Fellow: Awarded 2008
Field of Study: U.S. History
Competition: US & Canada
Under the umbrella of "the sociology of literature," Wendy Griswold has generated a number of wide-ranging works examining world literatures and their relation to and effect on the cultures that produce them. The titles of her monographs give a sense of the scope of her research: Literature and Social Practice (U of Chicago Press, 1989), which she edited with Philippe Desane and Priscilla Pankhurst Ferguson; Cultures and Societies in a Changing World (Pine Forge Press, 1994; 3rd ed., 2008), which was translated into Italian and Japanese; Places within, places beyond: the question of Norwegian regionalism in literature (Oslo: Institute for Social Research, 1996), which Fredrik Engelstad coauthored; and Bearing Witness: Readers, Writers, and the Novel in Nigeria (Princeton UP, 2000), which won the American Sociological Association's award for best book in cultural sociology. During her Guggenheim Fellowship term, she is researching and writing a book on the federal Writers' Project and American regionalism, the second volume in a proposed trilogy: the first book, Regionalism and the Reading Class, was published by the University of Chicago Press in 2007; the third is tentatively titled American Guides: Cultural Regionalism in the United States from the Nineteenth to the Twentieth Centuries. In this trilogy, Ms. Griswold explains, she is attempting to elucidate how "regional literary culture gives way to national or global trends, and when the culture of place remains robust."
Currently a Professor of Sociology, Comparative Literature, and English at Northwestern University, Wendy Griswold previously taught at Harvard University and the University of Chicago, where she was a Fellow of the Chicago Humanities Institute (1995). She has been on the faculty of Northwestern since 1997, and from 2006 to 2008 held its Arthur Andersen Teaching and Research Chair; she also directs the Culture and Society Workshop at the university's Alice Berline Kaplan Institute for the Humanities. In addition, Ms. Griswold holds the rank of Professor II in Sociology at the University of Oslo. She received degrees in English from Cornell University (A.B., 1968) and Duke University (M.A., 1970), and a Ph.D. in Sociology from Harvard in 1980.
She has been a Fellow at the Stanford Humanities Center and an ACLS Fellow in 1984-85; an NEH Fellow and Fellow at the Center for Advanced Studies in Behavior Sciences in 1990-91; a Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in 1994; and a Jean Monet Fellow at the European University Institute in 1996-97. Her work has also been supported by the Norwegian Research Council, which awarded grants to her and her colleague Fredrik Engelstad for conferences on the subjects "Regional Literatures and Cultural Identity" and "Culture and Power."