Indiana University scholars awarded NEH grants

  • Aug. 11, 2016


BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Three Indiana University faculty members have been awarded a total of $358,000 in National Endowment for the Humanities grants for projects that include summer workshops for schoolteachers and college faculty and an anthology of Japanese literature.

Theirs are among 290 projects funded by the endowment with grants, announced this week, that total $79 million. The grants were awarded to scholars, institutions and humanities organizations in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories.

Indiana University faculty members and their projects and funding amounts are:

  • Edward Curtis IV, Millennium Chair of the Liberal Arts and professor of religious studies at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, $108,969 for “Muslim American Identities, Past and Present,” a three-week seminar for schoolteachers
  • Sumie Jones, Professor Emerita in the Department of Comparative Literature and the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures at IU Bloomington, $84,751 for “Completion of an Anthology in English of Early Edo Period Japanese Literature, 1600-1750.”
  • Kaya Sahin, associate professor of history at IU Bloomington, $164,355 for “Beyond East and West: the Early Modern World, 1400-1800,” a three-week college and university institute.

Curtis will organize and conduct a seminar on Muslim American identities for K-12 teachers in the summer of 2017. It is the second such grant for Curtis, who conducted a similar program in 2015. He is the author of eight books on Islam and Muslims in the U.S. and the African Diaspora.

The purpose of the seminar is to strengthen teaching about Muslim American history and contemporary life in U.S. schools. Seminar participants, who will come from across the country, will examine dozens of Muslim American texts in addition to visiting two local mosques in hopes of learning more about what it means to be both Muslim and American. The seminar will demonstrate the essential role that the humanities play in nurturing our national life and the common good.

Jones’ project is a three-volume anthology of early-modern urban literature from Japan. The grant will support the completion of Volume I, “A Kamigata Anthology: Literature from Japan’s Metropolitan Centers, 1600-1750,” featuring popular writings of the time in Kyoto and Osaka. The volume includes not only works in standard literary genres but songs, performances, pictorial books, screen paintings and verbally transmitted stories.

The three-volume anthology also includes “An Edo Anthology: Literature from Japan’s Mega-City, 1750-1850,” published in 2013, and “A Tokyo Anthology: Literature from Japan’s Modern Capital, 1850-1920,” forthcoming in February 2017. Jones’ collaborators on the current volume are Adam L. Kern of the University of Wisconsin and Kenji Watanabe of Jiyu Gakuen University.

Sahin, a scholar of the Ottoman Empire in the early modern period, will direct an institute for 25 college and university teachers on the dynamics of global history between 1400 and 1800, the so-called early modern period. Instead of focusing solely on European societies, the institute will discuss the rise of an interconnected world through imperial consolidation, travel and commercial and cultural exchanges. At a time of rising global awareness, it will provide an opportunity to rethink the origins and development of global exchanges and interactions that connect East and West.

Co-director of the institute will be Julia Schleck, associate professor of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a scholar of early modern English literature.

Sahin also received a 2014 NEH grant for a book-length study titled "Ottoman Public Ceremonies, 1520-1566."

The National Endowment for the Humanities is an independent federal agency that funds humanities projects in fields such as art history, literature, philosophy and archaeology. Created in 1965, it awards grants three times a year to top-rated proposals as examined by panels of independent reviewers. A complete list of the current grants by geographical location is available online.

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