2014 Cushing-Glasscock Award Recipients Announced

The Melbern G. Glasscock Center for Humanities Research and Texas A&M University’s Cushing Memorial Library and Archives are pleased to announce the recipients of the 2014 Cushing-Glasscock Graduate Award. The 2014 recipients are graduate students Leah Sandlin and Jared Miracle. This award supports research projects in the humanities that are based on the collections of the Cushing Memorial Library and Archives. The awards provide graduate students in the humanities with $2,000 to cover research expenses for projects based in the collections of Cushing Library. Both students will present their research at the Cushing Library in fall 2014.

Lead Sandlin’s research focuses largely on early nineteenth-century travel narratives, specifically the portrayal of African spirituality and religious belief by travel writers of the Victorian era. Explorers of this era write about how African natives worship English clothing and gadgets and how Africans regard these things as fetish objects. During her residence at the Cushing Library, she will expand her research to include earlier writings on Africa, where she intends to trace the development of European attitudes toward African religion and spirituality in order to determine whether or not Victorian travel writers’ focus on African fetish is simply a trope of nineteenth-century exploration or was already an established tradition. Within the library’s Africana Collection, Leah will undertake a study of the Rex B. Grey Collection, which contains early African exploration narratives and many works that relate to early explorations of West Africa. Because explorers’ reactions to and portrayals of native African spirituality are a topic that is seldom brought up in the discourse about British travel writing, this dissertation will provide a meaningful contribution to scholarship on travel writing and empire.

Jared Miracle’s research is concerned with the transformation of the American sporting landscape and the popularization of Asian martial culture in the United States. Specifically he is interested in influence that Robert W. Smith, one of the “founding fathers” of this culture, had in the history and background of the shift in public awareness and practice of martial arts. By working in the library’s Robert W. Smith Collection, Jared will investigate the dynamics of this cultural shift in America brought about by Smith and his colleagues that resulted in general public knowledge of a previously-marginal tradition by examining the correspondence between Smith and other core members of their group. This viewed in light of the books, articles, and other publications to which these individuals contributed publicly, the process by which Asian martial arts transitioned and transformed from obscurity to cultural mainstay in a matter of decades will be better understood and can then be compared alongside the mythologizing that was already taking place among younger generations during Smith’s lifetime.

Applications will be accepted again spring 2015 for summer 2015. For further information visit http://glasscock.tamu.edu/grants-funding or contact the Glasscock Center at glasscock@tamu.edu or (979) 845-8328.