EVANSTON, Ill. --- Edward Muir, the Clarence L. Ver Steeg Professor in the Arts and Sciences and the Charles Deering McCormick Professor of Teaching Excellence, has received a 2009 Distinguished Achievement Award from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
Amounting to as much as $1.5 million each, the awards are intended to recognize the decisive contributions the humanities make to the nation's intellectual life. Only a handful of scholars receive the honor annually, and Muir is one of three who received it this year.
Muir studies the Italian city-states of the 11th to 16th centuries where the first civil societies were formed. An expert in Renaissance social and cultural history, he focuses in his recent research on the emergence of modern skepticism to ruling institutions. Muir will use a portion of the grant to write a book on this subject.
With the remaining resources, Muir plans to fund an Italian academy for graduate students. Co-directed with Regina Schwartz, professor of English, the academy will take place in Italy for one quarter every year for three years with experts from around the world. It will offer weekly workshops on the Renaissance and its historical influence.
Muir is the author, co-author or editor of nine books and an extensive array of scholarly articles. He has received the Herbert Baxter Adams Prize from the American Historical Association for the best first book on European history and has twice received the Howard R. Marraro Prize in Italian History for the best book on Italian history.
Muir is the recipient of a Guggenheim fellowship, a National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship and more than a dozen other research fellowships. He has received the Alumni of Northwestern Excellence in Teaching Award and the E. Leroy Hall Award for Excellence in Teaching from the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences.
Muir joined the Northwestern faculty in 1993.