Brittain Fellow Kent Linthicum Awarded American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship

Kent Linthicum

Posted April 16, 2021

Kent Linthicum, a Marion L. Brittain Postdoctoral Fellow in the School of Literature, Media, and Communication (LMC), has earned a significant fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies.

Linthicum is one of 60 recipients of this year's ACLS Fellowship, which seeks to support “outstanding scholarship in the humanities and humanistic social sciences with the potential to make significant contributions to knowledge within and across fields,” according to the ACLS website.

For humanities scholars, the fellowship is similar in stature to the National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER) Award, said LMC Chair Richard Utz.

“This is a prestigious honor that reflects the high quality of Kent’s work,” Utz said. “We are enormously proud of him and this accomplishment.”

Linthicum, who will use the award to help complete his book, Crowning Coal: Slavery, Fossil Fuels, and Literature 1755–1865, said the award announcement took him by surprise.

“I am stunned,” Linthicum said, “I had to re-read the e-mail multiple times to be certain that I was actually reading what was written. I haven’t felt this kind of shock since I got into graduate school.”

ACLS President Joy Connolly said in a statement that this year’s awardees and their work represent an “exciting diversity.”

“ACLS is deeply proud to support emerging scholars of special promise and to advance important research representing perspectives on the human experience that have traditionally been marginalized,” Connolly said.

The ACLS award usually goes to tenure-track faculty. This year the organization specifically solicited non-tenure-track faculty due to the economic crisis caused in that population by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Linthicum  — whose research focuses on energy and environmental humanities in the 18th and 19th centuries — earned a Ph.D. from Arizona State University and has worked as a Brittain Fellow at Georgia Tech since 2018.

The Brittain Fellowship is a highly selective program that offers opportunities for new scholars to develop teaching and scholarship in writing and communication, emphasizing rhetoric, process, and multimodality. Fellows typically teach three sections of English 1101, English 1102, or LMC 3403, tailoring their teaching to their research interests while meeting state and university objectives and outcomes.

While Linthicum said he cherishes opportunities to teach and work with students, he said the award will help him carve out time to complete his book— a crucial step in his field.

“I am very fortunate to be a postdoctoral fellow here at Georgia Tech, and also to receive this award, which will allow me to complete important research that I hope will help move us towards a more sustainable and environmentally responsible future,” Linthicum said.

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Michael Pearson