Carla Kaplan, the Davis Distinguished Professor of American Literature, received one of the first Public Scholar grants awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the organization announced on Tuesday. Kaplan was one of just 36 honored scholars, joining the likes of prize-winning authors Diane McWhorter and Edward Ball, and received the grant to support her work on the book Queen of the Muckrakers: The Life and Times of Jessica Mitford (1917-1996).
Queen of the Muckrakers will be the first major book to examine the life, writing, and influence of Jessica Mitford, a woman who walked away from British aristocracy to eventually revitalize muckraking. Mitford’s expose-style writing re-introduced and radicalized Gilded Age ideas of civic responsibility in ways that still influence contemporary conversation about social inequality, whistle blowing, and the ethics of writing.
The Public Scholars program is designed to “support well-researched books in the humanities intended to reach a broad readership.” The Program is part of The Common Good: The Humanities in the Public Square, an agency-wide initiative that seeks to bring humanities into the public square and foster innovative ways to make scholarship relevant to contemporary life. To read the full announcement of the first Public Scholars awards, visit the NEH website. The awards have received coverage in media outlets such as the Washington Post, the New York Times, and the Boston Globe.