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Release: Dec. 20, 2000

Two UI professors win prestigious NEH grants

IOWA CITY, Iowa – Two University of Iowa professors in the College of Liberal Arts have won grants from the National Endowment for Humanities (NEH) to support their research. Benjamin Kaplan, an associate professor of history, and Laura Graham, an associate professor of anthropology, have each won $35,000 one-year research fellowship grants to support continuing work on book projects.

Kaplan said he hopes his grant will allow him to complete "Divided by Faith: A Social History of Religious Toleration in Europe, 1500-1800." "Divided by Faith" examines the practice of religious toleration and its opposite, the eruption of religious violence, in Europe in the centuries between the Reformation and the French Revolution. It seeks to explain how different religious groups managed to live together peacefully in some places, what kinds of arrangements and accommodations such coexistence entailed, and why toleration prevailed in some communities while others descended into sectarian violence.

Graham said her grant will support her ongoing effort to ethnographically document and analyze Brazilian Indians' use of discourse and forms of expressive representation in national and international arenas. The study will focus on the Xavante Indians of central Brazil, with whom Graham has conducted ethnographic research for more than 19 years. The research will document instances of actual spoken discourse, use of new media technologies (audio and video recording devices), and presentation of ritual behaviors in contexts where outsiders are the primary audience. The research seeks to determine what forms of self-representation Xavante select to present to outsiders and what factors inform their decisions.

The UI grants are part of $6.1 million the NEH awarded to 175 individual scholars in its first round of awards for fiscal year 2001.