Two Named 2014-15 Graduate Student Public Humanities Fellows
Syracuse University Graduate Student Public Humanities Fellowships for 2014-2015 have been awarded to Thomas A. Guiler and Jason Luther.
The Public Humanities Fellowships are supported by a partnership between the New York Council for the Humanities and the Central New York Humanities Corridor through an award from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. These fellowships are designed to encourage humanistic scholarship in the public realm and to foster the development of skills for engaging in community-based scholarship.
Guiler is a Ph.D. candidate in American social and cultural history in the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. In particular, he studies intentional communities and communal groups, with special emphasis on the intersections among their ideals, economic production and culture. His dissertation will examine communities in the Arts and Crafts movement—Byrdcliffe, Roycroft, Craftsman Farms and Rose Valley—as unique transitional communities that marketed community, the simple life, handcraftsmanship, art and architecture as powerful forms of “progressive purchasing” to transform the harsh inequalities of modern industrial capitalism. Guiler plans to install a renewed public history program at Byrdcliffe in Woodstock, N.Y.
Luther is completing a dissertation in cultural composition and rhetoric in the College of Arts and Sciences. As a former writing center director and longtime self-publisher, Luther is interested in what multimodal, self-sponsored composing spaces can teach about identities, counter/publics, processes and pedagogies. He’s currently working toward a dissertation that surveys the process and performances of 21st-century zine authors. Luther blogs at http://taxomania.org. With the Public Humanities Fellowship, he will work toward the creation of a city-wide self-publishing festival in Syracuse.
Guiler and Luther will join a cohort of Graduate Student Public Humanities Fellows from other colleges and universities across New York State, including Cornell University, City University of New York Graduate Center, Columbia University, New York University, SUNY Buffalo and SUNY Stony Brook.
Each Graduate Student Public Humanities Fellow receives a $5,000 stipend for the academic year, as well as travel funds to attend workshops in New York City. Fellows receive methodological training in approaches to public scholarship, which is provided and paid for by the New York Council for the Humanities. Fellows work to explore the public dimensions of their own scholarship in partnership with community organizations serving public audiences. At the end of the academic year, fellows give presentations on their collaborative experiences at their home institutions.
During the program’s inaugural year (academic year 2013-2014) one fellowship was awarded at each participating institution. Syracuse University’s first Public Humanities Fellow was Benjamin Kuebrich (cultural composition and rhetoric, College of Arts and Sciences). Kuebrich leveraged his experience as co-founder of the Gifford Street Community Press for his project “Community Memoir,” which focused on fostering a culture of writing in Syracuse’s Near West Side neighborhood by facilitating memoir-writing workshops with community residents.
For 2014, the New York Council for the Humanities was awarded an Officers Grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, allowing the program to expand, doubling the number of awards. The Officers Grant will provide extra funding for this coming year’s fellows to defray the costs of attending external conferences or other travel expenses related to their projects. The grant will also fund outside evaluation of the program’s impact, and an end-of-year event for fellows and partner institutions to share their experiences with the program and plan for the future.