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Grant number like: FA-56646-12

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Ronald John Zboray
University of Pittsburgh (Pittsburgh, PA 15260-6133)

Fellowships for University Teachers
Research Programs

$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2012 – 12/31/2012

The Bullet in the Book: Uses of Print Media during the Civil War

"The Bullet in the Book" will compare (via a book for scholars, students, and general readers) how, during the Civil War, Americans across four intersecting axes of social difference used print media: 1) North/South; 2) Black/White; 3) man/woman; and 4) middleclass/workingclass. To what degree did reading newspapers, books, and magazines bridge the period's fractious cultures? For evidence I summon personal accounts in mostly manuscript letters and diaries penned by about 1,000 representative "informants" who give insight into their own media-use practices and those of family and neighbors around them. To analyze this testimony, I build upon and extend the ethnographic methods I used in my co-authored, NEH-funded 2006 book, Everyday Ideas, on antebellum practices. Hoping to contribute this unique perspective on the Civil War in time for its 150th anniversary, I aim to devote myself, away from teaching, to completing the book manuscript by the end of the proposed fellowship period.