Rob Kroes Travel Grant 2018

NASA offers a travel grant of €500 to help defray the cost of travel and accommodation for research trips to the United States. The grant is named after Professor Rob Kroes, former NASA and EAAS president and a great promoter of internationalization. The grant is available for Masters and PhD students only. Only NASA members are eligible to apply.

The regulations are as follows:

  1. Applicants must submit a 500-word proposal outlining their research project, an itinerary of their intended research trip to the United States, and a CV;
  2. The deadline for submitting applications is 31 December 2017;
  3. All applications should be sent to the NASA board at nasabestuur@gmail.com;
  4. A committee formed by the Chair, Secretary, and Treasurer of NASA will assess the applications and announce the successful candidate by 15 January, 2018;
  5. Within a month of completing their research trips, each successful candidate will write a brief report (+/-1000 words) on their experience, which will be placed both in the NASA Newsletter and on the NASA website;
  6. The grant should be spent in the year it is awarded.

One of our primary goals is to encourage and assist young scholars in American Studies. This is especially important in times of economic hardship, when funding for research in the humanities is squeezed. Since 2010, NASA has awarded grants of €500 each year to assist Dutch studens who are studying for an MA or PhD to undertake research in the United States.

In order to sustain this initiative – and, we hope, to expand it – NASA is giving members the opportunity to contribute to the Rob Kroes Scholarship Fund. This ring-fenced fund is dedicated solely to the provision of research grants to students at Dutch universities. You may make a one-time contribution or, if you choose, a regular donation. Donors can be published in the NASA-Nieuwsbrief, although you may of course choose to give anonymously. Please give generously! Donation may be transferred directly to the NASA account (IBAN: NL23 INGB000 2976924 and BIC: INGBNL2A). Please indicate whether or not you want your name to appear on the annual list of donors.

The Rob Kroes Scholar Grant 2016 was given to Marie Synofzick. This grant enabled her to conduct research for her master’s thesis from 9 November 2015 till 1 March 2016 in Iowa City and in the Amana Colonies. She wrote a report about her experiences during this time.

Within the scope of my master’s thesis in American Studies I am researching the development of identity in the history of the Amana Colonies in Iowa. The Amana Colonies are a religious group with German origins (started in 1714 in Hessia) who have been living in the United States since the mid-19th century.

In the winter of 2015/2016 I was invited by the University of Iowa to conduct field research as a visiting scholar at the American Studies department. During my time in Iowa I was able to make use of Iowa’s extensive library resources as well as conducting research at the Amana Heritage Museum in the colonies. Besides this, I was able to meet and become friends with members of the Amana church, who have opened their homes and minds to me, teaching me about their community, history and believes. This experience has been invaluable to my research as I was able to interview members of different generations and in this way establish patterns and developments of Amana identity that I could not possibly have found in books or other written primary sources. During my time at the Amana Heritage Museum I was given free range to look through the expansive collection of books, documents and artefacts from all three centuries of Amana history.

Another invaluable source was the museum director, Lanny Haldy, whose infinite knowledge about Amana history has taught me more about the colonies than any book ever could. Through my friendship with members of the church I was able to experience life in Amana as a local would. I was invited to celebrate Thanksgiving at the childhood home of church elder Emilie Hoppe and also attended a church service. This immersion into Amana culture has taught me a lot of respect for the group I am studying and has given me a better understanding of the community, whose members to this day still live within the seven villages of Amana founded by their ancestors.

Aside from my research in the colonies, the faculty and staff of the University of Iowa have also been incredibly helpful and welcoming. I was given an office at the American Studies department and my visa sponsor Professor Stephen Warren supported me academically by encouraging me to apply for a PhD position at the History department, which I was ultimately offered and will start in the fall of this year.

Marie Synofzick