The Library Scholars Grant Program was established in 1985 by the 50th anniversary gift of members of the Class of 1935, and the class has been continuously supportive of this fund for the past 29 years. This program supports access to unique collections of information around the country and the world for untenured and recently tenured Purdue faculty in all disciplines, from the West Lafayette, Calumet, Fort Wayne IUPUI and North Central campuses. The grants cover the expenses associated with the cost of transportation, lodging, meals and fees charged by the library or the collection owner.
Recipients for this year will be recognized at a luncheon on March 26. Last year's recipients, Jennifer Foray and Jonathan Swarts will make presentations about how the grant helped their research. On April 15 Mita Choudhury and Rebekah Klein Pejsová will make presentations in the Swaim Instruction Center from 2:30–3:30 p.m. about how the grant helped their research.
Alicia C. Decker, assistant professor of History and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, was awarded $5,000 to travel to the Truth and Reconciliation Records Collection at the National Archives Repository in South Africa to support research on her new book Public Secrets: A Gendered History of Enforced Disappearance in Post-Colonial Africa. Using transcripts from various truth commissions and commissions of inquiry from across the continent, as well as other types of archival and ethnographic data, this project explores the ways in which gender influences patterns and experiences of forcible abduction by the state. Decker is particularly interested in looking at disappearance, and other forms of political violence, as gendered scripts that are enacted by the state in order to maintain a certain performance of power. She is also curious about the ways in which various communities “read” these scripts, and how they engage with such knowledge, across space and time. Her study will involve comparative research in multiple African countries, including South Africa, Uganda, Nigeria, and Algeria. The Library Scholars Grant will support the first phase of research in South Africa, which involves analyzing videos of testimony given during the Human Rights Violations Hearings in 1996 and 1997. Decker will conduct this research during her sabbatical in the fall.
Michael Johnston, assistant professor of English, was awarded $5000 to travel to the United Kingdom in the summer of 2014 to research the reception history of medieval English literature. He will be working in the British Library in London and the college libraries of Cambridge University, which house the majority of the surviving manuscripts of William Langland’s Piers Plowman, a fourteenth-century dream vision about the decay of society and the hope for renewal; The Prick of Conscience, a fourteenth-century poem about sin and confession; and two short poems by the monk John Lydgate: “The Dietary,” about the relationship between right eating and right living, and “Stans puer ad mensam,” about how young boys should behave around their social betters. His project considers the active role that scribes played in creating literature for consumers. Thus, he will be examining the surviving copies of each text, considering what the page layout, decoration, and type of script can tell us about readership in fourteenth- and fifteenth century-England. This research represents the final stages of his second book project. He received a Library Scholars Grant in 2009 for his first book project, which also supported archival research in the United Kingdom. That book is due out soon with Oxford University Press.
Silvia Z. Mitchell, assistant professor of European history, was awarded $5,000 to travel to Spain to conduct research at the Archivo Histórico Nacional in Madrid and the Archivo General de Simancas in Valladolid for her book-length manuscript, “Spain under Mariana of Austria: Court, Dynastic, and International Politics in Seventeenth-Century Europe.” The project examines the political trajectory of Queen Mariana of Austria (1634-1696), whose life intertwined with major political and diplomatic events in Europe. As the oldest daughter of Holy Roma Emperor Ferdinand III and Empress Maria, and as queen consort of Philip IV of Spain, Mariana played a central role in the politics of family and state since birth. The sole ruler of the Spanish Empire during the minority of her son, Carlos II, from 1665-1677, she wielded extensive national and international influence. Besides examining the nature of female rule in Spain and among the Habsburgs, this study pays substantial attention to policy matters in order to establish the significance of Mariana’s political and diplomatic strategies on the European stage and across the globe. The analysis thus makes extensive use of the state council deliberations, which were presided over by the queen herself, who often commented on the discussions and issues raised. These documents, held in boxes or legajos that contain hundreds of hand-written notes duly recorded by the appointed secretary, reveal the power structures of Mariana’s regime, the decision-making process that developed during her regency, and the significance of her policies for Spain and Europe in the seventeenth century. The Library Scholars Grant will allow Mitchell to examine the state council deliberations from 1670-1675, the second phase of Mariana’s foreign policy when Spain, under her leadership, intervened in the Dutch War (1672-1678) and negotiated a Quadruple Alliance designed to limit the French king, Louis XIV’s expansionist policies.
Yvonne Pitts, assistant professor of History, was awarded $ $3,380.00 to continue research for her article, “Vile Characters” and Property Law: Regulating Prostitution and Creating Property in Civil War Era Nashville, 1860-1868” which examines the short-lived system of regulated prostitution in wartime Nashville, Tennessee. Her research explores how legal regulation of labor and property simultaneously created new legal zones of coercion and independent action in Nashville’s vice economy. After completing the article, Dr. Pitts plans to integrate the research into the larger book project, tentatively titled “The Privateness of Property: Escheats, Nuisances, and American Liberty, 1820—1880." She will conduct two weeks of research during summer 2014 at the Nashville Public Library-Metropolitan Government Archives (NPL) in Nashville, Tennessee. This archive holds essential records describing daily governance, law enforcement, military policy, civilian responses to the military occupation, and sources on the exploding vice economy.
Michael I. Zimmer, assistant professor of Molecular Microbiology & Immunology at Purdue Calumet, was awarded $2,742 to travel to Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, to conduct research on the academic career and personal life of John Franklin Enders. In 1954, John F. Enders, Thomas Weller and Frederick Robbins were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for the development of techniques to cultivate poliovirus, work which led to the generation of vaccines to combat poliovirus infection. Although primarily known for his contributions to polio research, Enders’s work also significantly impacted the development of treatments for other diseases, including measles and mumps. Indeed, the first vaccine available to combat measles virus infection came from Enders’s laboratory. The Sterling Memorial Library at Yale University houses the John Franklin Enders Papers, a unique collection of correspondence, writings, and laboratory notebooks which document Enders’s contributions to the field of microbiology. The primary objective of this trip is to review this material to collect data on Enders’s lesser-known scientific contributions. Of particular interest is his work on measles virus, as well as novel antiviral compounds produced by fungi and bacteria.