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NEH awards two University professors fellowship

| Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Notre Dame professors Tobias Boes and Eugene Ulrich received National Endowment for Humanities (NEH) Fellowships for the 2014-15 academic year.

Boes, an associate professor of German, said although this was not his first time applying for the fellowship, his approved research proposal explored a relatively novel part of the United States’ past.

“They [the NEH] receive an average of about 1,300 applications each year and award between 80-990 fellowships, so it is quite competitive – only about seven percent of applications are ever funded,” Boes said. “In my case, I succeeded on the third try and I attribute this success not only to the quality of the proposal, but also to the fact that I think it examines an interesting and under-appreciated facet of American history.”

Boes said he will use the fellowship to continue his research on Thomas Mann, “one of the most important German writers of the twentieth century.”

“[Mann] was once read not only in universities and by a handful of intellectuals, but very widely by ordinary Americans,” Boes said. “And it also shows that this form of US-German cultural exchange had solid policy implications, and that it impacted the course of American history. For a span of about 15 years in the 1930s and 1940s, Mann in essence was the public face of what has sometimes been called the “other Germany in the United States. He reminded American citizens that there was more to the country than the Nazis, and that national socialism didn’t speak for everyone in Germany.”

Ulrich, a specialist “in areas of the Hebrew Scriptures and the Septuagint,” was also awarded the NEH Fellowship, according to a press release.

Ulrich said the fellowship will help him complete old projects as well as start new ones.

“[The fellowship will] enable me to finish a book on the Developmental Composition of the Bible … and get a good start on another book about the text of Isaiah — part of a large, multi-scholar critical edition of the Hebrew Bible,” Ulrich said. “Both books are direct results of my research on and editions of the biblical Dead Sea Scrolls.”

According to a University press release, 51 NEH Fellowships have been awarded to Notre Dame professors in the past 15 years, “more than any other university in the country.”

“I absolutely think that the College of Arts and Letters, and especially the Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts (ISLA) does an outstanding job to foster a faculty research environment,” Boes said. “Not only are faculty members actively encouraged to apply for outside awards, there is also a tremendous amount of support available. In my case, Ken Garcia, the associate director of ISLA, took the time to read my entire proposal — as I know he does with a lot of people — and provide feedback on it. In some cases, ISLA also tries to support faculty members who have particularly meritorious projects but fail to win external funding with internal funding from Notre Dame.”

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