Humanities Initiative Dissertation Release

Humanities Initiative Dissertation Release

The Rock Ethics Institute offers graduate student funding via the Rock Ethics Institute Fellow awards in conjunction with the College of the Liberal Arts’ Humanities Dissertation Release program.

This combination of awards is for humanities graduate students who are working on ethics-related topics in their dissertations.

The Rock Ethics Institute Award augments the Humanities Dissertation Release by providing a $1,000 scholarship to support research and related activities for the semester in which the student receives a Humanities Dissertation Release. In addition, award recipients will have the title of Rock Ethics Institute Fellow.

The Rock Ethics Institute Fellows will be asked to contribute to the REI blog and participate in an REI podcast about their sponsored research. They will also be informed of all Rock Ethics Institute events and will be invited to participate in any events that are of interest to them or which would benefit their research. Our Fellows will profit from a stimulating research environment and gain recognition for their affiliation with the Rock Ethics Institute.

How to Apply

Graduate students applying for a Humanities Dissertation Release award who also would like to be considered for a Rock Ethics Institute Fellow award must complete the process as detailed here, on the College of the Liberal Arts’ Center and Institute Fellows Program page.

Meet the 2020–2021 Fellow

Meet Curry Kennedy! Curry Kennedy is a Ph.D. candidate in Penn State’s Department of English, where he studies the long, fraught, and fascinating relationship between rhetoric and religion.

At the heart of his work is the question of how texts, rhetorical training, ethical maturation, and religious transformation come together. In the past, these interests have led him to interact with the prayerful rhetoric of Augustine of Hippo, the prophetic rhetoric of Vibia Perpetua, the sermonic rhetoric of John Milton, and the theological stylistics of Ralph Waldo Emerson. In keeping with this trajectory, for his dissertation, he has turned his attention to the minds and movements of the English reformation.

Kennedy’s dissertation project, “Rhetorical Education and Religious Practice in Early Modern England,” asks how humanist educational reforms and reformation religious practices interanimated one another between the opening of John Colet’s grammar school at St. Paul’s in 1509 and the end of the English Civil War in 1660. Adopting a “cradle-to-grave” organizational scheme, he tracks how religious texts, rituals, and ideas permeated and punctuated the lifespan of early modern writers as they progressed through petty school, grammar school, university, and adult education.