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Two NC State Professors Awarded NEH Summer Stipends

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Two NC State professors have been awarded highly competitive summer stipends from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). The federal agency, which has underwritten significant humanities projects for 50+ years, funded just 11 percent of the 2020 summer stipend proposals it received.

Grant Bollmer, an associate professor of communication, will complete a book on the history of technologies used to measure human emotions. His project, titled “Measurement and Technological Inscription in the Psychology of Emotions, 1850 to the Present,” details the technologies used in laboratory experiments, which include standard scientific techniques and spiritualist toys and photographs of actors.

“Today, there are countless attempts by tech companies to develop systems of emotion recognition, often for purposes of marketing, surveillance, and social control,” Bollmer says.

His project seeks to identify how the history of emotion recognition (and “empathy” more broadly) are intertwined with a range of specific technologies used to “see” experiences that are not inherently visible, the proposal says.

Timothy Stinson, an associate professor of English, will transcribe a medieval manuscript housed at the Cleveland Public Library and produce an article interpreting its literary and cultural significance. His project, titled “Jerusalem’s Fall and England’s Rise: Josephan History, the Prose Brut, and the Framing of a Medieval English Nation,” dives into a manuscript that preserves unique abridged forms of the prose Brut and the Polychronicon, two medieval English chronicles, and contains the only extant Middle English translation of Roger d’Argenteuil’s Bible en françois.

“In preserving and carefully curating unique versions of popular texts, the compiler of this book constructed a national history that posits England’s rise as a direct counterpoint to Jerusalem’s fall and deploys the destruction of Jews and Judaism as a lens through which to comprehend England’s birth and ascent as a nation,” Stinson says.

He says his project will make three significant contributions: to provide the first full accounting of the texts contained in the manuscript; to explain the significance of the collocation of those texts; and to make a description and transcription of the manuscript available.