Grants to IU humanities scholars will enrich understanding of Indiana, American, French history

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Four Indiana University faculty members have been awarded a total of $240,000 in National Endowment for the Humanities grants for projects that examine French history, the late-life history of American modernist figures and local histories of Indiana counties.

Clockwise from top left, Hall Bjornstad, Jennifer Guiliano, Scott Herring and Rebecca Shrum.View print quality image
NEH grant recipients are, clockwise from top left, Hall Bjornstad, Jennifer Guiliano, Scott Herring and Rebecca Shrum.

Their projects are among 253 projects funded by the endowment with grants, announced Dec. 12, that total $14.8 million. The NEH, created in 1965, is an independent federal agency and one of the largest funders of humanities programs in the United States.

IU faculty members and their projects are:

  • Hall Bjornstad, associate professor of French and director of Renaissance studies at IU Bloomington: $30,000 for "The Crowning Example: Louis XIV and the Crisis of Royal Exemplarity."
  • Jennifer Guiliano, associate professor of history at IUPUI, and Rebecca Shrum, associate professor of history and assistant director of the Public History program at IUPUI: $150,000 for "Discover Indiana II."
  • Scott Herring, the James H. Rudy Professor of English, associate chair of English and affiliate professor in gender studies at IU Bloomington: $60,000 for completion of a book-length study.

Bjornstad, a specialist in early modern France, will use an NEH fellowship to research and write a book examining French king Louis XIV and the breakdown of the traditional social hierarchy in 18th-century France, looking closely at the first cracks in the foundation of the ancient régime.

With their funding, Guiliano, an expert in digital humanities, and public historian Shrum will develop new content for the Discover Indiana phone app and website, which is a project of the IUPUI Public History program as well as the Indiana Department of Natural Resources Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology and the Indiana Historical Society.

The phone app and website serve up images, brief facts and virtual tours related to state history, such as the Indiana Avenue jazz scene and the background of the Sherman Minton bridge. Guiliano and Shrum will update and expand Discover Indiana in partnership with 28 cultural heritage institutions from around the state.

Herring also received an NEH Fellowship to support his work on American modernism. He is taking up the question of "What happens when the avant-garde get old?," examining the late-life work of several prominent avant-garde figures such as Djuna Barnes and Tillie Olsen. Herring is author of two books about queer history as well as one about American hoarders.

A complete list of the current NEH grants awarded by geographical location is available on the NEH website.

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