Hoiem awarded NEH Fellowship

Elizabeth Hoiem
Elizabeth Hoiem, Assistant Professor

Assistant Professor Elizabeth Massa Hoiem is one of six Illinois faculty members who have been awarded National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowships for 2018. It is the third year in the last four that the Urbana campus has garnered more fellowship awards than any other single institution.

In addition to Hoiem, fellowship recipients include Donna Buchanan, a professor of music; Candice Jenkins, a professor of English; Paul Kapp, a professor of architecture; D. Fairchild Ruggles, a professor of landscape architecture; and Craig Williams, a professor of classics.

"Congratulations to our NEH Fellowship recipients. It is gratifying to see these exceptional scholars recognized for their academic achievements," said Chancellor Robert J. Jones. "These prestigious fellowships are highly competitive, and for Illinois to have six faculty members named NEH fellows this year indicates the excellence of the scholarship in humanities on our campus."

The U. of I. fellowships were among $12.8 million in grants awarded by the NEH for 253 humanities projects across the nation. The fellowship program supports advanced research in the humanities, and the recipients produce articles, books, digital materials, or other scholarly resources.

The NEH has received an average of 1,178 applications per year for fellowships in the last five rounds of competition, according to the NEH website. Over that time, it awarded an average of 80 fellowships per year for a funding rate of 7 percent, making the fellowships among the most competitive humanities awards in the country.

Hoiem received the fellowship for her book project, "The Education of Things: Mechanical Literacy in British Culture, 1752-1860." Using children's literature and material culture, this book investigates ways that children learned directly from the physical world through object learning or "the education of things." This mode of learning promised to develop what Hoiem calls mechanical literacy, a fusion of reading and writing with manual tinkering and scientific observation that was mythologized during the industrial era as indispensable for social advancement. She argues that learning-by-doing also blurred boundaries between educational play and work, and thus offered an empowering pedagogy for affluent children while justifying child labor as educational.

Hoiem teaches in the areas of reading and literacy, history of children's literature, and fantasy literature. In her research and teaching, she explores the history of technological innovations in children's literature—from early children's books and toys to contemporary applications of digital pedagogy—analyzing lesser materials discovered through archival research. In addition to her book project, she is currently investigating how information is organized in nineteenth-century children's nonfiction according to children's cognitive development and spatial orientation, as well as how children's nonfiction addresses ethical questions about who makes things, under what conditions, and for whom. Hoiem holds a PhD in English from Illinois.

The National Endowment for the Humanities is an independent federal agency, and one of the largest funders of humanities programs in the United States.

Updated on
Backto the news archive

Related News

Stodden reappointed to National Academy of Engineering Online Ethics Center Advisory Group

Associate Professor Victoria Stodden has been reappointed as a member of the Advisory Group for the National Academy of Engineering Online Ethics Center (OEC). OEC provides resources for understanding and addressing ethically significant issues in science and engineering, serving those who promote learning and advance the understanding of responsible research and practice.

Victoria Stodden

Chan joins iSchool faculty

The iSchool is pleased to announce that Anita Say Chan has joined the faculty. She also holds a joint appointment with the College of Media, where she is an associate professor of communications in the Department of Media and Cinema Studies.

Anita Say Chan

Downie to give keynote at digital scholarship symposium

Professor and Associate Dean for Research J. Stephen Downie will be the keynote speaker for Digital Scholarship Symposium 2019, which will be held on March 19 at The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK). The theme of this year's symposium is "(Re-)Mining Text: From Traditional to Digital." Co-organized by the Hong Kong Literature Research Centre and CUHK Library, the event aims to explore techniques and applications of text mining in the era of digital scholarship.

J. Stephen Downie, Professor and Associate Dean for Research

Four alumni named 2019 Movers and Shakers

Four iSchool alumni are included in Library Journal’s 2019 class of Movers & Shakers, an annual list that recognizes fifty professionals who are transforming what it means to be a librarian. Jarrett Dapier (MS '15) and Gwen Evans (MS '02) were honored in the Change Agents category; Heather Thompson (MS '13) was honored in the Educators category; and Anton Chuppin (MS '99) was honored in the Digital Developers category.

Movers & Shakers 2019

Jihan receives scholarship to attend PyCon 2019

MS/LIS student Itzel Jihan has been awarded a scholarship to attend the PyCon 2019 conference, which will be held May 1-9 in Cleveland, Ohio. The conference is the largest annual gathering for the community using and developing the open-source Python programming language. It includes tutorials, talks, events such as a poster session and job fair, and sprints, where developers collaborate on open source projects.

Itzel Jihan