Pitt-Greensburg professor awarded competitive NEH Summer Stipend Grant

Jessica L. Ghilani, PhD, assistant professor of Communication at the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg, has been awarded a prestigious National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Summer Stipend grant for 2016. Ghilani was selected in a rigorous multi-stage peer review process for her book project, “Selling Soldiering: Advertising for US Army Volunteers since 1914.” 

Based on archival research collected at the National Museum of American History, “Selling Soldiering” argues that “the origins of volunteer military recruitment strategies and sales pitches can be detected deep into the history of 20th century conscription, before the draft’s overturn in 1973.” Using advertising tear sheets, industry memos, government documents, unpublished archival records, published works, and copious secondary sources, Ghilani reveals that “recruiting appeals made to women as well as to other targeted demographic groups depended more so on the surrounding social and political contexts than the recruitment model used to fill military ranks.”  She writes in her abstract that “representations (from advertising) deeply inform public opinions, assumptions, and notions of civic obligation over time.”

Ghilani, who lives in Pittsburgh, teaches courses in advertising history, media studies, and digital communication at Pitt-Greensburg. Her research has been funded by the American Association of University Women, the Smithsonian Institution, and the University of Pittsburgh Central Research Development Fund. Prior to her current book project, which will be published with the University of Iowa Press, she has published articles in the “Journal of Communication Inquiry” and the “Minerva Journal of Women and War.”

Today (March 23), the NEH released grantee names that included faculty of all ranks and independent scholars providing, “support for projects across America that preserve our heritage, promote scholarly discoveries, and make the best of America’s humanities ideas available to all Americans,” said NEH Chairman William D. Adams. “We are proud to announce this latest group of grantees who, through their projects and research, will bring valuable lessons of history and culture to Americans.”

Summer Stipends provide funding to support continuous full-time work on a humanities project for a period of two consecutive months. From the NEH.gov website, “In the last five competitions the Summer Stipends program received an average of 930 applications per year. The program made an average of 81 awards per year, for a funding ratio of 9 percent.” 

Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at: www.neh.gov.

Founded in 1963, the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg is a publicly assisted, four-year, liberal arts college in southwestern Pennsylvania. Pitt-Greensburg offers 26 baccalaureate degree programs, including new majors in Public Policy, Education, and Spanish, as well as 19 minors. More than 18 percent of Pitt-Greensburg’s full-time faculty—the highest percentage of any University of Pittsburgh campus—have received the prestigious University-wide Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award.

Publication Date

Wednesday, March 23, 2016 - 1:00pm