Professors awarded NEH summer research stipends

(July 19, 2019)

Jim Downs, professor of history and director of Conn’s American Studies Program, and Luis González, professor of Hispanic studies and director of Conn’s Latin American Studies Program, have each been awarded a $6,000 summer stipend from the National Endowment for the Humanities to conduct research to further their ongoing book projects.

Downs, who specializes in U.S. history, African-American studies and the history of medicine and public health, is researching how the treatment of enslaved and colonized peoples along with war casualties advanced the development of epidemiology in the 18th and 19th centuries for his third book, The Laboring Dead: From Subjugation to Science in Global History, which is under contract with Harvard University Press. Drawing on evidence from the British National Archives, the Wellcome Institute in London, and local and state archives in Malta, Spain, Ireland and the U.S., Downs investigates how scientific ideas about disease transmission developed outside of Europe and the U.S.—the traditional epicenters of medical knowledge production. His work uncovers how, in the period before the development of bacteriology and microbiology, physicians stationed throughout the world turned to dispossessed populations in order to advance medicine and science.

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