Monday, Jan. 4, 2010
K-STATE HISTORY PROFESSOR TO BE FULBRIGHT SCHOLAR IN VIENNA
MANHATTAN -- A Kansas State University professor will spend most of the spring semester at a prestigious research center in Vienna as a Fulbright scholar.
K-State's Brent Maner, associate professor of history, will be a senior visiting fellow at the International Research Center for the Cultural Sciences in Vienna from March through June. The U.S. and Austrian governments are jointly funding his Fulbright grant.
"The center supports several scholars each semester from Austria and around the world. It holds a regular research colloquium, which I will participate in, and encourages fellows to establish connections to scholars in Vienna," Maner said. "I look forward to working with the other scholars who will be at the center while I am there. The grant also provides housing for my four months in Vienna and a stipend -- this financial support is very important for international research."
Maner, who is on sabbatical leave from K-State for the 2009-2010 school year, spent much of fall 2009 working in Berlin and Frankfurt, Germany, on his research project, "Cities of Speculation: Cultural Representations of the Vienna, Berlin and Frankfurt Stock Exchanges from 1866 to 1933." He also will work on the project while in Vienna.
"I'll be working in the Austrian National Library and the library of the University of Vienna," Maner said. "These two institutions have great collections of newspapers and books that covered the Vienna and other European stock markets in the late 19th and early 20th centuries."
Maner said the stock market expanded rapidly after 1870, which led to many "how to" books that explained how banks and the stock exchange worked.
"There also were many academic studies of the market and recommendations for reform. Like today, these discussions were most intense after downturns in the stock market," he said.
"I will be reading lots of newspapers from Frankfurt, Vienna and Berlin. All of these cities had daily papers that covered a wide range of topics, but they also had more focused papers that concentrated on social and economic questions," Maner said. "I'm particularly interested in these kinds of papers because they contain in-depth discussions of the stock exchange and market reform."
Maner also plans to read novels and impressionistic essays from the time period that featured bankers, brokers and stock market speculators in their story lines.
"It turns out that financial actors figured prominently in 19th-century literature -- authors viewed them both as new actors in the modern city and as shady figures who often used inside knowledge to make lots of money," he said.
Maner said he would like to use his research to develop an undergraduate course about the history of European cities, including Vienna.
He also said his Fulbright experience will be beneficial to K-State and the department of history.
"It is important for faculty to have these kinds of research experiences so that we can continue to train our graduate students and maintain a well-regarded program," he said. "I also think my experience can encourage K-State students -- especially history students -- to look for international experiences that would enhance their own academic interests."
The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. The U.S. scholar program sends approximately 1,100 American scholars and professionals per year to around 125 countries, where they lecture and/or conduct research in a wide variety of academic and professional fields.