Monthly Archives: April 2018

Scott Straus wins Grawemeyer Award for Ideas Improving World Order

by CJS

Political science professor, CJS faculty member, and author Scott Straus has won the 2018 University of Louisville Grawemeyer Award for Ideas Improving World Order for his 2015 book, “Making and Unmaking Nations: War, Leadership, and Genocide in Modern Africa.”

In the book, Straus, who teaches at University of Wisconsin-Madison, explains how ideas and political messages can become tipping points for genocide. His original research examines patterns and circumstances that have resulted in genocide and contrasts those with similar situations where genocide seemed likely to happen but did not. Straus contends that the “founding narratives” of national leaders can determine whether an ethnic minority is tolerated or deemed a threat to the state.

“Straus’s work alerts us to the circumstances under which genocide emerges and he identifies key points when action by national leaders, and efforts by the international community, can halt the slide into mass violence,” said Charles Ziegler, award director and a member of UofL’s department of political science.

Straus specializes in the study of genocide, political violence, human rights and African politics. He has written extensively about violence in Rwanda. His Grawemeyer Award-winning book and others have garnered high acclaim. His honors include an appointment to the United States Holocaust Memorial Council by President Barack Obama. Before starting in academia, Straus was a freelance journalist based in Nairobi, Kenya.

All 2018 Grawemeyer Award winners will be announced this week, pending formal approval by the university’s board of trustees. The University of Louisville presents the prizes annually for outstanding works in music composition, ideas improving world order, psychology and education, and gives a religion prize jointly with Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. The 2018 winners will present free lectures about their award-winning ideas when they visit Louisville in April to accept their $100,000 prizes.

Mark L. Louden named “Alfred L. Shoemaker, J. William Frey, and Don Yoder Professor of German Linguistics”

by CJS

We would like to extend our congratulations to CJS faculty member Mark L. Louden, recently named the Alfred L. Shoemaker, J. William Frey, and Don Yoder Professor of Germanic Linguistics.

Louden earned his A.B. (1984), M.A. (1987), and Ph.D. (1988) in Germanic linguistics at Cornell University. After serving for twelve years on the faculty of the University of Texas at Austin, he joined the Department of German in 2000. Most of his research and public outreach have centered on the Pennsylvania Dutch language and the Amish and Mennonite groups that speak it. His book, Pennsylvania Dutch: The Story of an American Language (Johns Hopkins UP, 2016), is the first comprehensive history of the language in its cultural and social contexts. In addition to his work on Pennsylvania Dutch, he has published on other German-American languages as well as Yiddish. He has held guest professorships at the Universities of Giessen, Marburg, and Freiburg in Germany and is the recipient of several awards for teaching and research. Committed to the Wisconsin Idea, he delivers approximately twenty-five outreach presentations across the state each year and serves as an interpreter and cultural mediator for Amish in multiple settings.

In 1949, Alfred L. Shoemaker, J. William Frey, and Don Yoder, founded what was at that time a unique institution in American academia, the Pennsylvania Dutch Folklore Center. Devoted in equal measure to rigorous scholarship and public outreach, the PDFC under the leadership of Shoemaker, Frey, and Yoder set out to document and interpret the history, language, and culture of the people known as the Pennsylvania Dutch and to disseminate the fruits of their research among both scholarly and general audiences.