Three Stanford humanities scholars awarded Guggenheim Fellowships

Michael Arcega

Three Stanford scholars are among the 181 scholars, artists and scientists who were awarded 2012 Guggenheim Fellowships. Selected out of a group of nearly 3,000 applicants, MICHAEL ARCEGA, TAMAR HERZOG and DENISE GIGANTE will each work on projects that support the mission of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation by contributing to “the educational, literary, artistic and scientific power of this country.”

Tamar Herzog

During her time as a fellow, history Professor Tamar Herzog plans to finish a book manuscript related to the formation of territorial distinctions between Spanish and Portuguese territories in both Europe and the Americas. Herzog, whose research centers on the ways in which Iberian societies changed as a result of their involvement in a colonial project, is interested in “understanding how people relate to land, why they consider it belongs to them, and how communal membership effects their attitudes toward land and territory.”

Rather than examining states being territorialized, Herzog wants to explore “how communities are defined in the same time in which their territorial extensions are being negotiated.” In past research projects she has explored how communities are formed and how people discuss their belonging to them. This project, she said, is “a natural extension of my previous research.”

English Professor Denise Gigante will work on a book called The Book Madness about bibliomania, or as she described it, “the passion for book collecting and private libraries in mid-19th century America.” The organizing principle of the book is the sale of Charles Lamb’s library in New York in 1848. Lamb (1775-1834) was a Romantic essayist who was as popular at the time in America as Charles Dickens, or later, Oscar Wilde.

Denise Gigante

“This book continues my interest in the topic of aesthetic taste,” said Gigante, who also wrote about the subject in her books Taste: A Literary History (Yale University Press, 2005) and Gusto: Essential Writings in 19th-Century Gastronomy (Routledge, 2005). Like gastronomes, “bibliophiles emphasized the material dimensions of aesthetic pleasure at a time when the spiritual delights of the fine arts were parting ways with the kind of consumer pleasures made possible through capitalism,” said Gigante. She added that such a study is especially relevant now, “as alternate forms of media continue to evolve and complicate our notions of literary tradition.”

The timing of the Guggenheim Fellowship couldn’t be better for Michael Arcega, MFA ’09, currently an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Art and Art History. Arcega said the funds will be especially helpful as he embarks on a three-part residency that will take him to Montalvo Arts Center in Saratoga, Calif., then to the Fountainhead Residency in Miami and finally to the International Studio and Curatorial Program in Brooklyn. N.Y.


The Humanities at Stanford