September 1, 2014  

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Professors Selected for National Endowment for the Humanities Competition

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The University of Southern Mississippi recently nominated two faculty members who were selected for the National Endowment for the Humanities summer stipend competition.

Kenneth Swope, professor and director of graduate studies for the Department of History at the Hattiesburg campus, and Douglas Bristol, Gulf Coast associate professor of history, were chosen as Southern Miss’ nominees to compete nationally for a research stipend in summer 2014.

The competition is designed to help support scholarship, research, and overall activity in the humanities. Winners of the stipend will be awarded funding that supports their specific research projects over a two-month period in summer 2014.

If selected, Bristol will receive funding to complete his book, A Coming Revolution: Civil Rights Struggles in the Military During World War II, during the summer semester.

Swope, if chosen, will conduct field research in China while working on writing the sequel to his book The Military Collapse of China's Ming Dynasty, 1618-1644. He would also visit various libraries and archives, conducting research by reading diaries, histories and studying various historical accounts. The stipend would allow him to further his research on one of China’s historically infamous rebels, Zhang Xianzhong, known as the “Yellow Tiger.”

On the Trail of the Yellow Tiger: War, Trauma, and Social Dislocation in Southwest China During the Ming-Qing Transition, Swope’s book in progress, will recount the biographical story of a peasant rebel’s life during the 17th century, including the destruction he caused in China with his “adopted” sons, fellow peasant rebels who served as his military commanders.

“Part of the fun in all of this is just telling the story. The story is not that well-known outside of China, so I want to make it available to the English-speaking audience. This peasant rebel was a really interesting figure in China’s history, and someone needs to tell his story, it might as well be me,” said Swope.

If Swope is awarded the stipend, his research in China will begin in June. Starting in Beijing, he will eventually work his way into the south of China, following the footsteps of his subject and using archives in Sichuan province.

“The neat thing is that it’s very competitive. Only four percent of people nominated actually receive the stipend award. So, it’s a prestigious award, and it would be an honor to receive,” said Swope.

Swope and Bristol will find out the results of the national competition in March 2014.