VFH Announces Fall 2017 Residential Fellowships and Upcoming Fellows Talks

Charlottesville, VA—Virginia Foundation for the Humanities (VFH) announces nine humanities scholars in residence during the fall of 2017. The Fellows, their affiliations, and their projects are as follows; summary descriptions of each project can be found in the attachment.

Alison Bell – Anthropology, Washington & Lee University

The Vital Dead: Making Meaning, Community and Personhood through Cemeteries

Keith Clark– English, George Mason University

Navigating the Fiction of Ernest J. Gaines: A Roadmap for Readers

Don DeBats – American Studies, Flinders University (Australia)

Black and White Oral Voting in the First Enfranchisement

Kristen Green*– Independent author, Richmond

Fancy Girl: An Enslaved Woman’s Journey from Brutal Slave Jail to Freedom  

Lulu Miller– Independent author, Invisibilia radio co-founder

Why Fish Don’t Exist: The Dangers of Categorization from Ichthyology to Eugenics

Nicole Maurantonio*– Rhetoric & Communication Studies, University of Richmond

Changing Hearts and Minds: The Myth of Confederate Exceptionalism in 21st Century America

Sarah Milov – History, University of Virginia

Growing the Cigarette: Tobacco in the Twentieth Century

Lynn Rainville – Research professor in Humanities, Sweet Briar College

Virginia and the Great War

Invisible Founders: How Two Centuries of African American Labor Transformed a Sweet Briar Plantation into a College

Earl Swift – Independent Author, Crozet

Tangier Island: The Long Life and Prospective Demise of a Storied Island Community

*The Library of Virginia will host Nicole Maurantonio and Kristen Green in Richmond, providing an exciting opportunity for these Fellows to examine in-depth the vast manuscript resources of the Library during their stay as scholars in residence. They will present their findings with to-be-announced public talks at the Library, write blogs, and engage with social media.

Fellows Talks in Charlottesville: Each semester, VFH invites the public to learn more about the diverse and fascinating areas of the humanities explored by our Fellows through talks featuring each Fellow in informal conversation about his or her research. The following Fellows Talks are free and open to the public:

12-1 PM at the VFH Conference Center, 145 Ednam Drive, Charlottesville:

Tuesday, September 19 – Kristen Swenson, independent author

“The Misunderstood Bible Project: On Writing about the Good Book’s Oddities”

Tuesday, October 3 – Alison Bell, Washington & Lee University

“The Vital Dead: Making Meaning, Community and Personhood through Cemeteries”

Tuesday, October 17 – Jane Barnes, independent author

“Sex and the Supreme Court: Mormons, Polygamy and the Moral Life of the Body”

Tuesday, November 7 – Keith Clark, George Mason

“Navigating the Fiction of Ernest Gaines: A Roadmap for Readers”

Tuesday, December 5 – Lulu Miller, Invisibilia co-founder & independent author

“Why Fish Don’t Exist: The Dangers of Categorization from Ichthyology to Eugenics”

“VFH is excited to have residential Fellows this fall working on projects that are not just topically fascinating, but also relevant to concerns and challenges our citizens face today,” says Matthew Gibson, VFH executive director. “We welcome this season’s Fellows and look forward to the public joining us for discussions about their work!”

About the Fellowship Program: The VFH Residential Fellowship Program supports humanities scholars and writers whose work is intellectually stimulating, imaginative, and accessible to the public, promoting greater understanding of and access to the humanities. To date it is the only residential fellowship program among all fifty-six state humanities councils. Fellowship projects explore the humanities broadly, including history, literature, folklife, and historical and contemporary cultures.

VFH Residential Fellowships are open to faculty members in the humanities, independent scholars, and others working on projects in the humanities. The annual proposal deadline is December 1. For more information, please visit

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