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MMC History Professor Awarded Kennan Institute and Dirksen Congressional Center Grants

Dr. Lauren Erin Brown, Associate Professor of History and Politics and Human Rights, has received two grants to support her new book project, Cold War, Culture War, War on Terror: The Art of Public Diplomacy in a Post-Cold War World.

The first research grant comes from the Kennan Institute at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C., the premier U.S. center for advanced research on Russia and Eurasia, dedicated to improving American understanding of Russia, Ukraine, and the region through research and exchange. The second grant comes from the Dirksen Congressional Center in Illinois, which has funded research on Congress since 1978. Both are designed to support Dr. Brown’s travel to Washington, D.C. during her Fall 2020 academic sabbatical, where she will conduct research at the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian Institution Archives, and the National Archives.

“My expertise is in cultural policy, the intersection of art and politics” Dr. Brown explains. “I’m forever interested in how and why America supports the arts and the impact those policy and money decisions have on the art that actually gets made. Government support of the arts in America is in many ways a by-product of the Cold War, our desire to compete with the Soviet Union, so this work asks what happens when the Cold War ends? When the War on Terror begins? It also will examine the “Culture Wars” of the 1990s, where the National Endowment for the Arts drew scathing criticism for supporting works conservatives felt were pornographic or immoral; they tried unsuccessfully to get the NEA defunded. These are important stories to tell in 2020, as we face a new chapter in the culture wars in an unstable economy where continued support for artists is far from guaranteed.”

Dr. Brown looks forward to bringing what she learns back to campus in Spring 2021. “I want Marymount students to understand college-level history is so much more than the timelines you learned in high school. We have a redesigned major that allows students to focus their study on the history that matters to you, whether that’s African American Film History, Gender and Legal History, Medieval Theatre History, we design a program specifically to your interests, one that also pairs well with other majors. Plus, everyone needs to understand that you can’t change the world unless you understand how this world we live in came to be. Studying history—cultural, social, and political revolutions—provides lessons in shaping your own.”

Published: August 28, 2020