Two Wesleyan faculty received National Endowment for the Humanities grants on Aug. 9.
Katherine Kuenzli, associate professor of art history, received a $250,000 Scholarly Editions and Translations grant. She and project co-directors Michael André and Kathleen James-Chakraborty will use the funds to prepare a critical edition and translation of a selection of writings by the Belgian artist and essayist Henry van de Velde titled Henry van de Velde: Selected Essays, 1889–1914.
Scholarly Editions and Translations grants support the preparation of editions and translations of pre-existing texts of value to the humanities that are currently inaccessible or available in inadequate editions. Typically, the texts and documents are significant literary, philosophical, and historical materials; but other types of work, such as musical notation, also eligible.
Kuenzli also is working on a monograph titled Henry van de Velde: Designing Modernism. Together with Selected Essays, these projects recover van de Velde’s important role in Neo-Impressionist painting and the German Werkbund, and they demonstrate how ideas of internationalism and the total work of art lie at the heart of modern approaches to museum display, art education, and industrial design.
At Wesleyan, Kuenzli’s research focuses on European art 1880-1940, and more specifically on questions of modernism studied from a broad cultural and political perspective. Her topics of research include art and politics; constructions of the Total Work of Art; interrelationships between painting, architecture and design; boundaries between public and private spheres; formulations of national versus international cultures; museums, their history and public; colonial encounters and relationships between modernist art and the “primitive;” and modernist art pedagogies. In addition to her book, The Nabis and Intimate Modernism: Painting and the Decorative at the Fin de Siècle (Ashgate, 2010), she has published articles in The Art Bulletin, The Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, Art History, and Nineteenth-Century Art Worldwide, as well as essays in edited volumes and an exhibition catalogue.
Steven Horst, professor of philosophy, professor of science in society, received a $50,400 award from the NEH’s Public Scholar Program for his book project titled Exorcising Laplace’s Demon. Horst will use the grant to prepare for publication of a book that examines the history of early modern science to demonstrate the compatibility between science, humanism, and theism. The publication also addresses the philosophy of science, particularly reductionism and the nature of scientific laws.
The Public Scholar Program supports well-researched books in the humanities intended to reach a broad readership. Such scholarship might present a narrative history, tell the stories of important individuals, analyze significant texts, provide a synthesis of ideas, revive interest in a neglected subject, or examine the latest thinking on a topic. Books supported by this program must be grounded in humanities research and scholarship.
At Wesleyan, Horst works in philosophy of mind, cognitive science, philosophy of science, metaphysics, epistemology, semantics, cognitive science of religion, and moral psychology. His books include Cognitive Pluralism (MIT 2016), Laws, Mind, and Free Will (MIT 2011), and Beyond Reduction (Oxford 2007).