CAL Faculty Receive New National Endowment for the Humanities Grant Awards

Funding will continue to support writing and teaching innovations.

Thursday, January 20, 2022
NEH grant recipients (from left) Consuelo Carr Salas, Elizabeth Pollard and Ranin Kazemi
NEH grant recipients (from left) Consuelo Carr Salas, Elizabeth Pollard and Ranin Kazemi

Three scholars at San Diego State University’s College of Arts and Letters received grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities for projects that touch on Iraq, the teaching of writing, and comics studies.

Consuelo Carr Salas and Elizabeth Pollard are among 33 January 2022 awardees receiving grants for initiatives focused upon curricular innovations at Hispanic-Serving Institutions. Ranin Kazemi received one of 25 NEH Awards for Faculty to support humanities scholars in noteworthy research and writing projects.

“I am thrilled and proud that three of our faculty members were awarded NEH grants in this cycle,” CAL Dean Monica Casper said. “Each funded project embodies CAL's overall excellence in the humanities, while also making vital contributions to our understanding of Iranian history, comics and social justice, and the teaching of writing.”

Salas, assistant professor of rhetoric and writing studies, was awarded a grant of $145,832 for the project, “Creating Expansive Approaches to the Teaching of Writing in a Southern California Border Region.” Salas and her team, including lecturers Cali Linfor and Karen Koss, and Kathryn Valentine, director of the SDSU Writing Center, will develop faculty enrichment opportunities with teaching resources to build curriculum  for writing courses that center on a global rhetorics approach.

The grant is a three-year initiative that will bring together diverse faculty dedicated to inclusion, equity, and expanding the rhetorical tradition. “We will design first-year and upper division writing course curricula that prioritizes equitable rhetoric and writing teaching practices, linguistic diversity, and asset-based assessment practices,” Salas said.

“We are extremely excited to have funding to engage in this work,” Salas added. “We look forward to gathering materials, speaking with various scholars, and working together to adjust our curriculum to continue supporting students with their rhetoric and writing skills in their courses at SDSU, their community, and eventual professions.
Pollard, professor of history, received an award of $149,998 to support “Building a Comics and Social Justice Curriculum.” Pollard co-directs, with Pamela Jackson, popular culture librarian and comic arts curator in Special Collections and University Archives, the Comics@SDSU collaborative team which will develop ten new courses, a certificate program in comic studies, and workshops that bring scholars to campus to energize comic studies during the next two years.

“Through engagement with social justice issues like racial discrimination, gender inequality, sexual identity, and immigration, the ever-changing medium of comics is a changemaker,” Pollard wrote in the grant application.“Humanists are well-positioned to trace that change and, through scholarship and teaching, make meaning of its power.”

Kazemi, international business director and associate professor in history, was awarded a $60,000 NEH Award for Faculty.

Kazemi’s grant allows him to continue research and writing culminating in a book on popular uprisings in early 19th-century Iran, titled “The Making of the First Revolutionary Movement in Modern Iran, 1850-1892.”

The book is the first systematic study of the origins of the Tobacco Protest. It is based on unpublished diaries, travelogues, personal letters, legal documents, foreign consular reports, government intelligence communications, and a range of other archival and published sources in Persian, Ottoman, Arabic, French, and English.

“Looking at this long-term history helps us understand Iran and the Middle East in the 21st-century,” said Kazemi, who has been researching the subject since 2009.

The award supports Kazemi in finalizing his manuscript beginning in fall 2022 and ending in summer 2023. “I was pleasantly surprised to receive the award, and feel honored to have the opportunity to work on it full-time,” he said.

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