Two GW Professors Receive Guggenheim Fellowships

Sarah Wagner and Andrew Zimmerman will use competitive grant winnings to write books on missing U.S. service members in Vietnam and the U.S. Civil War, respectively.

June 22, 2017

Andrew Zimmerman and Sarah Wagner.

Andrew Zimmerman and Sarah Wagner.

By Ruth Steinhardt

Two George Washington University professors received prestigious John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowships this year: Sarah Wagner, an associate professor of anthropology, and Andrew Zimmerman, professor of history.

Dr. Wagner described her work as exploring “the connections between the destructive and creative forces of war,” particularly the ways in which war spurs both perpetrators and victims of violence to innovation.

The author most recently of “To Know Where He Lies: DNA Technology and the Search for Srebrenica’s Missing,” Dr. Wagner will use her fellowship to fund her third book, tentatively titled “Bringing Them Home: The Identification and Commemoration of Vietnam War MIAs.” The book will focus on efforts to account for and memorialize missing U.S. service members from the Vietnam War, more than 1,600 of whom are still unaccounted for, and the changing political and scientific contexts in which those efforts have taken place.

Dr. Zimmerman’s research focuses on empires and revolutionary history. He, too, will use the fellowship to facilitate the writing of his third book, “Conjuring Freedom: A Global History  of the American Civil War.” Quoted on the Guggenheim Foundation website, Dr. Zimmerman said the book “offers not only a new interpretation of the U.S. Civil War but also a model for rethinking archetypical national events like the U.S. Civil War from a perspective that is transnational, deprovincializing and ‘from below’”—exploring the interactions of multi-ethnic political and religious movements that informed the fight against slavery.  During the 2017-2018 academic year, Dr. Zimmerman will be a member of the School of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N.J.

The Guggenheim Foundation, intended to spur continuing work from established and productive scholars and artists, awards about 175 fellowships of varying types each year from a pool of approximately 3,000 applicants.