Klingle Receives National Endowment for the Humanities Public Scholar Award

Associate Professor of History and Environmental Studies Matthew Klingle has been selected to receive a 2016-2017 National Endowment for the Humanities Public Scholar Award, which will provide funding in support of scholarly research for Sweet Blood: Diabetes and the Nature of Health in America, a forthcoming book geared to a general audience about the history of diabetes from the late nineteenth century to the present.

Matthew Klingle

Matthew Klingle

This is a departure for Klingle, whose academic specialization has been environmental history and the American northwest.

But facilitated by a three-year New Directions Fellowship from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, which provided support for Klingle to acquire training outside his area of special interest, he has set out to immerse himself in the world of public health and chronic disease.

Sweet Blood: Diabetes and the Nature of Health in America explores how today’s crisis grows from our changing relationship with nature and asks the questions:

  • Who or what is to blame for the diabetes outbreak: human behavior, genetics and evolution, or an altered environment?
  • Why has diabetes afflicted Americans unevenly, and should society address these inequities?
  • What connections between human nature and physical nature might promote and sustain health?

The project illuminates these questions by examining the environmental, cultural, political, and scientific history of diabetes in the United States from the Gilded Age to the present day. In the process, this project argues for an expanded idea of what counts as the environment, an important contribution to address the diabetes epidemic.

Klingle is one of 30 grantees in the Public Scholar program; his is among 290 humanities projects and program across the U.S. awarded $79 million in grants amid the NEH’s 50th anniversary year.

“NEH provides support for projects across America that preserve our heritage, promote scholarly discoveries, and make the best of America’s humanities ideas available to all Americans,” said NEH Chairman William D. Adams. “We are proud to announce this latest group of grantees who, through their projects and research, will bring valuable lessons of history and culture to Americans.”

Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation.

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