The AHA is delighted to report that Tiya Miles and Jacob Soll, two of the Association’s members, are among the 22 people recognized today with grants from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. These prestigious and munificent grants are awarded to recognize creative accomplishments in varied fields. The $500,000 grants can be used by the recipients in any way they wish, and are awarded as much for the record of accomplishment as for the promise of future contributions.
Tiya Miles, is professor of history in the College of Literature, Science and the Arts at the University of Michigan, where she is also professor director of the Department of Afroamerican and African Studies. She holds other joint appointments as well, in the American Culture Program, the Native American Studies Program and the Department of Women Studies. Miles received her BA in Afro-American studies from Harvard University in 1992, her MA in women’s studies from Emory University in 1995, and her PhD in American studies from the University of Minnesota in 2000. Her major publications include Ties That Bind: The Story of an Afro-Cherokee Family in Slavery and Freedom (Univ. of California Press, 2005), and The House on Diamond Hill: A Cherokee Plantation Story (Univ. of North Carolina Press, 2010). A public historian who researched historic sites for her wide-ranging and insightful studies of the interrelationships between African Americans and Native Americans, Tiya Miles is also a public intellectual who takes a keen interest in connecting scholarship to the community.
Jacob Soll is professor of history at Rutgers University, Camden, and is known for his scholarship on the cultural and intellectual history of early modern Europe. Soll received his BA from the University of Iowa in 1991; a DEA from the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris, in 1993; and the PhD from Cambridge University in 1998. His major publications include Publishing The Prince: History, Reading, and the Birth of Political Criticism (Univ. of Michigan Press, 2005) and The Information Master: Jean Baptiste Colbert’s Secret State Intelligence System (Univ. of Michigan Press, 2009). Soll is currently investigating library catalogues in the Enlightenment as well as the role of accounting in the making of the modern state. The MacArthur Fellowship is an addition to a long list of honors he has already received, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, and the Jacques Barzun Prize from the American Philosophical Society. Wendell Pritchett, the chancellor of the Rutgers-Camden campus was quoted in a university press release as saying, “This signature achievement by Dr. Jacob Soll represents the natural trajectory of his academic career and extraordinary contributions to a multidisciplinary study of history.”
An active AHA member, Soll is also the chair of the Program Committee that has put together the sessions for the 126th annual meeting of the AHA to be held in Chicago in January 2012. Steeped in the early modern past though he is, Jacob Soll also has a clear eye on the future of the discipline as it is shaped by new technologies, and has helped to organize a fascinating history and technology thread with the rubric of "The Future is Here," for the Chicago annual meeting.
Update: September 21, 2011
Responding to questions from AHA Today, Soll wrote in an e-mail message, “I am so, so happy. I am going to spend the money on wine and old time learning! I want to hide out in Paris in old libraries, take notes, sleep on my desk, write books and see odd movies in little theaters.
History is about having time to think, meander, find strange connections and follow improbable leads. The MacArthur will let me put some of this humanity back into my research and life!”