MAA News – Update of Report on Grants to Medievalists

Perhaps you recall my report on grants to medievalists published in 2008 in the Medieval Academy News. It reviewed major foundation grants open to all scholars in North America. The good news about 15 ACLS grants to medievalists in the most recent 2010 round of competition, which was circulated to you by Director Emeritus Paul Szarmach, prompted me to review the other grants awarded since my report appeared in 2008. Medievalists have done well on many fronts, and this should inspire others to write applications. As before, I do not name individuals but I indicate some topics and geographical concentrations when it clarifies and I also name a few institutions receiving scholarly-edition grants.

Based on those who checked off “Middle Ages” on their grant applications, NEH grants were won by a number of institutions and individuals in 2010. Three individuals received research grants, one in the university and two in the college faculty and independent scholars category. Three summer stipends were awarded to medievalists. One individual medievalist received a teaching development fellowship and one received a digital humanities start-up grant. There were also two scholarly-edition grants to universities: the Fernao Lopes Translation Project and the Piers Plowman Electronic Archive Project that went to the University of Georgia and University of Virginia respectively.

One grant from NSF, the National Science Foundation, was won by a medievalist for a study of the influence of Byzantine science on twelfth-century England.

Fifteen grants in various programs were awarded by the ACLS. Medievalists received one Ryskamp Fellowship, one Digital Innovation Fellowship, two Dissertation Completion Fellowships, four New Faculty Fellowships and seven ACLS Fellowships. These are impressive results and it is gratifying to see medievalists well represented among the dissertation completion and new faculty grants, that is, the new programs undertaken by ACLS over the past few years.

The American Philosophical Society made three grants to medievalists. These were small awards but no less appreciated by recipients.

At the Institute for Advanced Study five members were medievalists from North American universities (two Canadian, three US universities). One of them is investigating Buddhism and Premodern Korean History, the others proposed European or Middle Eastern topics. One visitor in 2010 was a European medievalist. Six scholars from Europe and the Middle East may be counted as medievalists from the descriptions of their projects, providing a rich mix of interests for all concerned. IAS celebrated its 80th Anniversary in 2010.

The National Humanities Center hosted five medievalists in 2010. One of these submitted a proposal on Tamil and Sanskrit literature that spans the ancient and early medieval eras as we in the West understand early medieval. Others are investigating European or Middle Eastern history of the Middle Ages.

Three Guggenheims were awarded to medievalists. One is listed as a Renaissance proposal but since it concerns fourteenth- and fifteenth-century Italy and was won by a medievalist, it belongs on this list.

At the Getty Foundation one guest scholar, a Byzantinist, received funding for research in residence. Among the small library research grants distributed by Getty two went to medievalists, one is currently an administrator and one works in fifteenth-century Italian art history. It is difficult to identify the field of concentration of graduate students receiving grants because the titles of proposals are not given along with the names at the Getty website.

The Mellon Foundation’s program, New Directions in Scholarship, made grants to two medievalists from designated institutions (the list of eligible institutions changes year by year, so it is worth checking). The most recent information on Awards to Emeriti Faculty was for 2009 and again awardees were selected from a list of designated institutions. Those listed as receiving grants were a bumper crop of five medievalists. Medievalists shine in this competition.

I found less duplication in persons receiving grants in 2010, but the current information on websites lists those who accepted grants rather than listing those offered grants because I collected information at a different time of the year. There does appear to be greater diversity in research topics and in personnel receiving awards. I can only encourage others to write proposals, run them by qualified readers for suggestions, collect sound references, and send them in!

Susan Mosher Stuard, Haverford College

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