Arts & Humanities Seed Grant Program Awardees

The Seed Grant Program to Support the Arts and Humanities provides funding of up to $1500 to help support Arts and Humanities faculty research and scholarly activities. The purpose of the program is to assist faculty in building their careers and contributing to their disciplines by exploring new scholarly, creative, and research activities. Proposals are reviewed and funding is recommended by the Faculty Senate Committee on Research and Scholarly Activity

2017-18 Fall Awardees


Dr. Kip Franklin

Dr. Kip Franklin
Assistant Professor, Department of Music
College of Arts and Sciences

"Crossroads: Twenty-First Century Music for Clarinet"

Abstract: Countless recordings exist that feature the masterworks of the clarinet literature, centering on works primarily by Brahms and Mozart. Attempts to promote new music for the instrument are done so either in tandem with one of the traditional masterworks or in the guise of the clarinet as part of a larger ensemble. Very few recordings exist of present-day clarinet literature exclusively. This project aims to record the clarinet works of four modern composers: David Biedenbender, Kalmen Opperman, Karel Husa, and David Maslanka. All proposed works were written no earlier than 2007. To date no comprehensive recording exists of these composers’ music for clarinet. I feel fortunate to have a personal relationship with two of the composers and to have been involved in the genesis of two of the proposed works for the project. Recording and distributing these works will help promote these composers and further new music for clarinet.


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Ms. Deborah Gurt
Assistant Librarian
Marx Library

"Joseph Bloch, the Father of Mobile’s Music: A Traveling Public History Exhibit"

Abstract: The unique historical voice of Joseph Bloch, a German-Jewish immigrant to Mobile in 1848, will be heard through this collaborative interdisciplinary project. The Bloch project will encompass a six-panel visual display featuring archival images and interpretive text to illustrate the history of Mobile’s immigrants, cultural life, and Jewish community. With scholarship from the fields of History, Public History, and Archival Science, the project will produce a portable exhibit exploring the life and experience of Joseph Bloch (1826-1903). This work seeks to broaden public knowledge of and engagement with Mobile’s history and vibrant cultural life in the late 19th century. The exhibit will travel to numerous venues across the region during 2018. The exhibit is part of a collaboration supported by the Southern Jewish Historical Society and the University Libraries. Seed grant support will contribute to the production of the physical exhibit and its successful dissemination.


Dr. Marsha Hamilton

Dr. Marsha Hamilton
Associate Professor, Department of History
College of Arts and Sciences

"Research in New York"

Abstract: The early modern Atlantic world was a region of dynamic cultural and commercial interaction, especially for merchants from England’s North American colonies. As traders on the periphery of England’s burgeoning empire, these men developed a different outlook on commerce, advocating for the decentralization of policies which would allow them to trade with French and Dutch merchants in the West Indies and Europe. Yet, even as they opposed the control of trade by London, the networks developed by these merchants were integral to the development of the British empire and a British identity in the eighteenth century. The larger project examines the trade networks of John Borland, a Scottish merchant in Boston from 1682-1727; this research trip will focus on the papers of Borland’s New York connections. By tracing his partnerships throughout the Atlantic world, we can illuminate the role of peripheral commerce to the growth of empire in this period.


Dr. David Meola

Dr. David Meola
Assistant Professor, Department of History
College of Arts and Sciences

"Jewish Liberals along the Rhine and their Impact within German Liberalism"

Abstract: This proposal asks for $1500 to support a research trip to Germany this December. I will visit archives in the Rhineland-Palatinate to research Joseph Bloch, a Jewish German who moved to Mobile in 1848—after fleeing due to suspected revolutionary activities—and later helped establish our city’s music scene. This research project will benefit two projects. First, it will immediately benefit a traveling exhibit about Joseph Bloch produced in conjunction with Ms. Deborah Gurt and Ms. Paula Webb, both staff at Marx Library. Second, this project will help inform my second project, which interrogates Jewish Germans’ involvement in the German democratic movement of the 1830s and 1840s. The research on Joseph Bloch will not only highlight an important Mobilian, but will also highlight important contributions to intellectual and political networks by a minority group (and not just great men) that have yet to receive any substantial historical treatment.


Dr. David Messenger

Dr. David Messenger
Professor, Department of History
College of Arts and Sciences

"The Spanish Civil War: In the Air, on the Ground and in Memory"

Abstract: Recent interest in the Spanish Civil War has focused on the deaths of some 200,000 civilians in the conflict, and recasts the conflict as one that is better thought of as a systematic attack against civilians, not just a traditional military confrontation. What is missing in these accounts of the Civil War is an analysis of the impact of the aerial bombing of civilians. The infamous bombing in the Basque town of Guernica, on April 27, 1937, is recognized as the the first air attack that targeted civilians, but was not unique. This study will examine the war against civilians from the air,  responses to these attacks, and contemporary memorial sites about the air war, with an emphasis on Catalonia. Archival research will focus on military history and on civilian groups who built air raid shelters, revealing their understanding of the conflict as one in which they were primary targets.


▼   2016-17 Spring Awardees
Dr. Nicole Amare

Dr. Nicole Amare
Professor, English Department
College of Arts and Sciences

"Through the Veil of Unbelief: Twain's Transformative Grief and Mormon Imagery"

Abstract: I am requesting funds to present at the Mark Twain Quadrennial Conference, held at Elmira College, NY, August 3-5, 2017. Elmira is also the home to Quarry Farm, Twain's former summer home and library (he wrote Roughing It there, among other works), and the Center for Mark Twain Studies, one of the world’s three major Twain archives. In “Through the Veil of Unbelief: Twain’s Transformative Grief and Mormon Imagery,” I explore how the major deaths in Twain’s life propelled him toward communion with God, not toward determinism, as other scholars have argued. Twain’s drafts in despair reveal Christian allusions and, more specifically, Mormon images. Attending this particular conference provides a rare opportunity to receive valuable feedback from more than 50 major Twain scholars who attend this conference every four years as well as access to the archive to substantiate claims that Twain’s biographic intersections with Mormons influenced his darkest writings.


Dr. Claire Cage

Dr. Claire Cage
Assistant Professor, Department of History
College of Arts and Sciences

"The Science of Proof: Forensics in France, 1789-1900"

Abstract: This book project examines the history of history of forensics, or legal medicine, in France in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. My research analyzes how medical and scientific knowledge was constructed in relation to transformations in the legal and penal systems, shifting political configurations, class, and gender. With the assistance of a Support and Development Award, I would be able to conduct research in French archives and libraries this summer for one month.


Dr. Pat Cesarini

Dr. Pat Cesarini
Associate Professor, English Department
College of Arts and Sciences

"American Newspapers and the Poetry of the Civil War"

Abstract: I request funding, totaling $1500.00, for my current research project: a study of poetry about the Civil War printed in American newspapers during the conflict, and of changes in the relations between poetry and audience in the war’s aftermath. I have written a conference paper on this topic, which I want to develop into a full-length article, to be submitted for publication to an academic journal. To that end, I need to undertake archival research at several facilities in the Northeast. My paper contrasts the poetry of Henry Howard Brownell and Herman Melville, who both published Civil War verse collections that are pertinent to my interests. During the research trip I will examine such non-circulating materials as the personal and family papers of Henry Howard Brownell at the Brown Library, Civil War-era periodicals at the American Antiquarian Society and the Massachusetts Historical Society, and the Herman Melville Papers at Harvard University.


Dr. Matthew Hopson-Walker

Dr. Matthew Hopson-Walker
Assistant Professor of Printmaking, Department of Visual Arts
College of Arts and Sciences

"Comparative Photographic Aluminum Litho Plate Exposure Tests"

Abstract: I am requesting $1507.57 to purchase all the required materials to do extensive side by side exposure tests of the two commercially available fine art positive working photo litho plates. The requested amount will allow me to purchase a bulk quantity of each brand of plate and the materials to process them so that I can create a body of research the comprehensively contrasts the different emulsions used on each plate and how they function with different types of autographic and digital films or transparencies. The gathered information will allow me to expand the use of this process in my classes and be used in my application for presentation at the Spring 2018 Southern Graphics Council International Conference and/or Mid American Print Conference Fall 2018. I have attached a shopping cart that contains all the materials I am requesting this small grant for.


Dr. Becky McLaughlin

Dr. Becky McLaughlin
Associate Professor, English Department
College of Arts and Sciences

"Filmmaking and the Antinomian Controversy"

Abstract: Although I have no expertise in screenwriting, I have expertise in other forms of creative writing that involve storytelling such as fiction, poetry, and playwriting.  Seeing what a talented director and a professional actor could do with my script was one of the highlights of my life as a writer, and it seems to me that writing a successful screenplay might offer a similar kind of artistic satisfaction.  Having never written a screenplay, however, I would like to take a course that would teach me how to do so.  The course that looks most promising to me is an online course taught by Scott Myers, who has developed over thirty movie and TV projects at every major Hollywood studio and broadcast network, working with such producers as Larry Gordon, Dawn Steel, Wendy Finerman, Chuck Gordon, Castle Rock Entertainment, Working Title, and Outlaw Productions.  A member of the Writers’ Guild of America West, Myers has taught screenwriting at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and through the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program, receiving its Outstanding Instructor Award in 2005.  He currently teaches in the School of Cinematic Arts at DePaul University.  Given the nature of my project, Myers’ course is a particularly good choice because of Myers’ background in the study of religion and theology: he graduated from the University of Virginia with a BA in Religious Studies and from Yale University with an MDiv.


Dr. Chris Raczkowski

Dr. Chris Raczkowski
Associate Professor, English Department 
College of Arts and Sciences

"Indexing for A History of American Crime Fiction"

Abstract: My recently completed book, A History of American Crime Fiction, is under contract with Cambridge University Press. An edited anthology of 25 chapters and over 140,000 words, A History places crime fiction within a context of aesthetic practices and experiments, intellectual concerns, and historical debates generally reserved for canonical literary history. The book is divided into five sections that reflect the periods that commonly organize literary history in university English departments, with chapters highlighting crime fiction’s reciprocal relationships with early American literature, romanticism, realism, modernism and postmodernism. As a result, the history reveals crime fiction’s capacity to signify beyond the narrow boundaries of popular genres and explores the symbiosis between crime fiction and canonical literature that sustains and energizes both. In short, crime fiction history is American literary history. Cambridge University Press requires its authors to provide their own indices, and I am requesting funds to hire a professional indexer.


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Dr. Lars Tatom
Professor, Department of Theatre and Dance
College of Arts and Sciences

The Natural Escalation of Theatrical Conflict: Stage Combat for the Upcoming Theatre USA Production of She Kills Monsters

Abstract: As presently constituted, the faculty members of the University of South Alabama Department of Theatre & Dance, though trained, skilled and experienced in a wide variety of theatrical tools and techniques, have limited training and no current certifications in the area of stage combat and fight choreography. During the upcoming Theatre USA 2017-18 theatrical season, an experienced and certified fight choreographer will be required, both for artistic and for safety reasons, for the February 2018 production of Qui Nguyen’s She Kills Monsters. This play, which premiered in 2012, and has already been produced over 300 times in professional and educational theatres all over the United States, is set in the world of fantasy role playing games, and requires extensive stage combat. This proposed grant, will help fund the costs of bringing a certified fight choreographer to stage the production’s fight and combat sequences, will not only provide a major and necessary production element, but will also add to the skills and knowledge of the student actors working the show.


Dr. Steve Trout

Dr. Steve Trout
Professor, English Department 
College of Arts and Sciences

"An Alabama Family Remembers the Civil War: A Documentary"

Abstract: An Alabama Family Remembers the Civil War, is a documentary film currently in development based on the Frye Gaillard’s Journey to the Wilderness: War, Memory, and a Southern Family’s Civil War (New South Books, 2015). The 50-minute film is intended for a general audience and will explore how memory of the Civil War evolved through the letters and remembrances of the Gaillard family from the beginning of the Civil War into the 21st century. The Alabama Humanities Foundation has already funded the project in the form of a $1300 planning grant and a $9952.80 major grant. We are requesting funds in the amount of $1000 to serve as a partial match with the AHF major grant.


Dr. Brian Whitener

Dr. Brian Whitener
Assistant Professor of Spanish, Department of Modern and Classical Languages and Literature
College of Arts and Sciences

"The Rise of Finance: Cultural Production and Politics in Mexico and Brazil After 1982"

Abstract: The Rise of Finance: Cultural Production and Politics in Mexico and Brazil after 1982 challenges current cultural histories of the neoliberal period in Latin America by arguing that finance, and not just neoliberalism, has been at the center of the dramatic transformations of Latin American societies in the last thirty years. This book argues that as cultural critics we must center both forms of capital accumulation (as finance) and state form (as neoliberalism) in our work. In so doing, it answers significant historical and theoretical questions regarding the relationship between financial capitalism and culture, race and the neoliberal state, and state violence and surplus populations.

▼   2016-17 Fall Awardees
Dr. Leanne Good

Dr. Leanne Good
Assistant Professor, Department of History
College of Arts and Sciences

Imperial Aristocracy from the Carolingian to the Ottonian Age


Dr. Ellen Harrington

Dr. Ellen Burton Harrington
Associate Professor, English Department
College of Arts and Sciences

Gender and Representation in the Late Fiction of Joseph Conrad


Dr. Anne Jeffrey

Dr. Anne Jeffrey
Assistant Professor, Philosophy Department
College of Arts and Sciences

Moral Failure and Recovery


Dr. Timothy Lombardo

Dr. Timothy Lombardo
Assistant Professor, Department of History
College of Arts and Sciences

Blue-Collar Conservatism: Frank Rizzo's Philadelphia and the Politics of the Urban Crisis


Dr. Susan McCready

Dr. Susan McCready
Professor of French Language and Literature, Department of Modern and Classical Languages and Literature
College of Arts and Sciences

War and Memory Podcast


Dr. Justin St. Clair

Dr. Justin St. Clair
Associate Professor, English Department 
College of Arts and Sciences

Music and Sound in the Work of Thomas Pynchon


▼   2015-16 Spring Awardees
Dr. Jasmin Arakawa

Dr. Jasmin Arakawa
Assistant Professor, Department of Music
College of Arts and Sciences

Participating in Dallas International Piano Competition 2016


Dr. Kara Burns

Dr. Kara Burns
Assistant Professor, Department of Visual Arts
College of Arts and Sciences

The Iconography of Mystery: The Relationship between Orpheus and Bacchus on the Orpheus Mosaics of Southwest Britain


Dr. Claire Cage

Dr. Claire Cage
Assistant Professor, Department of History
College of Arts and Sciences

Questions of Proof: Legal Medicine in France, 1789-1870


Dr. Robert Holm

Dr. Robert Holm
Professor, Department of Music
College of Arts and Sciences

Musically Creative Work with Shoaxing University, China


Dr. Mara Kozelsky

Dr. Mara Kozelsky
Professor, Department of History
College of Arts and Sciences

War and Recovery: the Crimean War


Dr. Christina Lindeman

Dr. Christina Lindeman
Assistant Professor, Department of Visual Arts
College of Arts and Sciences

Image Rights Fees for Forthcoming Manuscript


Dr. Luis Rivera

Dr. Luis Rivera
Assistant Professor, Department of Music
College of Arts and Sciences

Conference Presentation and Concert Tour in Europe


Dr. Eleanor ter Horst

Dr. Eleanor ter Horst
Associate Professor of German and French, Department of Modern and Classical Languages and Literature
College of Arts and Sciences

Transnational Opera in a Literary Context: The Case of E.T.A. Hoffman


▼   2015-16 Fall Awardees
Dr. Nicole Amare

Dr. Nicole Amare
Professor, English Department

Traveling with Mr. White: Mark Twain and the Mormons Revisited


Dr. Tracy Heavner

Dr. Tracy Heavner
Professor, Department of Music
College of Arts and Sciences

UAE Travel and Professional Development Conference


Dr. Paul Hurley

Dr. Paul Hurley
Assistant Professor of Acting and Voice, Department of Theatre and Dance
College of Arts and Sciences

Becoming Intimate with the Pinch and the Ouch: The Sanford Meisner Acting Technique


Dr. Matthew Johnson

Dr. Matthew Johnson
Associate Professor, Department of Visual Arts
College of Arts and Sciences

Request for Competition Entry Fees and Supplies


Dr. Mihaela Marin

Dr. Mihaela Marin
Associate Professor of French, Department of Modern and Classical Languages and Literature
College of Arts and Sciences

Reading the Body: Anatomy, Illness and Metaphor in 19th-Century French Literary and Medical Discourses


Dr. Rebecca Mindock

Dr. Rebecca Mindock
Associate Professor, Department of Music
College of Arts and Sciences

Compositional Commission for a New Work for Woodwind Trio


Dr. Matthew Patterson

Dr. Matthew Patterson
Department of Visual Arts
College of Arts and Sciences

An In-Depth Introduction to Venetian Techniques


Dr. Roberto Robles-Valencia

Dr. Roberto Robles-Valencia
Assistant Professor of Spanish, Department of Modern and Classical Languages and literature
College of Arts and Sciences

Book project


Dr. Mira Rosenthal

Dr. Mira Rosenthal
Assistant Professor, English Department
College of Arts and Sciences

New Polish Literature in Translation


Dr. Justin St. Clair

Dr. Justin St. Clair
Associate Professor, English Department
College of Arts and Sciences

Contemporary Fiction as Cultural Critique


▼   2014-15 Spring Awardees
Dr. Jasmin Arakawa

Dr. Jasmin Arakawa
Assistant Professor, Department of Music
College of Arts and Sciences

Professional CD recording of Leopold Godowsky's Java Suite for Piano 


Dr. Nicholas Gossett

Dr. Nicholas Gossett
Assistant Professor of Russian, Department of Modern and Classical Languages and Literature
College of Arts and Sciences

South Alabama Language Institute Development Project 


Dr. Alma Hoffman

Dr. Alma Hoffman
Assistant Professor, Department of Visual Arts
College of Arts and Sciences

From the poet to the dancer, from the dancer to the typographer: three layers of art 


Dr. Christina Lindeman

Dr. Christina Lindeman
Assistant Professor, Department of Visual Arts
College of Arts and Sciences

Copy Editor, Indexer, and Image Right Fees for Forthcoming Manuscript 


Dr. Peter Wood

Dr. Peter Wood
Professor, Department of Music

International Trumpet Making Workshop


▼   2014-15 Fall Awardees
Dr. Isabel Brown

Dr. Isabel Brown
Associate Professor of Spanish, Department of Modern and Classical Languages and Literature
College of Arts and Sciences

Recovering Anacaona: Dominican Women Writers Owning Their Space 


Dr. Claire Cage

Dr. Claire Cage
Assistant Professor, Department of History
College of Arts and Sciences

Masculinity in Enlightenment and Revolutionary France


Dr. Christine Rinne Eaton

Dr. Christine Rinne Eaton
Associate Professor of German, Department of Modern and Classical Languages and Literature
College of Arts and Sciences

Reading the Paper behind Barbed Wire: German POW Newspapers in Alabama Camps 


Dr. Susan McCready

Dr. Susan McCready
Professor of French Language and Literature, Department of Modern and Classical Languages and Literature
College of Arts and Sciences

Modernist Fracture/Classical Revival: Maeterlinck and Theatre of the Great War


Dr. Justin St. Clair

Dr. Justin St. Clair
Associate Professor, English Department
College of Arts and Sciences

Musical Transmedia: Fiction from Bubble Books to Booktrack


Dr. Steven Trout

Dr. Steve Trout
Professor, English Department
College of Arts and Sciences

War and Remembrance on the Gulf Coast: A Museum Installation


▼   2013-14 Awardees
Dr. Renee Culler

Dr. Renee Culler
Assistant Professor, Department of Visual Arts
College of Arts and Sciences

Imagery in Kiln formed Glass


Dr. Christina Lindeman

Dr. Christina Lindeman
Assistant Professor, Department of Visual Arts
College of Arts and Sciences

Image Rights Fees for Publications in 2014


Dr. Harry Roddy

Dr. Harry Roddy
Associate Professor of German, Department of Modern and Classical Languages and Literature
College of Arts and Sciences

Bringing Germany's Contemporary Poetry Scene to American Readers