August 17, 2022

Three projects net nearly $500K from NEH

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Three University of Nebraska–Lincoln projects earned funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities in the latest round of grants announced Aug. 16.

Melissa Homestead, professor of English; Max Perry Mueller, associate professor in Classics and Religious Studies; and Laura Weakly, metadata encoding specialist in the Center for Digital Research in the Humanities, are directors of the projects.

Melissa Homestead
Homestead, director of the Cather Project and author of “The Only Wonderful Things: The Creative Partnership of Willa Cather and Edith Lewis,” earned $156,581 to host a two-week summer institute in July 2023 that will bring 25 scholars from colleges and universities to Nebraska to study Cather.

Participants will “have access to unparalleled archival holdings of Cather materials and expertise of a leading center for digital humanities, and at the National Willa Cather Center in Red Cloud, they will experience landscapes and buildings represented in Cather’s fiction that function as a kind of archive.”

Additionally, the scholars will explore what is missing from the archives and Cather’s writing, specifically the forced relocation of indigenous people.

Max Perry Mueller
Max Perry Mueller
Mueller, who authored “Race and the Making of the Mormon People,” was granted $60,000 for his forthcoming book, “Wakara’s America: A Native and American History of the West,” which will explore the life of Ute leader, Wakara, and his forgotten place in American history.

“In ‘Wakara’s America,’ I argue that forgetting Wakara as a key player in western colonization and as an anti-colonist warrior is not just a sin of omission,” Mueller wrote. “It’s a cover up. To fulfill the myth of Manifest Destiny—that the West was won by fearless cowboys and cavalries and tamed by intrepid pioneers—Wakara was removed not only from the land, but also from the history books.

“My hope is that (the book) changes people’s views about the present as much as it changes their views about the past; that it implicates the living as much as it implicates the dead. Like other important, revisionist histories about settler-Indian relations, ‘Wakara’s America’ centers Native Americans’ participation in the creation of the American West.”

Laura Weakly
Laura Weakly
The digitization of historical Nebraska newspapers is continuing with new NEH funding of $275,904. Weakly will serve as project director of the Nebraska Digital Newspaper Project, Phase 5, which will aim to digitize 100,000 pages of newspaper published prior to 1963. To date, more than 400,000 newspaper pages from the state have been digitized.

This Nebraska project is part of the National Digital Newspaper Project, which is available online as “Chronicling America,” developed and maintained through a partnership between the United States Library of Congress and NEH.