Three faculty members given humanities awards

By Jack Manning

Three members of the faculty were each given the National Endowment for the Humanities Award and they are looking to put the grants that came with it back into the NIU community through their upcoming projects.

The recipients were Jennifer Kirker-Priest, Heide Fehrenbach and Jeff Einboden. Fehrenbach and Einboden were both awarded $50,400, and Kirker-Priest was awarded $6,000.

Fehrenbach was awarded the grant to aid in the completion of her upcoming project. Her project has to do with the historical study of child-centered photography that has been used in humanitarian advocacy since the late 19th century.

“My argument is that photography grew up with humanitarianism in the 19th century,” Fehrenbach said. “I’m tracing the way the photography and humanitarianism mutually informed each other.”

When Fehrenbach started thinking about the project, she asked students in her class to participate by simply being in her class.

“The project itself actually came from teaching that I’ve done at NIU, so when I started thinking about this project I thought what better way than to start getting introduced to various literatures that I would need to learn about but to teach specific classes related to it,” Fehrenbach said.

Fehrenbach hopes that her book will be useful in the humanities and photography departments as well as in the social sciences and history departments.

Kirker-Priest was awarded her grant to aid in her supervision of the Anthropology Museum.

“The purpose of the grant is really for the benefit of the NIU community, but any museum and its collection wants to be accessible to the community at large,” Kirker-Priest said. “Our first priority is to the museum community and to NIU. We want to upgrade our collection standards to meet the professional museum standards.”

Kirker-Priest’s project will focus on improving the Anthropology museum. She said over the past 15 years there have been new standards in how to store and display textiles, and Kirker-Priest wants to bring those innovations to the museum.

“The best part about the grants is that they put it into projects they’re working at like the Haiti Exhibit, it’s something they earned that can benefit not just their students but all students on campus,” said junior English major Chloe Kernene.

With the grant money, the Anthropology Museum can now re-roll and re-store all of their textiles, a process in which students will be involved.

“I would say the grants are good for the university in general, and they’re something that can help both the students here and the students at large,” said junior engineering major William Moebus.

Einboden was unable to be reached for interview.