Recognizing 21 exceptionally creative individuals with a track record of achievement and the potential for significant contributions in the future, the The MacArthur Foundation today named its 2014 MacArthur Fellows, including two historians: Tara Zahra, 38, or the University of Chicago, and Pamela O. Long, 71, of Washington, DC.
Fellows will each receive a no-strings-attached stipend of $625,000 with no stipulations or reporting requirements, allowing recipients maximum freedom to follow their own creative visions.
“Those who think creativity is dying should examine the life’s work of these extraordinary innovators who work in diverse fields and in different ways to improve our lives and better our world,” said Cecilia Conrad, Vice President, MacArthur Fellows Program. “Together, they expand our view of what is possible, and they inspire us to apply our own talents and imagination.”
“Tara Zahra is a historian who is challenging the way we view the development of the concepts of nation, family, and ethnicity and painting a more integrative picture of twentieth-century European history. With conceptual and empirical rigor, Zahra’s writings combine broad sociohistorical analysis with extensive archival work across a wide range of locales,” the MacArthur announcement said.
Her first book, Kidnapped Souls: National Indifference and the Battle for Children in the Bohemian Lands, 1900–1948 (2008), examines the twentieth-century cultural politics of German and Czech nationalism with children as the centerpiece, demonstrating that the changing concept of who owns children was essential to the definition of national identities.
In The Lost Children: Reconstructing Europe’s Families after World War II (2011), Zahra illuminates an essential chapter of the postwar period in Europe—the negotiations over the repatriation of children and the reconstitution of families. Zahra received a B.A. (1998) from Swarthmore College and an M.A. (2002) and Ph.D. (2005) from the University of Michigan. She was a fellow with the Harvard Society of Fellows (2005–2007) prior to joining the faculty of the University of Chicago, where she is currently a professor in the Department of History.
According to the MacArthur Foundation announcement: “Pamela O. Long is an independent historian of science and technology who is rewriting the history of science, demonstrating how technologies and crafts are deeply enmeshed in the broader cultural fabric. Through meticulous analysis of textual, visual, antiquarian, and archival materials from across Europe, Long investigates how literacy, language, authorship, trade secrecy, and patronage regulated the interactions of scholars, artisans, architects, and engineers of the early modern period.”
Her prize-winning book, Openness, Secrecy, Authorship: Technical Arts and the Culture of Knowledge from Antiquity to the Renaissance (2001), presents groundbreaking analysis of the co-evolution of artisans as writers and technological openness as an ideal in scientific inquiry. Her second sole-authored book, Artisan/Practitioners and the Rise of the New Sciences, 1400–1600 (2011), revisits a central issue in the history of science: the influence of artisans, craftsmen, and engineers on the introduction of empirical methodologies into science. Her work in progress is a cultural history of engineering in Rome between 1557 and 1590.
Long received a B.A. (1965), M.A. (1969), and Ph.D. (1979) from the University of Maryland, College Park, and an M.S.W. (1971) from Catholic University of America. She has held a series of fellowships and visiting positions at prestigious institutions, including Princeton University, the Getty Research Institute, the American Academy in Rome, the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C., and the National Humanities Center.
A complete list of this year’s Fellows can be found online.