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Release: Immediate

Four UI professors win prestigious NEH fellowships

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Four University of Iowa faculty members are among the recipients of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities announced this week. The NEH awarded $30,000 each to Kathleen Diffley, associate professor of English; Henry Horwitz, professor of history; Leslie Schwalm, associate professor of history; and Katherine Tachau, professor of history.

Only three other universities in the country had four or more winners in this NEH competition. Both Harvard and Indiana Universities had four awardees and the University of Michigan had six award winners.

These awards are among $8.7-million in grants and fellowships from the NEH to 173 individual scholars and 10 colleges and universities nationwide. In the last several years, competition for funding from the national endowments has grown fiercer than ever as Congress has slashed the budgets for both the NEH and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Shelton Stromquist, UI history department chair, and Dee Morris, UI English department chair, praised their faculty members' achievements.

"For three members of a single department to win prestigious NEH fellowships in one year is truly a remarkable achievement," Stromquist said. "It is testimony to the very high quality of their scholarship. But their individual achievement also speaks to the commitment of this department, the College of Liberal Arts and the university to fostering an environment in which nationally-acclaimed research nourishes a high standard of undergraduate and graduate teaching."

Both Stromquist and Morris said the award-winning scholarship in their departments will not only enhance the national and international reputation of the UI, but will also enrich in significant ways the teaching of Iowa students.

Morris said, "This is a real honor and tribute to Professor Diffley, an excellent scholar, an exemplary teacher, and an academic leader."

Diffley will use her NEH award to complete the second book in a projected three-volume study entitled "Making War Civil." The first book in the series was also funded by an NEH award. Her project is titled, "The Fateful Lightning: Civil War Stories and the Literary Marketplace, 1861-1876."

Horwitz will use his NEH fellowship to do research on English legal history of the period 1689 to 1760 for a volume he has been commissioned to write in the "New Oxford History of the Laws of England."

Schwalm's project is titled, "Redefining the Battlefield: Slavery and Freedom on a Midwestern Home Front during the Civil War." Having written a prize-winning study of the transition from slavery to freedom in South Carolina, Schwalm has begun a major social history of Northerners' --including Iowans'--participation in the dismantling of slavery. The process of emancipation directly affected their lives and their communities in ways that have not been fully examined and studied.

Tachau will complete the research and writing for a book titled, "Bible Lesson for Kings: Scholars and Friars in 13th-Century Paris and the Creation of the BIBLES MORALISEES," about four early-13th century illuminated manuscripts. She plans to study the roles these manuscripts may have played in shaping French royal policy toward teaching at the nascent University of Paris and toward nonbelievers in the French realm.