ACLS Project Development Grants

ACLS Project Development Grants offer flexible seed funding to help advance the research agendas of faculty at teaching-intensive colleges and universities. This new program is part of ACLS’s commitment to recognize scholarly excellence from all sectors of higher education and beyond, and it is funded by our endowment, to which many individuals and institutions have contributed, including The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, ACLS’s Research University Consortium and college and university Associates, former fellows, and individuals and friends.

Read more about these awards on the ACLS Fellowship program page.

Please note: affiliations shown are as of time of award. Please click on fellows' names for current information.

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Watch "Emerging Themes and Methods of Research: A Discussion with ACLS Fellows," an annual meeting session featuring recent ACLS fellows. 

Meghan C. Andrews
Meghan C. Andrews  |  Abstract
This project offers a new account of Shakespeare’s career by arguing that his social networks and institutional affiliations strongly influenced his works. It demonstrates that the social environments Shakespeare inhabited possessed distinctive literary discourses to which he contributed, and generates new readings of his most enigmatic plays by placing them back in these original discursive contexts. The grant will facilitate completion of the manuscript by supporting research and writing during the summer and fall of 2019.

Assistant Professor, English, Lycoming College  -  Shakespeare's Networks

Tim Palmer
Tim Palmer  |  Abstract
“Cinema Marianne” is a revisionist study of female participation in French cinema from its origins to the present day. It explores the overlooked cultural agency of women working across all strata of French film culture—as archivists, journalists, teachers, producers, social activists, writer-directors—to reveal neglected catalytic precedents to advance the contemporary media enfranchisement of women on- and off-screen. The grant will permit the completion of a period of archival fieldwork and interviews in Paris.

Professor, Film Studies, University of North Carolina Wilmington  -  Cinema Marianne: A New History of Women in the French Film Ecosystem

Robert R. Clewis
Robert R. Clewis  |  Abstract
This project explores the development and sources of Kant’s aesthetics by looking at his anthropology and logic lectures. It also explores how his earlier ideas might contribute to recent work on topics such as aesthetic judgment, the fine arts, the sublime, disgust, and humor. This grant will support summer research in preparation for a trip to archives in Germany.

Professor, Philosophy, Gwynedd Mercy University  -  Before 1790: The Origins of Kant's Aesthetics

Salvatore Pappalardo
Salvatore Pappalardo  |  Abstract
This book shows how literary modernism challenged the rise of xenophobic nationalism in early twentieth-century Europe. Electing the Phoenicians, rivals of Greeks and Romans, as the foundation of a more inclusive Mediterranean Europe, modernists in Trieste subverted a widespread nationalist rhetoric. They ascribed to Trieste the role of cultural mediator, seeing the port city as an urban experiment for a future United States of Europe. The grant will support writing during summer 2019.

Assistant Professor, English, Towson University  -  Modernism in Trieste: Habsburg Phoenicians and the Literary Invention of Europe, 1870-1939

Mary Harvey Doyno
Mary Harvey Doyno  |  Abstract
“Catherine’s Daughters” offers a history of Catherine of Siena’s community of female lay penitents, as well as an exploration of how the Dominican Order’s promotion of Catherine both produced a revisionist history of lay female religious life and also labeled any religious vocation taken up outside of church supervision as suspect. The grant will support archival research in Italy.

Assistant Professor, Humanities and Religious Studies, California State University, Sacramento  -  Catherine’s Daughters: Female Penitents, Thomas Caffarini, and the Creation of the Dominican Third Order

Dana E. Powell
Dana E. Powell  |  Abstract
“States of Matter” supports collaborative research with Diné (Navajo) community experts, exploring lived experiences of climate change and possibilities for transition through an examination of human-water relationships in the wake of energy extraction and related toxicities. Grounded in critical energy studies and environmental humanities, the project reveals how water figures as life in everyday practice and contributes to decolonial approaches to Diné resilience. This grant will support anthropological research and ethnographic fieldwork in the Navajo Nation.

Associate Professor, Anthropology, Appalachian State University  -  States of Matter: Water’s Sovereignties and Subjectivities in the Navajo Nation

Deborah L. Durham
Deborah L. Durham  |  Abstract
In Botswana people are connected through both sentiments and material exchanges, which link giver and receiver for good or harm. Indeed, sentiments and things are bound together, and bind people. Managing sentiment, people, and things is part of achieving maturity. This project explores how an explosion of inexpensive material goods has shaped new ways of managing sentimental attachments and maturities. The grant will support field research in Botswana, which will enrich a book in progress.

Lecturer, Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminal Justice Studies, Longwood University  -  Affective Materialism: Sentiments, Materialism, and the Developers of New Maturities in Botswana

Maria del Mar Rosa-Rodriguez
Maria del Mar Rosa-Rodriguez  |  Abstract
This book project focuses on Muslim and Jewish minorities in early modern Spain, arguing that religious hybridity is a revolutionary alternative to oppression and assimilation. It recovers a forgotten archive of Aljamiado manuscripts, which provide a unique case study and suggest a truncated (or interrupted) modernity that is relevant today. Decoding these texts helps envision other possible worlds by putting formerly marginalized peoples and cultures at the center of the discussion. The grant will support summer funding and research materials.

Associate Professor, Hispanic Studies, University of Puerto Rico at Cayey  -  Truncated Modernities: Religious Hybridity of Muslims, Jews, and Christians in Early Modern Spain

Marion Hourdequin
Marion Hourdequin  |  Abstract
Fully considering questions of environmental ethics requires putting the interconnectedness of human beings with one another and with the broader world at the center of ethical analysis. Drawing on philosophical traditions from early Confucian texts to contemporary feminist ethics, this book develops a relational approach to environmental ethics that focuses on the character and quality of human relations to one another and the natural world. The grant will support the research and writing of the book’s first chapter.

Associate Professor, Philosophy, Colorado College  -  Moral Ecologies: A Relational Approach to Environmental Ethics

Emily Berquist Soule
Emily Berquist Soule  |  Abstract
“The Atlantic Slave Trade and the Rise and Fall of the Spanish Empire” is a 500-year history of the transatlantic slave trade in the Hispanic world. The book explores how the Atlantic slave trade stood at the creation and the unraveling of the Spanish Empire, from Spain’s first overseas explorations to the Canary Islands in the early 1400s through the loss of its final American colonies in the late nineteenth century. The grant will support a writing period in the summer of 2019.

Professor, History, California State University, Long Beach  -  The Atlantic Slave Trade and the Rise and Fall of the Spanish Empire

Jeremy LaBuff
Jeremy LaBuff  |  Abstract
The lens of indigeneity provides a complex understanding of the ethnic and cultural history of Hellenistic Anatolia and challenges the predominant scholarly models of Hellenization and acculturation, which reveal an anachronistic nationalistic bias. By privileging evidence containing internal Anatolian perspectives, this project explores how indigenous communities could negotiate with imperial and hegemonic powers to shape their political, social, and cultural lives, accommodating Greco-Macedonian culture without sacrificing local traditions. The grant will support archival research and participation in academic conferences.

Assistant Professor, History, Northern Arizona University  -  Ethnics of Ambiguity: An Indigenous History of Hellenistic Anatolia

Jesse Tarbert
Jesse Tarbert  |  Abstract
After WWI, corporate elites and their Republican allies became the leading proponents of central power and national authority in debates about the institutional structure of the federal government. This project traces the progress of their agenda and shows how it was foiled by defenders of local control and white supremacy. This grant will support archival research in New York, Princeton, NJ, and Charlottesville, VA, as well as participation in scholarly conferences.

Visiting Assistant Professor, History, Loyola University Maryland  -  When Good Government Meant Big Government: Business Influence, Civil Rights, and the Quest to Strengthen the American State, 1918-1933

Davina C. Lopez
Davina C. Lopez  |  Abstract
Emilie Grace Briggs (1867-1944), the daughter of infamous biblical scholar Charles Augustus Briggs (1841-1913), was also a biblical scholar and historian of religion. This project uses archival collections to photograph, transcribe, and publish Briggs’s 1920 dissertation, in which she used a religious history approach to examine gendered leadership in early and medieval Christianity. The grant will be used to further work on a critical edition, which will make this neglected work available to a wider audience.

Professor, Religious Studies, Eckerd College  -  Emilie Grace Briggs and Women Leaders in Early Christianity: A Study in Historical Dynamics

Pamela Zinn
Pamela Zinn  |  Abstract
This monograph concerns animals and philosophy of mind in Lucretius’ “De rerum natura.” Most scholarship assumes animals’ irrationality and thus dismisses them as poetic imagery or anthropocentric comparanda. This study establishes that animals are thoroughly integrated into Lucretius' philosophical argument and didactic program. They are psychophysiological wholes, like humans, and they merit ethical treatment and serve as moral exemplars in ways that prefigure contemporary debates. The grant will support a course buyout for research and writing during Spring 2020.

Assistant Professor, Classical and Modern Languages and Literatures, Texas Tech University  -  Lucretius On Animals

Anoop Mirpuri
Anoop Mirpuri  |  Abstract
This project examines the relation between US prison growth, neoliberalism, and the construction of the prisoner in liberal public culture since the late 1960s. It offers a cultural materialist history of the rise of prison literature as a category of scholarship and publication. In the process, it elaborates a new conceptual framework for reading the archive of un-freedom called “abolitionist cultural studies.” The grant will support the manuscript’s development during the summer of 2019.

Associate Professor, English, Portland State University  -  Criticism and Interpretation in the Age of Mass Incarceration