AHA Activities

2014 NASA and Jameson Fellowships Awarded

Elizabeth Elliott | Sep 2, 2014

The AHA is pleased to announce the recipients of the J. Franklin Jameson Fellowship in American History and the Fellowship in Aerospace History.

The J. Franklin Jameson Fellowship in American History is offered annually by the Library of Congress and the American Historical Association to support early-career historians in conducting significant scholarly research at the Library of Congress. The 2014–15 fellowship has been awarded to M. Scott Heerman, Patrick Henry Scholar in the Department of History at Johns Hopkins University.


Photo Credit: Christopher Richmond

M. Scott Heerman, recipient of the 2014 J. Franklin Jameson Fellowship in American History.

Heerman plans to develop his doctoral dissertation into a book tentatively titled Deep River: Slavery, Empire, and Emancipation in the Upper Mississippi Valley. Deep River examines the rise and fall of slavery in the heart of North America from a continental perspective, showing how many processes that defined slavery in the Atlantic World also operated in the Mississippi Valley. Heerman argues that a “broad constellation of colonialism” framed the struggle for emancipation in Illinois, as local legal proceedings initiated by African Americans and their white allies eventually allowed a free society to emerge.

During the fellowship, Heerman will take advantage of having domestic access to the many international and non-English sources housed within the Library of Congress’s Manuscript Reading Room. First, he will consult Canadian records that complement his previous study of French colonial records of Louisiana between 1710 and 1760. In order to situate the Mississippi Valley within the context of a global British empire, Heerman will analyze imperial correspondence records from the Foreign Copying Project for Great Britain. Finally, sources from the American Colonization Society (ACS) should give insight into how emancipation voyages illuminate the connections between empire and emancipation.

The 2014–15 Fellowship in Aerospace History, sponsored by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and administered by the AHA, has been awarded to Brian Jirout, PhD candidate in the School of History, Technology, and Society at the Georgia Institute of Technology. The NASA Fellowship funds advanced research projects in all aspects of aerospace history.


Photo Credit: Mindy O’Donnell

Brian Jirout, recipient of the 2014 Fellowship in Aerospace History.

The NASA Fellowship will help Jirout complete his dissertation, “One Space Age Development for the World: The American Landsat Civil Remote Sensing Program in Use, 1964–2014.” Landsat is a NASA satellite program, currently in its 40th year of operation, that uses remote sensing technology to map global environmental change. The success of the project led to the development of a “remote sensing market” in the 1980s, allowing Landsat technology to be internationally commercialized. Jirout’s current research situates Landsat as an instrument of Cold War policy making that incited significant debate between the national security establishment and the scientific community.

Jirout’s longtime interests in cartography and space technology have given him a firm grasp of not only the history of the Landsat program, but also the technological principles behind it. He hopes to interview remote sensing specialists and engineers involved with Landsat’s implementation. He will also spend time at Canadian, American, and UN archives in order to develop a more thorough understanding of the program’s role in global affairs. Most importantly, the fellowship will enable Jirout to access the vast network of data contained within NASA’s Goddard Spaceflight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, and at NASA headquarters in Washington, DC.

Elizabeth Elliott is program assistant at the AHA.

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