2023-2024 NEH Fellows

The Consortium welcomes new NEH Fellows for 2023-2024.

Shirley Kinney

Ph.D., Medieval Studies, University of Toronto

Untangling the Manuscripts and Medicine of the Pseudo-Apuleius Group

This project aims to publish a translation and study of a late-antique medical collection known as the Pseudo-Apuleius Group. This corpus of medical works was a popular collection of medieval Europe, and while some of its texts have previously received attention, the group as a cohesive unit has never before been comprehensively examined. This project has four aims: first, to provide a modern English translation of each text in the collection. Second, to investigate the evidence for each text’s original dating, localization, and source criticism. Third, to produce a comparative examination of the extant manuscripts and early printed editions of this medical collection, many of which have never before been studied. And finally, to analyze the collection’s medical content in comparison with current knowledge of pharmacognosy and phytochemistry. These four aims will be combined to publish the first comprehensive study of the Pseudo-Apuleius Group, its history, reception, and medical content.


Catherine Mas

Assistant Professor, Department of History, Florida International University

Sweet Captivity: A Transnational History of Primatology and Culture

This monograph centers the life of an individual woman, Rosalía Abreu, to access the intimate exchanges of science, politics, and culture—both in the making of primatology and the remaking of human-nonhuman boundaries in the 20th century. The Cuban sugar heiress became known as the first person to breed a chimpanzee in captivity in 1915. Despite this scientific feat, she remains at the margins of historical scholarship. This research assembles a constellation of sites that starts with Abreu and follows her apes from her home to the laboratory, to theme parks and natural history museums. It shows how science relied on lay worlds and nonhuman relationships that shaped new conceptions of the “human,” the negotiation of exploitation and ethics, and debates about the limits of modern science.


Chelsea Schields

Assistant Professor, Department of History, University of California, Irvine

Charged Currents: Electric Power in the Caribbean

In recent years, intensifying hurricanes have placed Caribbean electric grids in the international spotlight, with footage of darkened cities and mangled power lines appearing as spectacular testaments to the devastation of climate change. Yet, as Charged Currents argues, what appears in today’s news as sudden catastrophe is the outcome of a longer history of electric power in the region. Located at the intersection of the history of energy, technology, and the environment, this book—the first monographic history of electrification in the Caribbean—explores how the logics of the plantation shaped the introduction and expansion of electric power from the late-nineteenth century to the present. With case studies grounded in Puerto Rico, Jamaica, and Suriname, Charged Currents traces the inputs of natural resources, capital, and expertise that furnished early electric power and the outputs that resulted in racially and economically stratified access to energy and vulnerability to harm.