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Dr. Edward Woell Nominated by WIU for NEH Summer Stipend

Sep 20, 2010

Dr. Edward Woell, Associate Professor of History, is one of only two WIU faculty members nominated by Western Illinois University for the prestigious National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Summer Fellowship for Summer 2011. Dr. Woell's historical research will dramatically enhance our understanding of the indispensability of Catholic citizens to the French Revolution's comprehensive development.

Drawing from archival research on fifty-two small towns, Dr. Woell's long-term project will demonstrate how, as national microcosms, small towns aptly reveal how and why ordinary Catholics were central to five revolutionary dynamics: Old-Regime religious dissonance; fissures over the new regime; socio-political polarization; state centralization; and the making of mass democracy. The NEH Summer Stipend will fund his research at two sites in Paris: the Archives Nationales (CARAN), which holds files of the centralized administration, including reports about religious disturbances during the revolutionary era; and the Bibliothèque de la Société de Port-Royal, where correspondence of the abbé Henri Grégoire, a pro-revolutionary bishop who often communicated with small-town clergy, is held.

Dr. Woell's archival research into the regional complexity of the role that religion played in the French Revolution will ultimately result in his second book, a study that will be truly national in scope and based on a representative sampling of the diverse forms of the Church in different regions of France. Prof. Woell is an already published scholar in the field; his first book, Small-Town Martyrs & Murderers: Religious Revolution & Counterrevolution in Western France, 1774-1914, received outstanding reviews in the American Historical Review (the leading journal in the discipline of history) as well as in a number of specialized historical journals. He has also presented his research at the Annual Meeting of the Society for French Historical Studies on several occasions and has won a number of other grants and awards to support his research.

In addition to the significant contribution to the scholarly understanding of the impact of the French Revolution which Prof. Woell's research promises to provide, it contributes also to WIU's commitment to academic excellence, as insights from his research will enrich his undergraduate and graduate course offerings in the field of revolutionary-era European history.

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