UNI associate professor awarded competitive National Endowment for the Humanities grant

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa – Jolene Zigarovich, associate professor of languages and literatures at the University of Northern Iowa, was awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) grant for her work on the 18th-century British novel that will focus on the historical facts concerning funerary practices in Britain and the culture's overall relationship with mortality. Zigarovich's project title is "Death and Corpses in the 18th-Century British Novel," and her award amount is $6,000.

NEH grants are highly competitive and involve a rigorous peer-review process to ensure that the projects represent the highest level of humanities quality and public engagement.

With her NEH stipend, Zigarovich plans to consult sources and mourning objects (clothing, jewelry, relics) at the British Museum, the British Library, and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, England. She will also consult lectures and medical treatises as well as numerous preserved curiosities, images of which she plans to include in her book. The NEH stipend is in support of her book project "Preserving Clarissa, and other Morbid Curiosities in the Eighteenth-Century British Novel," which discusses several works, including Samuel Richardson’s "Clarissa," Ann Radcliffe’s "The Mysteries of Udolpho" and Laurence Sterne’s "Tristram Shandy."

"By incorporating a variety of historical discourses—wills, undertaking histories, medical studies, philosophical treatises and religious tracts—my book illuminates a shift in control over death and the body from religious institutions to the individual," said Zigarovich. "This resulted in secular and aesthetic approaches to death and dying."

Through her research and consultations, Zigarovich argues that as approaches to death and mourning became more individualized and secular in the 18th century, objects, symbols, visual reminders and often-eroticized representations of death rose in popularity. "This project thereby asks us to reassess the 18th-century response to and representation of the dead and dead-like body," said Zigarovich.

For more information about Zigarovich's research and book, contact her at 319-273-2043 or jolene.zigarovich@uni.edu. For more information about the National Endowment for the Humanities, visit www.neh.gov.


Jolene Zigarovich, associate professor, languages and literatures, 319-273-2043, jolene.zigarovich@uni.edu

Lindsay Cunningham, Office of University Relations, 319-273-2761, lindsay.cunningham@uni.edu