Claudio Saunt, Regents’ Professor and Russell Professor of American History in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, has been awarded a 2022 Fellowship by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. Saunt is one of 180 artists, writers, scholars, and scientists honored across 51 fields.
Guggenheim Fellowships are intended for individuals who have already demonstrated exceptional capacity for productive scholarship or exceptional creative ability in the arts.
Saunt is widely recognized as one of the nation’s foremost scholars of Native American history and a pioneer in the field of digital history. He is the author of four books that have been received with widespread acclaim, both within and beyond the scholarly community. His most recent book, “Unworthy Republic: The Dispossession of Native Americans and the Road to Indian Territory” (W.W. Norton, 2020), was a finalist for the National Book Award and is the winner of the Bancroft Prize in American History, the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award and the Ridenhour Prize. “Unworthy Republic” was also a New York Times critics’ top book of 2020 and a Washington Post top 10 book of 2020. His previous book, “West of the Revolution: An Uncommon History of 1776” (WW Norton, 2014), was shortlisted for the Cundill Prize in Historical Literature and earned the Harry M. Ward Prize for the best book on the American Revolution.
Saunt’s Fellowship project, “The Land Beneath Our Feet,” maps in depth and detail the Cherokee families who lost their homes in the Southeast in the 1830s, creating a virtual representation of the Cherokee Nation just before the United States drove its sixteen thousand citizens off their farms and across the Mississippi River. It relies on a unique set of records, produced by the federal government, that make the Cherokees perhaps the best-documented people in the entire world in the 1830s.
“It's an honor to be included among the Guggenheim Fellows this year and especially to join other scholars and artists whose work I’ve long admired,” Saunt said.
Saunt’s digital humanities scholarship includes the Invasion of America project, which maps every treaty and executive order between 1776 and 1887 to illustrate the incremental process by which of the U.S. government seized over 1.5 billion acres from indigenous people. It has been featured in media outlets such as The New York Times and Washington Post, museum exhibitions that include the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, and the ConnectED initiative of the White House.
2022 is the second consecutive and third recent year in which a faculty member in the Franklin College department of history has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship. Cindy Hahamovitch, B. Phinizy Spalding Distinguished Professor of Southern History, was a 2021 Fellow and Scott Nelson, Georgia Athletic Association Professor, was a member of the 2019 class.
Image: Claudio Saunt