Yaari Felber-Seligman and Seiji Shirane, historians at The City College of New York, are the institution’s latest National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) fellowship recipients. This is the fifth-year running that faculty in CCNY’s Division of Humanities and the Arts have won competitive NEH grants for innovative projects.
The awards are part of $30.9 million in grants announced by the NEH to support 188 humanities projects in 45 states and the District of Columbia in 2020. NEH chairman Jon Parrish Peede said they’d funded just 11% percent of the fellowships proposals that it received “in this highly competitive funding cycle.”
Felber-Seligman, an assistant professor specializing in African history, has been awarded a NEH fellowship to complete their book manuscript titled “Crafting New Economies: Inland Trade in Central East Africa, ca. 1st-17th Centuries.”
According to Felber-Seligman, who’s fluent in Swahili, this is the first book to detail the pre-17th century history of the Rufiji Ruvuma societies of Eastern Africa. Named after two major local rivers – these societies had neither written records nor accounts written about them before the 1600s.
Shirane, who’s also an assistant professor, is the recipient of a NEH and Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission Fellowship for Advanced Social Science Research on Japan. He will complete a book project entitled: “Gateway Imperialism: Colonial Taiwan and Japanese Expansion in South China and Southeast Asia, 1895-1945.”
“These new NEH grants will expand access to the country’s wealth of historical, literary, and artistic resources by helping archivists and curators care for important heritage collections, and using new media to inspire examination of significant texts and ideas,” said Peede.