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Northwestern Historian Named National Humanities Fellow

Jonathon P. Glassman specializes in East Africa, comparative race and slavery

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May 2, 2014 | by Hilary Hurd Anyaso

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Jonathon P. Glassman, professor of history in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences at Northwestern University, has been named a fellow of the National Humanities Center for the 2014-15 academic year. His project is “A History of Barbarism: Difference and Race in African Thought.” 

Glassman specializes in 19th and 20th century East Africa and in comparative race and slavery. His first book, “Feasts and Riot: Revelry, Rebellion, and Popular Consciousness on the Swahili Coast, 1856-1888,” won the Melville Herskovits Prize of the African Studies Association. His second book, “War of Words, War of Stones: Racial Thought and Violence in Colonial Zanzibar,” combines intellectual and social history by tracing the emergence of racial discourse and the ground-level processes by which that discourse became transformed into popular violence. It was awarded the Martin Klein Prize of the American Historical Association.

Glassman’s other awards have included a Guggenheim, two Fulbrights, two fellowships from the Social Science Research Council and a membership at the Institute for Advanced Studies.

The 23rd member of the Northwestern faculty to be selected as a National Humanities Center Fellow, Glassman will join 40 other distinguished scholars from 36 institutions across the United States and four foreign countries working on a wide array of projects. 

These newly appointed fellows will constitute the 37th class of resident scholars to be admitted since the Center opened in 1978. 

The National Humanities Center, located in the Research Triangle Park of North Carolina, is a privately incorporated independent institute for advanced study in the humanities. Since 1978 the Center has awarded fellowships to more than 1,300 scholars in the humanities, whose work at the Center has resulted in the publication of more than 1,500 books in all fields of humanistic study. The Center also sponsors programs to strengthen the teaching of the humanities in secondary and higher education.