During the 2000s, the NEH funded 23 projects at the University of Illinois. Many of the researchers highlighted in the Past Five Years exhibit received related grants during this decade. This list includes projects like the Universtiy Library's sustainable HVAC and preservation initiativeEmblematic Online, the Illinois Digital Newspaper Project, and Trading in Cultural Spaces.


Selected Grants:

"Propoganda Laboratories: Artists, Magazines, and War in Spain, 19361939" (2002)

Principal Investigator: Jordana Mendelson, formerly of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and now Associate Professor of Spanish and Portuguese (New York University)

Visit the bilingual site here, which features many magazine covers from the University Library at Illinois.

"Magazines and War: 19361939 was an exhibition and on-line digitization project that also resulted in the organization of a symposium and two publications, one a scholarly exhibition catalogue and the other the published acts from the one-day interdisciplinary symposium. The exhibition was held in 2007 at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía (Madrid, Spain) and the MuVIM (Valencia, Spain); a second, smaller version exhibition titled Other Weapons: Photography and Print Culture during the Spanish Civil War was created for the International Center for Photography in New York, and also opened in 2007.

"The project addressed a fundamental lack in the scholarship around the involvement of artists and intellectuals in the creation of art and propaganda during the Spanish Civil War. Many scholars had devoted attention to the vibrant posters that were a hallmark of the defense against the military coup of July 1936, and were created by the various political organizations, government agencies, and trade unions that defended the Second Republic, however there was scant attention prior to this project on the proliferation and impact of the visual content, and the role of artists, in Spanish Civil War magazines. Hundreds of magazines were published during the war's three years, and while the Republican-held territories produced the greater number of magazines and related publications, efforts by the Nationalists led by General Francisco Franco were notable. One of the motivating questions at the center of this project was: Why were magazines that were unrelated to the arts featuring artists' work so vividly on their covers and as part of their editorial content? Similarly: Why during a moment of great economic and political hardship was so much financial and creative attention given to the place of visual culture in the war's periodicals? To study these questions required intensive on-site research in Spain and elsewhere as no catalogue existed on the visual content of Civil War magazines, nor were these periodicals centralized in Spain. Detailed records had to be taken on the magazines, their content, origin and duration of publication, and their visual content. The exhibitions, catalogue and on-line project for Magazines and War made an immediate impact on the recognition of the widespread contribution of artists to Civil War print and visual culture while also raising important questions about the role of artists, and the value placed upon the visual arts, during times of war and revolution.

"The NEH funding I received was a summer stipend and it was critical for me in advancing my on-the-ground research of the magazines, which spanned across several cities, archives, and libraries in Spain."

Jordana Mendelson 



"Against All England" Book Cover

"Writing from the Marches: Cheshire Poetry and Drama, 11951656" (2004)

Principal Investigator: Robert W. Barrett, Associate Professor of English and Medieval Studies

"Produced with the assistance of a 2004 NEH Summer Stipend, Professor Robert Barrett's Against All England: Regional Identity and Cheshire Writing, 11951656 argues for the localization of British literary history through the examination of a diverse set of poems, plays, and chronicles produced in medieval and early modern Cheshire (a county at the northern end of the Anglo-Welsh border). These works, including the monastic writing of St. Werburgh's Abbey, the Whitsun plays and civic ceremonies of urban Chester, the Arthurian romance Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, and the family romances of the Stanley Earls of Derby, all share in the creation and revision of England's cultural tradition, demonstrating a vested interest in the intersection of landscape, language, and politics. Against All England grounds itself in this Cestrian evidence so as to offer a dynamic model of cultural topography, one that acknowledges the complex interlacing of regional and national identities within the six centuries extending from the Conquest to the Restoration. The book's resistance to the centripetal force of London literary culture is informed by Professor Barrett's own history of living in American peripheries: upstate New York, south Texas, downstate Illinois."

Robert W. Barrett

One of the outcomes of this grant was the publication of Barrett's monograph, Against All England: Regional Identity and Chesire Writing, 11951656 (University of Notre Dame Press, 2009).



Sokoro binyi in Konwuna, March 23 1990 funeral masks beating the mamaden (grandsons)

Sokorobinyi in Konwuna, March 23 1990 funeral masks beating the mamaden (grandsons)

"Local Politics of Decolonization in West Africa" (2004)

Principal Investigator: Mahir Şaul, Professor of Anthropology

One of the outcomes of this grant was a series of publications: 

"Money in Colonial Transition: Cowries and Francs in West Africa."  American Anthropologist, vol. 106, no. 1 (2004), pp. 71-84.

"The Dominance of the Cowry Relative to the Franc in West Africa," in Values and Valuables: From the Sacred to the Symbolic, edited by Cynthia Werner and Duran Bell, pp. 101-127.  Society for Economic Anthropology Monograph Series, Volume 21. Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira Press. 2004. 

"Africa South of the Sahara," Chapter 31 in A Handbook of Economic Anthropology, ed. by James G Carrier, pp. 500-514. London: Edward Elgar. 2005

"Burkina Faso," in Worldmark Encyclopedia of Religious Practices, ed. by Thomas Riggs, volume 2, pp. 155-163. Farmington Hills, MI: Gale Publishers. 2005. 

"History as Cultural Redemption in Gaston Kaboré’s Precolonial-Era Films," in Black and White in Colour: African History on Screen. Edited by Vivian Bickford-Smith and Richard Mendelsohn, pp. 11-27, 324-326. Cape Town: Double Storey Books; Athens, OH: Ohio University Press. 2006. 

"Le fanga comme savoir et destinée: Signification sociale de la réussite personnelle au Soudan occidental."  L’Homme. Revue française d’anthropologie, no. 179 (2006), pp. 63-90.

"Islam and West African Anthropology." Africa Today, vol. 53, no. 1 (2006), pp. 2-33.

"Koranic Schools and Child Labor in West Africa," in The World of Child Labor: An Historical and Regional Survey. Edited by Hugh D. Hindman, pp. 199-201. Armonk, N.Y.: ME Sharpe. 2009. 

"Art, Commerce and Politics in Francophone African Cinema," in Viewing African Cinema in the Twenty-first Century: Art Films and the Nollywood Video Revolution. Ed. By M. Şaul and R. Austen, pp. 133-159. Athens, OH: Ohio University Press. 2010. 

"Les mages magnats de l’après-ajustement structurel," in Révoltes et oppositions dans un régime semi-autoritaire. Le cas du Burkina Faso, ed. by Mathieu Hilgers and Jacinthe Mazzocchetti, pp. 107-116. Paris: Karthala. 2010. 

"Le roi et la multiplication des pouvoirs," in La terre et le pouvoir. À la mémoire de Michel Izard, ed. by Dominique Casajus and Fabio Viti, pp. 163-179. Paris : Éditions Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique. 2012. 



"This Indian Country" book cover

"Challenging the State: American Indians and the 'Empire of Liberty,' 18002000" (20072008)

Principal Investigator: Frederick E. Hoxie, Swanlund Professor of American Indian Studies

"This was a book length narrative of American Indian leaders and intellectuals who sought to use the institutions and ideas of the American state to defend and develop their communities. It allowed me to fulfill my goal of writing a "big," synthetic work in my field and resulted in the publication of my 2002 monograph, This Indian Country: American Indian Activists and the Place They Made.

"Almost from its inception, the NEH has supported scholarship in fields that are not well represented in the academy. Women's history, the history of Native peoples, quantitative (now digital) history, labor history, the history of sexualitythese are all fields that developed without the patronage of powerful people in the profession. NEH took on that patronage and made an enormous difference."

Frederick E. Hoxie



"The Cartography of American Colonization Database Project" (20082010)

Project Director: S. Max Edelson , formerly of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and now Associate Professor of History (University of Virginia)

For more information, visit the project website.

The development of a database of 1000 historical maps illustrating the trajectory of colonization in the Americas. The database will provide a searchable introduction to the mapping of the western hemisphere in the era of European expansion, ca. 15001800.

The Cartography of American Colonization Database (CACD) is a joint effort of S. Max Edelson and the Institute of Computing in the Humanities, Art and Social Science (I-Chass) at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA at the University of Illinois. The database provides a highly searchable introduction to the mapping of the western hemisphere in the era of European expansion, ca. 15001800. Its first object is to gather and organize metadata, especially bibliographical information and links to high-resolution digital scans of historic maps, plans and charts. By featuring 1,000 Milestone Maps that illustrate colonization in the America's, the CACD will be the first universal digital cartobiliography to organize the increasing digital content available on the Web. Its innovative research modules will showcase the possibilities for map scholarship.



"Preserving Archival Records" (20082009)

Project Director: Ellen Swain, Associate Professor of Library Administration and Archivist for Student Life and Culture

Abstract: The purchase of preservation supplies and environmental monitoring equipment for the Stewart S. Howe Collection, one of the largest collections of national fraternity and sorority materials in the United States. It contains over 350 cubic feet of records, dating from 1810 to the present, including books, journals, newsletters, clippings, correspondence, photographs, and student files reflecting campus life at more than 300 American colleges and universities. The University Archives Research Center, a satellite research location of the University of Illinois Archives, requests a Preservation Assistance Grant of $5000 to purchase preservation supplies and environmental monitoring equipment. The Archives Research Center is home to the Student Life and Culture Archival Program. This project will focus on the Stewart S. Howe Collection, the centerpiece of the Program's collections concerning fraternity history and culture. With over forty years of active use, the archival materials are exhibiting severe acidification and wear and tear. Although stored in reasonable environmental conditions, the process of acid hydrolysis is taking its toll. The grant will be used to purchase pH buffered file folders and storage boxes to rehouse the Howe collection and help neutralize acid content until the University can deacidify the collection.

Visit the Student Life and Culture Archives website.