Four Purdue University faculty members have been named recipients of the 2017 Library Scholars Grant Program. Established in 1985 by the 50th anniversary gift of members of the Class of 1935, the Library Scholars Grant Program supports access to unique collections of information around the country and the world for non-tenured and recently tenured Purdue faculty in all disciplines from the West Lafayette, Fort Wayne, IUPUI, and Northwest campuses, as well as those in the Statewide Technology Program. The 2017 recipients are:
- Christopher Cayari, assistant professor, Music Education, was awarded $5,000 to travel to the Eberly Family Special Collections at Pennsylvania State University in University Park to conduct archival research on Fred Waring. Waring, band and choir leader, was one of the most influential figures in popular American choral singing in the mid-1900s.Waring’s musical groups performed classical, American folk, swing, and popular music. Their performances were broadcast on radio, audio recordings, motion pictures, and television.Cayari will analyze recordings, communications, and other artifacts from The Eberly Family Special Collections to better understand Waring and his journey as he popularized American choral pop music and performance;
- Heather Fielding, associate professor, English, Purdue University Northwest, was awarded $4,800 to examine the manuscripts of British novelist Ronald Firbank at the Berg Collection of the New York Public Library and the Columbia University Rare Books Library. Fielding’s research is part of a project that analyzes how 1920s culture, especially the modernist literature of that era, made sense of an economy increasingly based on the irrational moves of the market, but also prioritized efficiency above all else. The novels of Ronald Firbank (1886-1926) constitute a key site where modernist narrative technique engaged with economic ideas. Firbank’s novels are deeply concerned with the residue that exists at the edges of a culture, aiming to purge waste and improve productivity. Fielding will examine Firbank’s manuscript drafts and notebooks, where he developed ideas and drew sketches for his novels. These are crucial resources for understanding what Firbank chose to include and exclude as he drafted and revised his novels and for analyzing modernism’s re-use of economic ideas;
- Jennifer Kaufmann-Buhler, assistant professor of design history, Department of Art and Design, was awarded $2,966 to conduct archival research at the Manuscripts and Archives Library of Yale University in New Haven. Kaufmann-Buhler’s research centers on the history and evolution of the American open plan office; this project broadly focuses on the tension among the progressive idealism of architects and designers who first promoted the open plan, and the challenges and problems that emerged for architects and designers, office furniture manufacturers, organizations and workers as the open plan became mainstream. At the Yale Library, she will study architectural papers — including plans, correspondence, and project files — of several important American architects practicing in the U.S. in the late 20th century to examine their use of the open plan office concept in their office designs. Kaufmann-Buhler’s research will be used in several related articles currently in development, as well as a book manuscript; and
- Zoe Nyssa, assistant professor, Anthropology, was awarded $4,728 for travel to special collections at Yale University and the University of Georgia related to the organization and practices of biodiversity conservation in the U.S. Her project examines how saving the environment — and not just studying it — became the business of scientists. Three questions will be pursued: 1) how these scientists created a conceptual and organizational niche for conservation, 2) how they began to coordinate environmental protection work across diverse sets of actors and institutions, and 3) how they thought about humans and human society in relationship to the environment. Support from the Library Scholars Grant will fund travel to these archives in order to digitize materials. Digitization will enable the use of a mix of methods, including computational social science techniques (“big data”), in combination with traditional qualitative approaches. These materials will be parsed for text and investigated using social network analyses and Latent Dirichlet Allocation (LDA) topic modeling.
The grant program, which the Class of 1935 has supported continuously over the last 32 years, covers the recipients’ expenses associated with the cost of transportation, lodging, meals, and fees charged by the library or other collection owner.
The full, detailed descriptions about each of the recipients’ research projects are available in the March 1 issue of the Purdue University Libraries’ staff newsletter, INSIDe, at www.lib.purdue.edu/inside/2017/march1.html.