Assistant Professor of History Heather Ferguson awarded ACLS Fellowship

Heather Ferguson, assistant professor of history and associate editor of the International Journal of Islamic Architecture, has been awarded a 2014 Faculty Fellowship from The American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS).

The ACLS Fellowship Program awards fellowship grants to individual scholars working in the humanities and related social sciences. Institutions that contribute to the program and its endowment include The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and other organizations and individuals.

Ferguson, a scholar of the Ottoman Empire, teaches popular courses in Middle East history at CMC. Her winning research project is called, The Proper Order of Things: Language, Power and Law in Ottoman Administrative Discourses.

“I initially thought there was no way I would ever be awarded the grant, but I also knew the application's requirements surpassed those of any other grants I was reviewing to support my sabbatical year,” Ferguson said. “I was required to submit multiple abstracts and essays assessing the ways in which my project both demonstrated a provocative new approach to my field, and presented compelling research for an interdisciplinary audience.”

Winning the grant is a nod, she says, to the dynamic intercollegiate community of CMC. “The book manuscript that I hope to complete in the next year was re-imagined through the lens of productive relationships with colleagues across multiple disciplines,” Ferguson said.

Her primary aim is to complete a manuscript, which will require intensive writing in the summer and fall, followed by a period researching critical archives in Budapest and Istanbul to ensure that “my arguments concerning discursive genres and imperial power will hold in the face of potential critics.”

A private, nonprofit federation of 71 national scholarly organizations, the ACLS is the preeminent representative of American scholarship in the humanities and related social sciences, and its fellowship grants are as competitive as they are prestigious.