Announcing 2022-2023 NEH Postdoctoral Fellows

 

F. Eliza Glaze
Professor, Department of History
Coastal Carolina University

Medicine in the Making: Reading Hippocrates and Galen in Early Salerno and Monte Cassino

 

Medicine in the Making examines the creation of a canon of seven texts translated from Greek and Arabic into Latin, and known throughout medieval Europe as the "Articella." Since the pioneering work of Paul Kristeller (Columbia University, d. 1999), we have understood that the "Articella" came together at Salerno and was taught there systematically after c. 1150 CE. The "Articella" then became the core curriculum at Europe’s first medical schools. But until now, the creation and earliest evolution of that canon and how it was first taught has not been examined. Recent innovations in palaeography, the identification of our oldest surviving manuscripts, and the recent discovery of several draft versions produced at Monte Cassino during the very creation of the "Articella" in the eleventh century now make it possible to trace the construction of this curriculum in its earliest decades, and to observe first-hand how the texts were taught in early Salerno.
 

Hiro Hirai
Research Associate, Center for Science and Society
Columbia University

Pseudo-Paracelsus: Forgery and Early Modern Science and Medicine

 

The production of forgeries under the name of Paracelsus (1493/94–1541) was an integral part of the diffusion of the Paracelsian movement in early modern Europe. It contributed much to the emergence of his legendary image as the patron of alchemy and occult philosophy. A strange treatise, "On the Nature of Things" (Basel, 1572), was the most successful writing among these forgeries. In my project, I will compare the ideas expounded in this text with those found in an extremely popular series of natural philosophical and magical texts falsely attributed to the medieval scholastic, Albertus Magnus (1200–1280): "On the Wonders of the World," "On the Powers of Plants, Stones and Animals," and "On the Secrets of Women." Through an in-depth comparative study, I will explore their points of contacts, similarities and differences in terms of style, content and readership.
 

Rana Hogarth
Associate Professor, Department of History
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Measuring Miscegenation: Eugenic Race-Crossing Studies and the Legacies of Slavery
 

Interracial sex between Blacks and whites predated the formation of the United States, yet early twentieth-century eugenicists framed it as a newly emerging threat. They struggled to identify “mulattoes” for study due to heavy taboos around racial intermixture, leading some, like Charles B. Davenport, to look to former slave colonies of the Anglophone Caribbean for research subjects. My current book project, Measuring Miscegenation: Eugenic Race-Crossing Studies and the Legacies of Slavery examines eugenicists’ efforts to define people of African descent as inherently unfit. As I argue in my book, to study the racial fitness of “mulattoes” was to grapple with a “racial hybrid” whose existence was tethered to slavery. In sum, slavery and its afterlives laid the groundwork for the development of a kind of anti-Black race science that would go on to inform eugenicists’ research trajectories and give credence to the enduring and faulty idea that race is biology.

 

Adam Johnson
Ph.D., Department of History
University of Michigan

Information Control and Indigenous Politics of Documentation in the American Southwest

 

My book project examines the shifting relationships between white ethnographic fieldworkers and Pueblo and Navajo communities in the American Southwest around the documentation of sensitive information. By contrasting Anglo universalist conceptions of knowledge with Pueblo and Navajo epistemic systems, which both have restrictions on the free flow of information (though in quite different ways), I show that Indigenous practices of information control constrained ethnographic fieldwork methods. In response, Southwesternists regularly dropped the emerging gold-standard of participant observation to pursue Indigenous knowledge that was purposefully withheld from them, adopting tactics that isolated and coerced individual informants. The consequences of ethnographic extraction were complicated: for many communities, not only was sacred knowledge profaned when outsiders learned of it, but the publication of such information risked that even unsanctioned members of their own communities might learn things about which they were supposed to be ignorant.