The Gotham Center for New York City History is Awarded $250,000 for Writing Fellowships
NEW YORK, Dec. 11th, 2018 – The Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation has awarded $250,000 to The Gotham Center for New York City History, at The Graduate Center of The City University of New York, to establish a writing fellowship program. It is the center's first such grant. Four one-year awards of $40,000 will be conferred in 2020 and 2021 to scholars with promising book manuscripts nearing completion.
"As the only university center devoted to New York City history, The Gotham Center has long been a vibrant nexus for promoting this critical field of study,” said Peter-Christian Aigner, its acting director. “With this fellowship, we are going beyond that founding mission, directly underwriting the production of knowledge with the goal of making the Center a headquarters for not just education but research on the history of the metropolitan area."
Recognizing a natural but excessive fixation on Manhattan’s role in the history of New York, the fellowship will favor projects that explore the under-researched boroughs of the city, investigate the historical relationship between the urban core and Long Island, and examine the latter's history in the development of the metropolitan region. The program hopes to challenge the popular distinction between ‘city’ and ‘suburb' for a “metropolitan approach” that recognizes the deep, co-dependent relations between such areas, building on calls by leading practitioners in urban and suburban history to integrate the fields. Currently, no museum, library or university provides support explicitly for this area of study.
The awards will also favor independent and early-career professionals, and provide a higher level of review than is currently available in many fellowships, with two readers assisting fellows in development of argument, and one, Pulitzer-winner and Gotham Center founder Mike Wallace, focusing on style and presentation. Fellows will be given office space at The Graduate Center and free access to CUNY's library. They will be expected to develop public programs or workshops at the end of their fellowship year, presented at institutions with overlapping interests in the greater New York area.
In conjunction with the fellowship program, The Gotham Center will expand its directory of major historic archives and sites in New York City with an up-to-date directory of Long Island’s historic sites and archives, open-access directories that will be housed on The Gotham Center’s highly trafficked website.
"The Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation's mission is to expand the regional study of the history of Long Island and New York," Kathryn M. Curran, its executive director, said. “We are investing in impactful projects with a focus on scholarship and outreach to our historic community. The research from the Gotham Center fellows will aid in engaging and stimulating new conversations.”
The Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation, established in 1987, primarily supports the study of New York State history. Its purpose is to educate and inform the general public in the State of New York, concerning the culture, art and tradition of the locality; to cultivate, foster and promote interest in, and understanding and appreciation of its societal heritage; to encourage and sponsor the creation and perpetuation by existing and future historical societies of collections and repositories for the deposit, collection and examination of documents and artifacts of various kinds relevant to such heritage and traditions; and to sponsor and encourage the restoration and exhibition of such material.