Professor of history Edward Baptist and assistant professor of English Ishion Hutchinson are Cornell’s newest recipients of Guggenheim Fellowships.
The 2017 fellowship winners were announced April 7 by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. A diverse group of 173 scholars, artists and scientists was chosen on an individual basis of prior achievement and exceptional promise from nearly 3,000 applicants to the foundation’s 93rd annual competition.Baptist’s fellowship will support research on his current project, which “examines white America’s 400-year focus on controlling Africans’ and African-Americans’ movement, from fugitive slave ads and patrols to segregation and incarceration,” Baptist said. “At the same time it will look at black resistance: starting from escapes from slavery and going all the way to the present-day opposition to racialized policing strategies.”
Baptist joined the Department of History faculty in the College of Arts and Sciences in 2003 and has taught courses on slavery, the South, the Civil War, general 19th-century U.S. history and the history of capitalism, including a spring 2017 service-learning course on understanding global capitalism in Jamaica. His research and writing have had a focus on the history and historical role of the enslavement of Africans and African-Americans in the South.
Baptist, Cornell University Library and the Cornell Institute for Social and Economic Research have partnered on “Freedom on the Move,” a project launched last year to form a database of runaway slave advertisements that provide crucial narratives and statistical and geographic data.
His books include “The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism” (2014), which received the Hillman Prize for Book Journalism and the Organization of American Historians’ 2015 Avery O. Craven Award; and “Creating an Old South: Middle Florida’s Plantation Frontier Before the Civil War” (2002), winner of the Florida Historical Society’s Rembert Patrick Award. He is co-editor of “New Studies in the History of American Slavery” (2006) and “American Capitalism: A Reader” (2014). He graduated from Georgetown University and earned his doctorate at the University of Pennsylvania.Hutchinson joined the Cornell faculty in 2012 and is the Meringoff Sesquicentennial Faculty Fellow in the College of Arts and Sciences. He is a poet and essayist with two published collections, “House of Lords and Commons,” which won the 2016 National Book Critics Circle Award for poetry, and “Far District: Poems,” published in 2010.
A selection of his poems was set to music by Cornell graduate student composers for a recent concert in Barnes Hall, and his work has been widely published in anthologies and journals and in such publications as Granta, The Huffington Post, Poetry, and Poetry Review. A contributing editor to Tongue: A Journal of Writing & Art, Hutchinson’s honors include a Whiting Writers’ Award, the PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award, the Larry Levis Prize from the Academy of American Poets and Prairie Schooner Journal’s Glenna Luschei Award.
Hutchinson’s teaching has included creative writing courses for undergraduates, a freshman writing seminar on writing across cultures and graduate poetry seminars for Creative Writing Program MFA students. His research interests include poetry in translation, British and American poetry, and the long poem and the epic.
A native of Port Antonio, Jamaica, he has a bachelor’s degree from the University of the West Indies, an MFA from New York University and a doctorate from the University of Utah.
This story first appeared in the Cornell Chronicle.