Indiana University scholars awarded National Endowment for the Humanities grants

  • July 31, 2014


BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The National Endowment for the Humanities has awarded nearly $1 million to Indiana University scholars for projects focusing on the writings of European figures of the 13th and 14th centuries and the study of American Plains Indians and Muslim American identities.

Principal investigators for the grants are Douglas Parks, H. Wayne Storey and Rega Wood, all of the College of Arts and Sciences at Indiana University Bloomington; and Edward Curtis IV of the School of Liberal Arts at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.

The IU awards are among $34 million in grants for 177 humanities projects announced last week by the endowment. They will support traveling exhibitions, the creation of digital research tools, the publication of scholarly editions, professional development for teachers and other scholarship.

About the Indiana University projects:

Edward Curtis IV, Millennium Chair of the Liberal Arts and professor of religious studies at IUPUI, was awarded $114,438 for “Muslim American Identities, Past and Present,” a three-week seminar for 16 school teachers on the history and cultures of Muslims in the United States.

The seminar will take place at IUPUI in the summer of 2015. Participants will study primary-source documents, hear from visiting experts, make field trips to two local mosques and use the resources of the IUPUI University Library to complete individual research projects.

Curtis said the primary goal is to nurture an environment of deep intellectual engagement and active learning in which school teachers can answer a key question of the current historical moment: What does it mean to be both Muslim and American?

Douglas Parks, professor of anthropology and associate director of the American Indian Studies Research Institute at IU Bloomington, was awarded $275,000 for “Historical Voices of the Plains Earth Lodge Peoples II.”

The three-year project involves preparation for print and digital publication of 15 volumes of previously unpublished collections of linguistic texts and ethnographic descriptions compiled in the late 19th and early 20th centuries by tribal scholars in collaboration with anthropologists. The project encompasses four tribes: Pawnee, Arikara, Mandan and Hidatsa.

Parks is a scholar of anthropological linguistics whose research focuses on the documentation of American Indian languages of the Great Plains. His scholarship includes the study of historical records of languages and the combination of language research with the writing and interpretation of history.

H. Wayne Storey, professor of Italian, was awarded $275,000 over three years for “The Petrarchive Project: An Online Edition of 366 Poems by Petrarch.” The project is a collaboration with John A. Walsh, associate professor of library and information science in the School of Informatics and Computing.

Originally funded in 2013 with an IU New Frontiers grant, the NEH project focuses on the preparation for publication of a digital, “rich text” edition of Petrarch’s Rerum vulgarium fragmenta, also known as the Canzoniere, that incorporates the complex visual poetics and book design that were integral to the poet’s techniques and the meaning of his poems. The edition will include an apparatus of variants, manuscript facsimiles, commentary and supporting material in English and Italian.

While known as the poet credited with developing forms such as the sonnet and the sestina, Petrarch was also a scholar whose long years of study and annotation of classical works gave him unique views on the preparation and material construction of books.

Rega Wood, professor of philosophy at IU Bloomington, was awarded $310,060 for “The Richard Rufus Project,” an edition of the works of a brilliant and influential but self-effacing 13th-century philosopher. The three-year grant will support the preparation for online and print publication of Rufus’ works. 

Richard Rufus introduced the teaching of Aristotle's metaphysics and natural philosophy at Paris, the heart of the 13th-century Western intellectual world. Rufus not only outlined Aristotle's arguments but also challenged him. In so doing, Rufus influenced the great Scholastic philosophers who followed him. His influence can be seen, for example, in the works of Roger Bacon, Albertus Magnus, Thomas Aquinas and John Duns Scotus.

After they were lost for 600 years, Rufus' physics lectures were published by the British Academy in the 2003 Richard Rufus Project edition. In 2006, the Richard Rufus Project began publishing critical editions online, starting with Rufus' psychology lectures. In 2014-17, the project will complete its edition of the approximately 1,500-page lectures on metaphysics Rufus gave before 1238.

About the National Endowment for the Humanities

Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. The NEH has also published a complete list of the recent grants online.

Edward Curtis IV

Edward Curtis IV

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Douglas Parks

Douglas Parks

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H. Wayne Storey

H. Wayne Storey

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Steve Hinnefeld