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NMSU history professor receives NEH fellowship

A New Mexico State University professor has received a prestigious grant to spend her sabbatical completing her manuscript “Armchair Travelers and the Venetian Discovery of the New World.”

NMSU history professor Elizabeth Horodowich will travel to Venice this summer to complete her book. (Photo by Darren Phillips)

The National Endowment for the Humanities has awarded Elizabeth Horodowich, a history professor in the College of Arts and Sciences, a $50,000 fellowship to work on her book. While on sabbatical, she will finish the research she has been doing in Venice, Florence, and at the Newberry Library in Chicago.

“Venice is a really great place to be a historian because it has the third largest archive in Europe. There’s a lot of potential there to be unearthed for historians,” Horodowich said. “This book is about the way printers in Venice produced more information about the New World and the discovery of American than any other city in Europe during the first half of the 16th century.”

This is Horodowich’s second NEH grant. The first was used to complete her first book, “Language and Statecraft in Early Modern Venice.”

Horodowich says this second book demonstrates how Venetian editors, engravers, and cosmographers played a crucial and often overlooked role in the invention of America.

“It’s interesting because the Venetians never went to America and didn’t have any direct experience. But they saw themselves and a reflection of their own environment in the New World.”

Horodowich’s passion for history was instilled in her by a professor at Oberlin College, her alma mater. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Michigan. She spent six years in Italy as a graduate student and has been visiting since 1992.

“It’s unique, there’s no other city like it in the world,” she said. “All transportation is by boat. It kind of rises up out of the sea. It’s an incredibly beautiful city, though it’s often difficult to live and work there because there are more tourists than residents.”

Unlike other books that paint Italy as a country that gave culture to the rest of the world, Horodowich’s book, expected to be published in 2017, focuses on how Italy was a recipient of globalization. She hopes it will inspire others working in the humanities and help demonstrate the importance of cross-cultural history.
“In our ever-changing 21st century global world, the humanities are more important than ever,” she added. “They teach you to think creatively and make convincing arguments. Those are skills everybody needs, no matter what field they go into.

“This is a great honor for NMSU and a testament to how well scholars in the humanities can do here. It’s a testament to the quality of scholarship at NMSU.”