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Release: Dec. 17, 1999

Three UI professors win NEH fellowships

IOWA CITY, Iowa – Three University of Iowa professors won research fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) in its latest round of grants. Paula A. Michaels and Michel Gobat, both assistant professors of history, and Janet G. Altman, professor of French and Italian, have each been awarded $30,000 fellowships to carry out research projects.

Michaels will work on a book, "Curative Powers: Medicine and Empire in Soviet Kazakhstan." Her book explores the political, social, and cultural meanings of the Communist party's and Soviet state's campaign to expand the health-care system in the Central Asian republic of Kazakhstan from the October Revolution through the death of Joseph Stalin. The book will reconstruct how the Soviet state harnessed medicine to extend its imperial power.

Gobat will build on his dissertation research to complete a book, "Against the Bourgeois Spirit: The Nicaraguan Elite under U.S. Imperialism, 1910-1934," which details how the U.S. occupation of Nicaragua transformed the power and identity of the country's elite. In addition to writing and revising his manuscript, Gobat will spend two months in Nicaragua collecting additional source material.

Altman will work on a project titled, "Letter Books in France, 1539-1900: The Cultural History of a Genre," which studies the little-known role that writers' correspondences and letter manuals played in the formation of individual and collective identity in France. From 1539-1900, published letter collections were an important genre in elite culture, schools, and popular literature, whether they were used as models of artistry, rhetoric, pragmatics, or basic literacy. Altman will use her fellowship to return to archives in Europe and the U.S. whose holdings are key for this study and to write chapters for a book on this topic.

These three fellowships were among more than $9.7 million in grants and fellowships the NEH awarded to 172 scholars and 14 colleges and universities.