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CHASS Faculty Earn Prestigious Research Fellowships

Three faculty members from the Department of History have earned nationally competitive research fellowships for the coming year.

“Scholarly awards recognize the contributions and accomplishments of our faculty,” says CHASS Dean Jeff Braden. “And they influence the reputation of our college and our campus. Braden says garnering awards is not only important for the recipient, but also for enhancing the status and reputation of the college itself and its disciplines. “Awards like these help us take our place as a college whose faculty excel in original scholarship, research, and graduate education as well as contributing to undergraduate education.”

Chancellor Randy Woodson congratulates David Ambaras.
Chancellor Randy Woodson congratulates David Ambaras. Photos with chancellor by Becky Kirkland.

David Ambaras, an associate professor of history with a specialty in modern Japan,  received two fellowships for a project entitled  “Empire of Drifters: Life and Death on the Margins of Japan’s Asia.” Ambaras earned a fellowship with the National Humanities Center, where he will spend the 2014-2015 academic year. He is one of 30 Fellows selected from more than 400 applicants.  Ambaras also received a fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies. He was among nearly 1,100 applicants. The ACLS awarded some 60 fellowships, of which 20 were at the associate professor rank.

Chancellor Woodson congratulates Brent Sirota.
Chancellor Woodson congratulates Brent Sirota.

Brent Sirota, an associate professor of history with a specialty in early modern England, received a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship (NEH) at the Huntington Library in Pasadena, California, where he will spend the 2014-2015 academic year.  His project is entitled “The Globalization of British Christianity: Evangelicalism and the Empire, 1783-1848.” The Huntington is an independent research center with holdings in British and American history, literature, art history, and the history of science and medicine. History Department head Jonathan Ocko describes the Huntington as “the preeminent research center in the United States for the study of early modern England. One finds the long-term fellowship that Sirota will hold on the c.v.’s of the leading scholars in his field.”


Steven Vincent
Steven Vincent

Steven Vincent, Professor of History, has won two prestigious fellowships for the 2014-2015 academic year in support of his project, Élie Halévy: Between Socialism and Liberalism (1870-1937).  This intellectual biography will analyze the evolution of the French liberal sociopolitical tradition – that includes, most famously, Montesquieu, Constant, Tocqueville, and Taine – as it confronted the sociological and psychological breakthroughs of late 19th century thought, the trauma of World War I, and the crisis of interwar European politics.

Vincent will spend the fall as a fellow at Princeton’s School of Historical Studies, Institute for Advanced Study. The institute is one of the world’s leading centers for theoretical research and intellectual inquiry. Albert Einstein is numbered among past faculty;  former fellows include Arthur Schlesinger. He will spend the spring semester as a fellow at the Collegium de Lyon Institute for Advanced Studies. Established in 2006 with support from the French Ministry of Research, the international and interdisciplinary institute focuses on the social sciences and  links its fellows’ research to diffusion of knowledge for action.

Dean Braden points to the community effort involved with seeking out scholarly awards. “Some may think of awards as being given or bestowed, but in fact, that recognition takes a great amount of work — and teamwork at that,” he says. “Faculty members spend significant time and effort when they apply for a prestigious fellowship. But it takes a village. Their colleagues do a lot of heavy lifting — organizing materials, soliciting external letters of review and writing nominations. And  the college research office offers support every step along the way.”

Braden is pleased to see more faculty being encouraged and supported to seek out fellowships and prizes. “I want to do all I can to foster a culture where it’s routine to take the time and energy to nominate our peers for scholarly recognition. I am proud to recognize David Ambaras, Brent Sirota, and Steven Vincent. And I look forward to recognizing many more faculty in the years to come.”