News and Events

NEH Fellowship Funds Literary History

Bottled WaterThis article was originally published in the February 2005 issue of CLASnotes.

The National Endowment for the Humanities has awarded Assistant Professor of Women’s Studies Trysh Travis a 12-month fellowship. Travis will use the $40,000 award to complete her book, The Persistence of Sentiment: Contemporary American Literature and the Culture of 12-Step Recovery.

“The book is about the way that regular people—educated, thoughtful, but not necessarily scholarly readers—interact with literature, and use literature to cultivate their imaginations and their spirits,” says Travis. Her book is a work of interdisciplinary literary history focused on the print culture of the 12-step recovery movement, which began with the founding of Alcoholics Anonymous in 1935. It traces the development of the program and explores the material and intellectual influence of the recovery movement on contemporary literary culture.

“As academics, we publish books and articles for each other, and then wonder why the public is skeptical of our ambitions and the legislature wants to cut our funding. I hope to write a book that, I think, the average person will want to read and will be able to understand—one that makes a contribution to the culture at large, not just to scholarly knowledge.”

Travis received her PhD in American studies from Yale University and specializes in 20th-century American reading and publishing history. She joined UF last fall after holding positions at the Southern Methodist University in Dallas and Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut.

The National Endowment for the Humanities is an independent grant-making agency of the US government dedicated to supporting research, education, preservation and public programs in the humanities. It received 1,470 fellowship applications this year and awarded only 193 fellowships, a success rate of 13 percent.

— Allyson A. Beutke
Photos: Jane Dominguez

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