Fagan Wins National Endowment for Humanities Fellowship to Nation's Oldest Cultural Institution

Thursday, March 13, 2014
Benjamin Fagan (photo by Martha Stewart)

Benjamin Fagan (photo by Martha Stewart)

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Benjamin Fagan, assistant professor of English and African and African American studies, has won a National Endowment for the Humanities Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the Library Company in Philadelphia, Penn. The program awards up to four fellowships a year chosen from a national pool of candidates.

“Dr. Fagan has a way of putting his honors to use not only in his own research but also in the service of others,” said Dorothy Stephens, chair of the department of English. “His students understand their own lives better when they delve into the history of African American print culture.”

“Upon his arrival, Ben made an immediate impact. He helped to expand our course offerings and his classes have become extremely popular,” said Calvin White Jr., director of the African and African American studies program. “His interaction with students is simply amazing, and we congratulate him on this high honor. Ben’s research is indicative of the interdisciplinary work going on in Fulbright.”

Fagan will step out of the classroom from January until May 2015 for this residential fellowship. He will spend this time to work on his book, The Black Newspaper and the Chosen Nation, which examines how the institutional and material forms of black newspapers helped shape ideas of black chosenness in the decades before the Civil War. 

In conjunction with his teaching and research focus on early African American literature and print cultures, Fagan’s course offerings at the University of Arkansas have included “African American Literature and the Media,” “The American Renaissance in Black and White” and “The Black Atlantic.”

Fagan holds a joint appointment in the department of English and the African and African American Studies program in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences. He has won fellowships from the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Carter G. Woodson Institute for African American and African Studies and the American Antiquarian Society. His work has appeared in journals such as Comparative American Studies and American Periodicals, and in 2012 he was awarded the Best Article Prize by the Research Society for American Periodicals.

Located in Center City Philadelphia, the Library Company is America's oldest cultural institution and served as the Library of Congress from the Revolutionary War to 1800. It was founded by Benjamin Franklin in 1731 and was the largest public library in America until the Civil War. 

The holdings include the nation’s second largest collection of pre-1801 American imprints and one of the largest collections of 18th-century British books in America. It holds more than half a million rare books and graphics that are capable of supporting research in a variety of fields and disciplines relating to the history of America and the Atlantic world in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. 

Contacts:

Benjamin Fagan, assistant professor
Department of English
479-575-6004, fagan@uark.edu

Darinda Sharp, director of communications
J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences
479-575-3712, dsharp@uark.edu

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