class Americans’ correspondence to craft a history of emotional life during the war. By training a literature scholar’s eye on documents that historians have used principally to reconstruct events, I interpret soldiers’ inward experiences of being absent from home and their families’ experiences of separation, adaptation, and loss. In addition to deepening our understanding of war and military service, this book contributes to historical knowledge of written communication. Epistolary culture’s path from signet rings and sealing wax to text messages and Twitter runs through Civil War letters, and this book makes this pivotal moment accessible to a general audience. In addition to describing and analyzing these letters as a genre, the book's chapters gravitate around the written exchanges of a select cast of characters, creating a narrative of the war through ordinary Americans' private letters.

FZ-231559-15Research Programs: Public ScholarsAaron CohenMove On Up: Chicago Soul Music and the Rise of Black Cultural Power1/1/2016 - 12/31/2016$50,400.00Aaron Cohen   City Colleges of Chicago, Truman CollegeChicagoIL60640-6063USA2015Music History and CriticismPublic ScholarsResearch Programs504000504000

A book on how cultural changes in Chicago during the 1960s and 1970s shaped blues music recorded in the city, and how that music culture affected developments in education and battles over integration.

“Move On Up: Chicago Soul Music and the Rise of Black Cultural Power” (University of Chicago Press, 2017) will describe how Chicago’s social and cultural changes during the 1960s and 1970s reverberated through the rhythm & blues music that was recorded in the city. This book features original interviews with singers, instrumentalists, producers, arrangers, media personalities, politicians, ministers and community representatives. The project will emphasize how developments in education and battles over integration intersected with the music, as well as describing the ascendancy of African American musical entrepreneurs in this city. "Move On Up" will also be one of the few titles to focus on the culture of African American Chicago during the transitional period between the Civil Rights movement and the emergence of Mayor Harold Washington in 1983. My project will also how recently unearthed recordings have reshaped longstanding perceptions of local music making in this era.

FZ-231571-16Research Programs: Public ScholarsMark Allan ClagueO Say Can You Hear?: A Tuneful Cultural History of "The Star-Spangled Banner"6/1/2016 - 5/31/2017$50,400.00MarkAllanClague   Regents of the University of MichiganAnn ArborMI48109-1382USA2015Music History and CriticismPublic ScholarsResearch Programs504000504000

A cultural and musical history of the national anthem composed by Francis Scott Key.

The story of "The Star-Spangled Banner" is the story of the United States of America, yet many know little about the song and what is known is usually distorted by myth and misinformation. My book project—O Say Can You Hear? A Tuneful Cultural History of "The Star-Spangled Banner"—will share the forgotten musical history of Francis Scott Key's song and reveal how the song's story presents a surprising social history of the United States. It will be the first to reveal the full story of the anthem's music: how the version we think of as traditional today, grew over the song's first century. Similarly, Key's now famous lyric was just one of hundreds of American patriotic and protest songs written to this melody. Key's artistry thus offers all U.S. citizens the chance to examine what it means to be American. This book will inspire readers to answer Key's lyrical question for themselves—to show that like the song, America's democratic experiment is always in the process of becoming.

FZ-231572-16Research Programs: Public ScholarsThomas George AndrewsAnimals in the History of the United States1/1/2016 - 12/31/2016$50,400.00ThomasGeorgeAndrews   Regents of the University of Colorado, BoulderBoulderCO80303-1058USA2015U.S. HistoryPublic ScholarsResearch Programs504000504000

The research and writing of a book-length study of the human-animal relationship within the context of changes in broader American culture and life.

An Animals’ History of the United States, under contract with Harvard University Press, presents a path-breaking view of human-animal relationships in U.S. history. Using incisive research, accessible prose, and gripping storytelling, it asks the following questions: How have animals shaped our nation? Where did our contemporary ideas about animals come from? What can we learn about the origins and evolution of the seemingly contradictory practices through which we interact with the creatures we categorize as pets, livestock, wildlife, laboratory subjects, spectacles, and so forth? This project seeks to illuminate these questions by examining the past six centuries of human-animal relationships in what is now the U.S. The resulting work of public scholarship will offer an animals’-eye view of U. S. history since 1400. In the process, this project will make an important contribution to ongoing debates over how we think about and act toward non-human beings.

FZ-231582-15Research Programs: Public ScholarsSarah Crawford DryWater World: How the Sciences of Water Went Global10/1/2015 - 9/30/2016$50,400.00SarahCrawfordDry    Oxford OX4 1ETEngland2015History of SciencePublic ScholarsResearch Programs504000504000

A book-length history of global knowledge about climate and water spanning more than a century and a half and based on a wide array of scientific disciplines, including meteorology, oceanography, atmospheric sciences, and glaciology.

Water World: How the Sciences of Water Went Global describes 150 years in the history of the sciences of water. Spanning meteorology, oceanography, atmospheric sciences and glaciology, the book tells the history of our global understanding of climate and water. Few specialist books on this important subject exist, fewer still for general readers. By spanning more than a century and a half and covering a wide array of scientific disciplines, Water World aims to give readers a firm understanding of how global knowledge about climate has been made in different scientific fields. Each chapter places a unique moment, individual and place in studies of water, ice and vapor in the wider social, political and cultural context of its time. Rich archival sources, including interviews with living participants, enable me to construct a gripping and well-paced narrative history of landmark moments in the generation of a global awareness of the earth’s climate.

FZ-231630-15Research Programs: Public ScholarsNoah IsenbergEverybody Comes to Rick's: How "Casablanca" Taught Us to Love Movies10/1/2015 - 7/31/2016$42,000.00Noah Isenberg   New SchoolNew YorkNY10011-8871USA2015Film History and CriticismPublic ScholarsResearch Programs420000420000

A book-length exploration of Casablanca's iconic status in American cinematic history.

"Everybody Comes to Rick’s" (under contract with W.W. Norton in the U.S.and Faber & Faber in the U.K.) is fueled by a profound desire to understand what makes a single film so unusually captivating, so enduring, and such a worldwide phenomenon--what makes it, in the eyes of Umberto Eco, not simply a stand-alone production, but somehow representative of all "movies." Through extensive research and reporting, conducting a vast array of interviews with film scholars and professionals, screenwriters and directors, relatives of the cast and crew, and also with the fans themselves, I wish to answer this question. Along the way, I seek to tell a lively, intense, and engaging story whose register of meaning far transcends the mere plot-lines of the film and taps into our continued fascination with motion pictures as a means of self-understanding. The project aims to broaden and complicate received wisdom concerning the film and to provide original insights for a new generation of viewers.

FZ-231633-15Research Programs: Public ScholarsBette TalvacchiaThe Two Michelangelos10/1/2015 - 9/30/2016$50,400.00Bette Talvacchia   University of ConnecticutStorrsCT06269-9000USA2015Art History and CriticismPublic ScholarsResearch Programs504000504000

A comparative analysis of the major protagonists of Renaissance and Baroque art, Michelangelo Buonarroti and Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio.

I propose to complete research for and write a book entitled The Two Michelangelos. The volume will offer targeted discussions, which can be thought of as case studies, exploring works by the major protagonists of Renaissance and Baroque art, Michelangelo Buonarroti and Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio. My intent is first and foremost to give access to the meaning of the art itself, getting as close as possible to the original circumstances of the making and reception of the works. A particular focus will be on how each artist employed the human body as a conveyor of meaning. I will present the information conversationally, through a narrative that shares the approach of a good detective story, outlining questions and then looking for clues to solve mysteries. The individual cases explored will be carefully chosen so that they in turn become keys for unlocking larger historical problems, whose answers have enduring meaning for our own culture.

FZ-231645-15Research Programs: Public ScholarsPhillips Payson O'BrienThe Second Most Powerful Man in the World: Adm. William D. Leahy (1875-1959), Statecraft and the Shaping of the Modern World9/1/2016 - 8/31/2017$50,400.00PhillipsPaysonO'Brien   University of GlasgowGlasgow G12 8QQUnited Kingdom2015History, GeneralPublic ScholarsResearch Programs504000504000

A biography of the first chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the only person in U.S. history to hold the job of Chief of Staff to the Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy, serving both Roosevelt and Truman from 1942 to 1949.

This project will result in a much-needed biographical and political study of the second most powerful man in American strategic decision-making between 1942 and 1949, Admiral William D. Leahy. He was the first chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the only person in US history to hold the job of Chief of staff to the Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy. Leahy’s unique place in the American decision making structure is worthy of a new detailed study. Leahy was the only individual to serve continuously during this remarkable seven year period, advising Presidents Roosevelt and Truman on the most sensitive and important international (and at times national) policy matters while serving as the single most important conduit of information between the White House, the armed services, the State Department and the intelligence agencies. He provides an excellent example of the difference between real and perceived power.

FZ-231656-15Research Programs: Public ScholarsTimothy K. BealRevelation: A Biography1/1/2016 - 7/31/2016$29,400.00TimothyK.Beal   Case Western Reserve UniversityClevelandOH44106-1712USA2015Religion, OtherPublic ScholarsResearch Programs294000294000

A cultural history of the New Testament book of Revelation, describing how the book was created and has been reinterpreted and reinvented over the years.

A cultural history of the New Testament book of Revelation and the apocalyptic imaginations it has fueled, telling the story of the many, often wildly contradictory lives of this strangely familiar, sometimes horrifying, sometimes inspiring biblical vision. It is the story of how Revelation keeps becoming something new, reinventing itself, taking on new forms of life in the hearts and minds and imaginations of those who become its hosts. The book will be published by Princeton University Press in the trade series, "Lives of Great Religious Books," which publishes books by leading authors and scholars for general audiences.

FZ-231666-16Research Programs: Public ScholarsCarla KaplanQueen of the Muckrakers: The Life and Times of Jessica Mitford (1917-1996)7/1/2016 - 6/30/2017$50,400.00Carla Kaplan   Northeastern UniversityBostonMA02115-5005USA2015American StudiesPublic ScholarsResearch Programs504000504000

A book-length study of a social activist whose writing and organizing activities challenged the conventions of her age.

This is the first major book to examine the life, writing, and influence of Jessica Mitford, a woman who walked away from British aristocracy to eventually revitalize muckraking: one of the oldest forms of American narrative advocacy. Mitford’s three distinct life phases as a peer’s daughter, a communist, and a successful writer were all defined by dogged efforts to shed the precepts of her class and learn to empathize and identify with society’s least empowered. At the center of American civil rights struggles in Oakland, she crossed America’s intransigent color line, anticipating the “New Abolitionist” critique of race and prisons by two decades. Beginning with her 1963 blockbuster The American Way of Death, (an exposé of the funeral industry’s exploitation of the poor), Mitford’s writing re-introduced, and radicalized, Gilded Age ideas of civic responsibility in ways which continue to impact contemporary debates over social inequality, whistle blowing, and the ethics of writing.

FZ-231704-15Research Programs: Public ScholarsDiane McWhorterMoon of Alabama: The Space Race and Civil Rights in Post-WWII Huntsville8/1/2016 - 7/31/2017$50,400.00Diane McWhorter    WashingtonDC20008-4557USA2015U.S. HistoryPublic ScholarsResearch Programs504000504000

The research and writing of a book contextualizing the moon landing within the convergence of three major 20th-century dramas—World War II, the Cold War, and the civil rights struggle—in the unlikely military-industrial complex of Huntsville, Alabama.

After World War II, the United States “procures” the Third Reich’s rocket expert, Wernher von Braun,with 115 other Germans responsible for Hitler’s V-2 (“Vengeance”) missile. In the U.S. they design the rocket that puts the first man on the Moon. This technological marvel, the U.S. vehicle of moral superiority over the Soviets, is achieved in the segregated backwater of Alabama, where the “master race” is pursuing a fateful agenda. While von Braun is refashioning the Nazi wonder weapon into a noble Cold War artifact, the African-American freedom movement has turned the Germans’ adopted state into the prime domestic battleground for human rights—and the Russians’ best propaganda gambit. Touching on practically every conceivable moral conundrum, this will be the first book to chronicle the Moon landing through the convergence of three major 20th-century dramas—World War II, the Cold War, the civil rights struggle—in the unlikely military-industrial complex of Huntsville, Alabama.

FZ-231708-15Research Programs: Public ScholarsKevin BoyleBartolomeo Vanzetti (1891-1927) and the Culture of Early 20th-Century Anarchism7/1/2016 - 12/31/2016$50,400.00Kevin Boyle   Northwestern UniversityEvanstonIL60208-0001USA2015U.S. HistoryPublic ScholarsResearch Programs504000252000

The research and writing of a study of anarchism in early 20th-century America, the nation's first age of terror.

The Splendid Dead is an intensely intimate history of political extremism in the early twentieth-century United States, centered on Bartolomeo Vanzetti, who as a young man joined an anarchist group public officials considered the most dangerous in the nation. It is not simply another Sacco-Vanzetti book. Rather, using the remarkable documentary record the celebrated case created, it explores on the most personal level what it meant to live and die for a movement that embraced terror as a path to social change. Through Vanzetti's story it will draw general readers into a movement many of them will find abhorrent,to help them see the complexity that runs through even the most troubling of political impulses. By so doing, it will enrich public discussion of the horrific violence that has done so much to shape and warp our world.

FZ-231734-16Research Programs: Public ScholarsAnne Boyd RiouxReading Little Women: The History of an American Classic1/1/2016 - 12/31/2016$50,400.00AnneBoydRioux   University of New OrleansNew OrleansLA70148-0001USA2015American LiteraturePublic ScholarsResearch Programs504000504000

Research and writing of a comprehensive study of Little Women, including elements of memoir, literary criticism, historical context, and literary biography, in commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the novel's publication.

To commemorate the 150th anniversary of the publication of Little Women, I am writing a "biography of the book"—a variety of literary nonfiction that combines elements of (biblio)memoir, literary criticism, historical context, and literary biography—in order to illuminate for a nonspecialist audience how the novel was written and why it endures. The time is ripe to reassess the novel’s significance, as it appears on the Common Core Standards reading list for grades 6-8, a new film is in the works from Sony Pictures, and we appear to be on the verge of the first viable women's candidacy for president by Hillary Clinton, one of the many women who has declared that Jo March was her greatest influence growing up. (Others include Ruth Bader Ginsberg, J. K. Rowling, and Patti Smith.) This book will examine the novel's significance as a feminist and an American literary classic, examining how much girls may still need it today and arguing that it should be read by men and women of all ages.

FZ-231736-15Research Programs: Public ScholarsAndrew K. Sandoval-StrauszLatino Landscapes: A Transnational History of Urban America since 195010/1/2015 - 9/30/2016$50,400.00AndrewK.Sandoval-Strausz   Regents of the University of New MexicoAlbuquerqueNM87131-0001USA2015Latino HistoryPublic ScholarsResearch Programs504000504000

A book-length examination of how Latin American migrants and U.S.-born Latinos have created distinctive forms of city life on both sides of the Rio Grande.

At a time when immigration is at the top of the nation’s agenda, public understanding of the issue is often based upon misapprehensions about human migration and its effect on everyday life in the communities of the United States. I intend to write a widely accessible history of how Latin American migrants have settled in U.S. cities and transformed their adopted neighborhoods while at the same time rebuilding the small towns from which they came. In so doing, I hope to bring five years of scholarly research and writing into the public realm in a form that helps people understand the origins and implications of the growing interdependence of people in cities and towns across the Americas. I do so by exploring the history of the biggest immigrant barrios in two of the nation’s largest cities: Chicago’s Little Village community and Dallas’s Oak Cliff neighborhood.

FZ-231797-15Research Programs: Public ScholarsLien-Hang T. NguyenTet 1968: The Battles that Changed the Vietnam War and the Global Cold War1/1/2016 - 12/31/2016$50,400.00Lien-HangT.Nguyen   Columbia UniversityLexingtonKY40506-0001USA2015Military HistoryPublic ScholarsResearch Programs504000504000

The writing of a book chronicling the planning, unfolding, and global repercussions of the Tet Offensive, marking the event's fiftieth anniversary.

North Vietnam’s Tet Offensive of 1968 was the single most important event of the Vietnam War, yet nearly 50 years later, its history has not been fully told. This book will chronicle the political intrigue that pervaded the warring capitals on the eve of the offensive in 1967, the bloody battles fought in South Vietnam, the civil unrest in America in 1968, and the offensive’s global ramifications by early 1969. Its central purpose is to change our understanding of the Tet Offensive and its impact on the Vietnam War and the wider Cold War. Using recently declassified archival materials from Vietnam, the United States, and Europe, this book will argue that the Tet Offensive was a defeat for all sides in the Vietnam War. Far from hastening the end of American intervention, Tet 1968 served only to prolong the fighting in Vietnam and to complicate international relations during the Cold War for the remainder of the conflict.

FZ-231800-15Research Programs: Public ScholarsCraig HarlineWild Boar: The Monk Martin Luther and the Start of the Reformation1/1/2016 - 12/31/2016$50,400.00Craig Harline   Brigham Young UniversityProvoUT84602USA2015History of ReligionPublic ScholarsResearch Programs504000504000

Research and writing of a book on Luther from 1517 to 1522, the five years during which he transformed from an obscure monk to an outlaw celebrity, to be published in 2017 as part of the commemoration of the Reformation's 500th anniversary.

To help commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in 2017, I would use the NEH Public Scholar grant to write a book about Martin Luther between 1517 and 1522--thus from the time that he emerged as an obscure monk until the time that as an outlaw celebrity he came out of hiding and started putting into practice the religious reforms he had been promoting for the past several years. Plenty has of course been written about Luther, who is one of the most famous figures in western history, but I wish especially to focus on Luther the flesh-and-blood monk, rather than the monumental figure who changed the shape of western society. The book, to be written during all of 2016, will be in the form of a narrative intended for general readers, and will be published by Oxford University Press in 2017.

FZ-250036-17Research Programs: Public ScholarsJodi MagnessMasada: A New History1/1/2017 - 12/31/2017$50,400.00Jodi Magness   University of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillNC27599-1350USA2016Jewish StudiesPublic ScholarsResearch Programs504000504000

A book on Masada, the mountain fortress built by Herod the Great near the Dead Sea, and the Jewish mass suicide that took place there two thousand years ago.  Combining historical, literary, and archaeological research, the book will offer a new history of Jewish resistance to Roman rule.

Two thousand years ago, 967 Jewish rebels chose to take their own lives rather than suffer enslavement or death at the hands of the Roman army. This event occurred atop Masada, a mountain overlooking the Dead Sea that was fortified by Herod the Great. The story of the mass suicide is related by the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus. Josephus ended his account of The Jewish War – which describes the First Jewish Revolt against Rome and the destruction of Jerusalem and the Second Temple in 70 C.E. – with the fall of Masada. Whereas for Jews the revolt was a national disaster, Christians viewed the temple’s destruction as a fulfillment of Jesus’ prophecy. The Jewish resistance at Masada became a symbol of the modern State of Israel as a result of Yigael Yadin’s 1963-1965 excavations. Masada: A New History integrates historical/literary evidence with archaeological findings, yielding a gripping narrative that follows the fate of the Jews under Roman rule through the story of Masada.

FZ-250278-16Research Programs: Public ScholarsChristopher BenfeyKipling's Ark: The Making and Unmaking of an American Writer9/1/2016 - 8/31/2017$50,400.00Christopher Benfey   Mount Holyoke CollegeSouth HadleyMA01075-1461USA2016Literature, GeneralPublic ScholarsResearch Programs504000504000

A study of the Nobel-prize-winning British writer Rudyard Kipling’s engagement with the United States, especially during four years he spent living in Vermont. By focusing on Kipling's "American decade" (1889-99), the book will provide a fresh perspective on Kipling's life and works, as well as on the American Gilded Age. 

From 1890 to 1920 and beyond, Rudyard Kipling was the most popular writer in the world, winning a Nobel Prize in 1907, but his reputation has suffered a strange eclipse. “Kipling’s Ark: The Making and Unmaking of an American Writer” seeks to address a conspicuous lacuna in efforts to make sense of Kipling’s varied career. Kipling’s intense engagement with the United States—on a personal, political, and aesthetic level—has never received the attention it deserves. The central focus of my book is Kipling’s American decade, extending from 1889 to 1899, with special attention to his four-year sojourn in Vermont. Seven individual chapters, blending narrative with essayistic elaboration, will address key moments and encounters during the decade, while also offering a fresh perspective—Kipling’s own—on the American Gilded Age, the subject of four previous trade books I have published.

FZ-250283-17Research Programs: Public ScholarsJared FarmerThe Latest Oldest Tree: Survival Stories for a Time of Extinction8/1/2017 - 7/31/2018$50,400.00Jared Farmer   SUNY Research Foundation, Stony BrookStony BrookNY11794-0001USA2016History, GeneralPublic ScholarsResearch Programs504000504000

A meditation on the challenges that humans face in thinking about long spans of time, the book narrates the history of various searches for the oldest living tree in the world and explains the scientific developments that enable us to measure extreme biological age.

The oldest trees have lasted longer than any civilization. Determining the location and age of these biological record holders is a modern fixation. In my book, I’ll narrate the never-ending search for the oldest living tree in the world, as definitions of “oldest” and “living” and “tree” and “world” have changed over time. I’ll examine individual and clonal longevity, and the tools--including dendrochronology and radiocarbon dating--scientists have developed to measure extreme biological age. Along the way, I’ll ponder scientific-cum-philosophical questions: What does it mean to be young and old? Living and dead? Without minimizing the global environmental crisis, my project stresses persistence amid loss, devotion amid destruction. Arboreal survival stories are vital for contemplating the future of oldness in an anthropogenic epoch.

FZ-250287-16Research Programs: Public ScholarsCharles E. KingThe Humanity Lab: A Story of Race, Culture, and the Promise of an American Idea9/1/2017 - 8/31/2018$50,400.00CharlesE.King   Georgetown UniversityWashingtonDC20057-0001USA2016History, GeneralPublic ScholarsResearch Programs504000403200

A book on anthropologist Franz Boas (1848-1942) and the role of his jazz-age New York circle in developing the revolutionary view of social customs in "foreign" cultures that came to be known as cultural relativism. The project addresses the resulting transformation in popular attitudes about race, sexuality, and gender over the last century.

The Humanity Lab is a work of intellectual and social history centered on a small band of contrarian social scientists working in jazz-age New York. Led by pioneering anthropologist Franz Boas and including such critical figures as Margaret Mead and Ruth Benedict, this group pioneered a way of seeing the world that is only now coming into broad acceptance. Together, they were puzzling through the details of the theory they would come to call “cultural relativism.” The starting point was the idea that no social customs were advanced or retrograde, higher or lower. Each was, instead, a locally specific solution to some common human problem--an insight that stands alongside many of the great scientific advances of the 20th century. The project addresses the transformation in popular attitudes about race, sexuality, gender, and "foreign" customs over the last century and will result in a single-author book published by a commercial press and aimed at the serious general reader.

FZ-250309-17Research Programs: Public ScholarsMichael MeyerBenjamin Franklin's Last Bet: How a Founding Father's Daring Philanthropy Reshaped the American Will1/1/2017 - 12/31/2017$50,400.00Michael Meyer   University of PittsburghPittsburghPA15260-6133USA2016JournalismPublic ScholarsResearch Programs504000504000

A book on American philanthropy and founding father Benjamin Franklin, who bequeathed large sums to Boston and Philadelphia with the stipulation that they be paid in two installments only after compound interest had accrued for one hundred and then two hundred years. The book also addresses the implications of Franklin's legacy for contemporary charitable giving.

Before he died, Benjamin Franklin placed a bet on America. His will's final codicil ordered the deposit of funds to be cashed out, with the accrual of compound interest, by the cities of Boston and Philadelphia 100, then 200, years later - should they still stand. Franklin's wager, a response to a dare by a French writer urging him to show his citizens how to apply Poor Richard's example for posterity, did - remarkably - pay out, funding civic projects and vocational training. Leaving money to beautify cities and fund vocational training - usually credited to the likes of Carnegie and Rockefeller - was yet another of Franklin's inventions, and one all but forgotten today. This book will explain how Franklin was the Founding Father of American philanthropy (he also invented the matching grant), and how his example of small, targeted giving can inform the national conversation as the Baby Boom generation prepares to give away $30 trillion, the largest transfer of wealth in U.S. history.

FZ-250334-16Research Programs: Public ScholarsJeremy David PopkinThe History of the French Revolution: A New World Begins1/1/2017 - 12/31/2017$50,400.00JeremyDavidPopkin   University of KentuckyLexingtonKY40506-0001USA2016European HistoryPublic ScholarsResearch Programs50400038175.390

A new comprehensive history of the French Revolution for general readers. It will incorporate recent scholarship on contemporaneous debates concerning the rights of women and black slavery, explaining how they were essential to the Revolution while also placing the whole era in a broad global context.

"Free and Equal" will be the first comprehensive history of the French Revolution addressed to general readers in the English-speaking world in a generation. My aim is to bring this great historical drama alive for a broad audience, and to introduce them to the new perspectives on the Revolution that have emerged from the past several decades of new scholarship on the subject. In "Free and Equal," readers will encounter the debates about the rights of women and black slavery that were essential aspects of the Revolution, and see how they change our understanding of traditional topics such as the drafting of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen and the Reign of Terror. My book will treat the French Revolution in a global perspective, emphasizing, for example, that the sweeping reform plans introduced by French ministers in 1787 coincided with the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, called to deal with the perceived weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation.

FZ-250348-16Research Programs: Public ScholarsBrenda WineappleThe Impeachers and America9/1/2016 - 8/31/2017$50,400.00Brenda Wineapple   Unaffiliated Independent ScholarNew YorkNY10024-2902USA2016U.S. HistoryPublic ScholarsResearch Programs504000430500

The political circumstances of President Andrew Johnson's impeachment in 1868 are in the history books, but what was the reaction to it beyond the halls of Congress? This book explores American thought at the time about impeachment and the future of the republic, drawing on a wide range of sources including the cartoons of Thomas Nast and the writings of  Walt Whitman, Mark Twain, and reformer Lydia Maria Child.

In 1868, the House of Representatives voted to impeach the sitting president, Andrew Johnson. Never before had such an event occurred in America, and it remains an extraordinary moment about which we know far too little. My project studies the impeachment proceeding and its major participants, both for and against, in Congress and on the street, especially in the South, to determine what happened and why. To many, the outcome, acquittal by one vote, squandered the result of the recent war insofar as the war aimed to secure equal rights for all; to others it protected the executive from political chicanery. In a sense, both are true. But the country stood at a crossroads, which included a path to justice, one insufficiently argued, or that was not yet seen for what it was: fair and decent. And so impeachment's ramifications helped shape our definition of Reconstruction (itself not adequately understood) and the racial politics of the next century, and our own.

FZ-250361-16Research Programs: Public ScholarsGayle FeldmanBennett Cerf: The Man Who Published America: A Biography9/1/2016 - 8/31/2017$50,400.00Gayle Feldman   Unaffiliated Independent ScholarNew YorkNY10021-3289USA2016Cultural HistoryPublic ScholarsResearch Programs504000504000

In 1927 Bennett Cerf and a colleague founded Random House, which published many of the most prominent American authors of the 20th century, from William Faulkner to Dr. Seuss. This biography will tell the story of Cerf's life, which straddled high culture and mass entertainment: not only did he profoundly shape the course of  American publishing, he was also a celebrity thanks to his slot on the popular television show "What's My Line?"

At a time when digital disruption and globalization are reshaping book culture, presenting new challenges and new opportunities, this biography-cum-history, an independent work of scholarship, focuses on the life of Bennett Cerf (1898-1971), asserting that he was the greatest American publisher of the 20th century. It examines how Cerf’s story and that of Random House, the company he co-founded, inform American culture today. How did he build the preeminent publishing house, a living force able to fight successfully to publish Ulysses, that went on to encompass Faulkner and Dr. Seuss, Capote and Ayn Rand, Portnoy’s Complaint and Rosemary’s Baby, Knopf and Pantheon and the Modern Library? There has never been a biography of Cerf, a man who straddled culture both high and mass, through books – those he published and those he wrote - magazines, TV, Hollywood and Broadway. Why is it that this most “public” of American publishers is so forgotten today? A reassessment is long overdue.

FZ-250371-16Research Programs: Public ScholarsThomas Joseph HealySoul City -- The Lost Dream of an American Utopia1/1/2017 - 12/31/2017$50,400.00ThomasJosephHealy   Seton Hall UniversitySouth OrangeNJ07079-2697USA2016Legal HistoryPublic ScholarsResearch Programs504000504000

Soul City, North Carolina, a community founded in 1969 by civil rights leader Floyd McKissick, was designed to serve as a model of black economic empowerment. This book tells the story of the city and its eventual demise in 1979, asking what this failed experiment tells us about the struggle to provide economic opportunity for all Americans.

This is a book about Soul City, N.C., an experimental community founded by civil rights leader Floyd McKissick in 1969. Located on a former slave plantation in one of the poorest areas of the country, Soul City was designed to ease overcrowding in the ghettos of the north and serve as a model of black economic empowerment. Although supported by the Nixon Administration, the city ran into opposition from conservatives who viewed it as a form of welfarism and from liberals who worried about its separatist implications. Caught between these two forces and hampered by a weak economy, Soul City struggled to fulfill its potential and was eventually shut down in 1979. Today it is a twentieth century ghost town. My book will tell the story of Soul City’s rise and fall, exploring the political, social, and economic factors that led to its demise. It will also consider what Soul City’s failure tells us about the continuing struggle to provide economic opportunity for all Americans.

FZ-250372-16Research Programs: Public ScholarsAmy Sophia Greenberg"Mrs. President": Sarah Childress Polk and Women's Political Power before the Vote9/1/2016 - 8/31/2017$50,400.00AmySophiaGreenberg   Penn StateUniversity ParkPA16802-1503USA2016U.S. HistoryPublic ScholarsResearch Programs504000504000

The first full-length biography of Sarah Childress Polk (1803-1891), wife of United States President James K. Polk. Mrs. President explains how Polk wielded a degree of political authority unprecedented at the time for a woman, and more broadly considers the workings of female political power in nineteenth-century America.

In a period when women were both disenfranchised and supposedly “unfit” for both politics and business, Sarah Childress Polk (1803-1891) exercised an unprecedented degree of political authority as “Mrs. President,” the wife, political partner, and personal secretary of the eleventh president of the United States. My narrative biography of the first political First Lady, under contract with Alfred A. Knopf Press, is the first full-length biography about a public figure whose experience harnessing the power of submission holds the potential to transform reigning historical narratives about female power before the franchise, and the role of women in American presidential politics.

FZ-250386-16Research Programs: Public ScholarsNatalia MolinaPlace-Makers and Place-Making: The Story of a Los Angeles Community7/1/2017 - 6/30/2018$50,400.00Natalia Molina   Regents of the University of California, San DiegoLa JollaCA92093-0013USA2016Latino HistoryPublic ScholarsResearch Programs504000504000

A history of the Echo Park neighborhood of Los Angeles, the book will highlight the role of six largely Mexican-owned restaurants and their clientele (including movie stars, baseball players, boxers, activists, musicians, and artists) in building a community for immigrants in the 1950s and 1960s. The book will also address gentrification and the loss of historical memory it often entails. 

For decades, outsiders dismissed Echo Park, a neighborhood in the heart of Los Angeles, as just another barrio, dirty and dangerous. In the last ten years, gentrification has transformed it into a trendy, hipster zone. Neither label captures Echo Park’s unique reality as a crossroads where a variety of communities intersected with the wider cosmopolitan city. "Placemakers" examines a century of change in Echo Park’s diverse history. At the heart of the book is an in-depth look at six Echo Park restaurants during the 1950s and 60s that served to form community and preserve memory. "Placemakers" will open new dialogues focusing on the immigrant, urban, multicultural experience, social relations and political structures. These dialogues are urgently relevant for every American neighborhood struggling to maintain its history and identity in the face of the transformational and history-erasing force of gentrification and displacement.

FZ-250394-17Research Programs: Public ScholarsBruce J. Schulman"Are We A Nation"?: The Emergence of the Modern United States5/1/2017 - 4/30/2018$42,000.00BruceJ.Schulman   Boston UniversityBostonMA02215-1300USA2016U.S. HistoryPublic ScholarsResearch Programs420000420000

A new treatment of what historians often call  "the Progressive Era," this book shows how the meaning of American nation-building underwent a profound shift in the years 1896 to 1929--from knitting together geographic regions to knitting together diverse peoples and cultures--just as the U.S. was emerging as a world power, international economic leader, and reservoir of displaced persons from around the globe.

A reinterpretation of the early twentieth century US, the study explores the transformation of American nationhood between 1896 and 1929 -- the era in which the United States emerged as a world power, international economic leader, and reservoir for displaced persons from across the globe. Most studies of the period have focused on the so-called Progressive Era. They overlook the larger processes of national integration and transformation that the Progressives, their rivals and their successors negotiated. At the same time, the book addresses enduring questions about nation-building: both as a process -- how can people build functioning nation-states out of diverse regions and peoples -- and as a matter of concept: what are the constituents of a nation? How do people understand nationhood and how have those conceptions changed over time? The US in this period offers a telling case because nation-building shifted from knitting together regions to integrating diverse peoples and cultures.

FZ-250414-16Research Programs: Public ScholarsCostica BradatanIn Praise of Failure6/1/2017 - 5/31/2018$50,400.00Costica Bradatan   Texas Tech UniversityLubbockTX79409-0006USA2016Interdisciplinary Studies, GeneralPublic ScholarsResearch Programs504000504000

Offering a series of biographical essays on historical figures and their failures, the book explains how living with failure adds meaning to life.  The figures to be treated include Diogenes, E.M. Cioran, Gandhi, Che Guevara, and Yukio Mishima.

"In Praise of Failure" (under contract with Harvard University Press) makes the argument that, because of our culture’s obsession with success, we miss something important about what it means to be human, and deny ourselves access to a deeper, more meaningful layer of our humanity. A sense of what we are in the grand scheme of things, an openness towards the unknown and the mysterious, humility and reverence towards that which transcends and overwhelms us, the wisdom that comes from knowledge of one’s limits, the sense of personal redefining and self-fashioning that results from an encounter with a major obstacle – these are some of the rewards that a proper grasp of failure could bring about. Using a mix of phenomenology, intellectual history, biography, and cultural hermeneutics, the book proposes the notion that not only can we live with failure, we can also flourish; not only doesn’t failure kill us, but it can help us live more meaningful lives.

FZ-250420-17Research Programs: Public ScholarsSteven HorstExorcizing Laplace's Demon7/1/2017 - 6/30/2018$50,400.00Steven Horst   Wesleyan UniversityMiddletownCT06459-3208USA2016Philosophy of SciencePublic ScholarsResearch Programs504000504000

Examines the assertion made famous by French mathematical physicist Pierre-Simon Laplace (1749-1827)  that a scientific view of the universe leaves no room for God, free will, or human dignity. Starting with LaPlace but leading the reader through the work of thinkers from Galileo and Newton to contemporary philosophers of science, the book considers how theism and humanism might be reconciled with science after all.

This project will produce a book for a general audience examining the widespread assumption that the sciences threaten our humanistic self-understanding because they imply a view of the world that is deterministic and reductionistic. I frame the discussion around Laplace's assertion, when asked the place of God in his physics, that "I have no need of that hypothesis", and the idea of "Laplace's Demon."  The book examines determinism and reductionism, and the challenges they face from quantum mechanics, chaos theory, and contemporary philosophy of science, arguing that a proper understanding of science poses no threat to human dignity, free will, theism, or the possibility of miracles, drawing upon previous works by the author written for scholarly audiences but presenting them in a form geared to the educated public.