The Library's Office of Scholarly Programs has announced the results of the first Mellon Foreign Area Fellowship competition. The postdoctoral fellowships, made possible by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, were designed to support research that uses the Library's unrivaled foreign language and area-studies collections. The fellowships will help less well established American scholars as they embark on a second major research topic following their dissertations.
Stipends of $3,000 per month, for periods of six or nine months, were awarded to Jeffrey M. Bale, Ann Farnsworth-Alvear, Cheryl Haldane, Thomas E. Keirstead, and Frans Coetzee and Marilyn Shevin-Coetzee (who will share their award).
"These fellowships will provide needed support to promising scholars at an important time in their careers," said Prosser Gifford, director of the Office of Scholarly Programs. "The fellowships will promote use of the Library's rich cultural resources, assembled from around the globe, while at the same time strengthen American expertise in the interpretation of foreign-language materials," he added.
Having fellows in residence will also enhance the knowledge and skills of the Library's own staff in research trends and topics, through occasional gatherings in which fellows will share their insights and experiences.
The fellowships were first announced in January 1997. In the three months that applications were accepted, the Office of Scholarly Programs fielded more than 300 inquiries about the program and received more than 70 applications. "The awarding of this year's fellowships was particularly difficult," Mr. Gifford observed, because aside from establishing new procedures and literature for such a program, "the quality and variety of applications made the selection daunting. Nearly all applicants presented qualifications and proposals worthy of serious pursuit and support."
All applications were reviewed for basic criteria, such as U.S. citizenship or residency, holding a Ph.D. degree and being at an appropriate career level. Applications were then grouped into area of language specialty and/or geographic region and carefully reviewed by specialists familiar with both the subject matter and the library resources proposed for use. Then, other scholars reviewed projects from all of the regions and made the final determination of the awards. Along with such critical factors as the originality and significance of the proposed project, the extent to which the special foreign-language resources of the Library of Congress would be used was also considered. The selected applications proposed research that embodies most fully the purposes and goals of the program.
The research project of Jeffrey M. Bale (Lewis and Clark College, Portland, Ore.), "Codename 'Gladio': Clandestine Anti-Communist Stay-Behind Networks and Paramilitary Violence in Cold War Europe, 1950-1990," examines the network of underground guerrilla organizations set up in several European countries during the 1950s. He will explore the historical connections between these groups, particularly in Belgium, Italy, Greece and Switzerland, and later anti-constitutional political activities affecting domestic European politics, using, among other sources, legal inquiries and parliamentary commissions from several countries.
Frans Coetzee and Marilyn Shevin-Coetzee (George Washington University, Washington, D.C.) applied together for a single fellowship. Their research project examines the consequences of the 1914-18 war for civilian populations in Germany and Britain: "Defining the Nation: Citizenship, Nationalism and War in Germany and Britain, 1914-19." At the Library, they will be working with wartime pamphlets, periodicals, posters, newspapers, judicial decisions and parliamentary debates.
Ann Farnsworth-Alvear (University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia) plans to focus on the Colombian rainforest region of the Choco, where black subsistence farmers have successfully used ecological arguments to sustain their rights to land. Her research will develop "The Practice of Community in the Colombian Choco." Research in Colombian and related materials (including legal documents, ethnographic films and historical maps) will be coordinated with additional field research.
Excavation of a mid-18th century shipwreck off the Egyptian Red Sea coast provides a unique opportunity for Cheryl Haldane (Institute of Nautical Archaeology, Texas A&M University, College Station) to examine the international, seaborne trade system that stretched from Istanbul to China. "Red Sea and Western Indian Ocean Trade in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries" will use consular reports, travel accounts, cartographic resources and to some extent contemporary Ottoman and Arabic documents to place in a broad context the detailed archaeological record provided by the ship, its crew and its cargo.
The research of Thomas E. Keirstead (State University of New York at Buffalo) is an extended examination of Japan's medieval period. In "Reclaiming Japan's Past: Reinventing the Middle Ages, Reinventing Asia," he will examine the varying interpretations of the "middle ages," a concept developed in Japan in the 1890s. He will contrast in particular the masculine and military view of medieval Japan portrayed earlier with more recent emphases on heterogeneity and ties with China and Korea. A wide range of Japanese historical writing will be used, including such materials from popular culture as film, television and best-selling literature.
Each fellow will present the results of his or her research to an invited audience during the course of the fellowship.
Competitions will be held again in 1998 and 1999. Materials about the 1998 competition should be available by late summer 1997.