Enhancing Research in The Humanities and The Arts Grant 

With the goal of fostering innovation and excellence in the humanities and the arts at Purdue University, the Enhancing Research in the Humanities and the Arts program seeks to encourage faculty to aim for “breakthrough advancements” that give Purdue a national and international reputation in the humanities and the arts.

It will provide financial support for three kinds of research projects:  (a) research proposed to be conducted in the humanities and the arts by individual faculty members; (b) collaborative projects among faculty in the humanities and the arts; and (c) collaborative projects between faculty in the humanities and the arts and faculty in other disciplines at Purdue University.  In all categories, proposals should demonstrate the potential to produce externally funded programs of research.

Award Winners


Kathryn Cramer Brownell’s (assistant professor in history) research in American political history examines the intersections between media and politics in the twentieth century.  Professor Brownell's new research project, Republic of Entertainment: Cable Television and the Transformation of American Democracy, examines how, as president, Richard Nixon made telecommunications policy a priority as he battled media institutions, especially network television, that he thought were liberally biased.  To do this, he turned to a new media technology, cable television. The Nixon administration argued that the cable industry could help usher in a fundamentally new role for television in American political life as a purveyor of media diversity that was integral to democracy in a mass-mediated society.  By the 1980s, political debates over cable rates, programming, and local franchising contracts became about who could better protect access to diverse entertainment programming, the private market or government, not whether or not this access constituted a basic democratic right.  This book explores how in the end, Nixon’s political vision became a reality.

Dino Felluga is an assosicate professor in the department of English who's research is focused on British Literature, nineteenth-century literature (especially poetry), media studies, and critical theory.

Jennifer Johnson Jennifer Lee Johnson, an assistant professor in the department of Anthropology at Purdue University, productively engages the material, procedural, and ideological ambiguity generated at the littoral to examine how stories about the past inform contemporary sustainability debates, policy-making, and regulatory enforcement efforts. Her current book project, provisionally entitled: Fishwork: the Life and Death of Lake Victoria, retheorizes the intersection of gender, history, legality, and sustainability in and around Africa’s largest body of freshwater where she has conducted long-term field research since 2007. Fishwork is a book about the work that fish and fishworkers do to structure and fuel human and aquatic culture in, around, and above Africa’s largest body of freshwater. Known to English speakers as Lake Victoria, but to most who now live along its northern shores as Nyanja, this body of water has long captured the imaginations, and sometimes lives, of its residents, neighbors, and intercontinental explorers and experts of various kinds. By focusing on the ontologically different worlds that fish and fisheries inhabit – as material things, practices, and concepts that straddle the artificial divide between nature and culture – Fishwork is also a book about the possible coexistence of multiple realities that are brought into existence (and some into extinction) over time. Johnson’s research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropology, the Program in Agrarian Studies at Yale University, the Institute for the Humanities and African Studies Center at the University of Michigan, and now the College of Liberal Arts at Purdue. As an Enhancing Research in the Humanities and Arts Grant recipient for the 2016 calendar year, Johnson will dedicate her scholarly activities towards the completion of her first book. This will include employing and training an Undergraduate Research Intern throughout the 2016 Spring semester, presenting newly revised chapters of her monograph at several international conferences and workshops in the U.S. and in Africa, conducting a final phase of fieldwork in Uganda in June 2016, and enjoying several months of intensive writing.

Su'ad Abdul Khabeer is an assistant professor of anthropology and african american studies.  Professor Khabeer Su’ad Abdul Khabeer is a scholar-artist-activist who uses anthropology and performance to explore the intersections of race and popular culture. 

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