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Professor Receives Grant from National Endowment for the Humanities

Elizabeth Emery will spend the next year working on a book and open-access digital materials highlighting achievements of East Asian art collector and dealer Florine Langweil

Posted in: Homepage News and Events, Research, World Languages and Cultures

photo of professor Elizabeth Emery smiling in her office

French Professor Elizabeth Emery has received a $60,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to complete her new book, Florine Langweil and the Rise of the East Asian Art Market (1852-1945).

Emery is the only faculty member in the state of New Jersey and one of only 30 professors in the country to receive an “Award for Faculty” grant, which will be part of $33.8 million in NEH funding that will be allocated for 260 humanities projects nationwide. These academic awards will boost the research for book history, manuscript studies, Black education and more.

Five colleges and universities in New Jersey qualified for NEH humanities grants – Ramapo College of New Jersey, Montclair State University, Rutgers University, Rutgers University of Newark, and Princeton University – with Emery being the only individual faculty member in the state to receive funding in this category.

“I am honored to have been awarded this fellowship and incredibly grateful to the National Endowment for the Humanities for so generously supporting projects like this one, dedicated to bringing attention to forgotten stories that reveal the continued importance of community engagement and arts education as valuable tools for understanding and communicating with one another,” says Emery.

Emery’s book, Florine Langweil and the Rise of the East Asian Art Market (1852-1945), uses Langweil’s now-forgotten story to trace the 19th- and 20th-century European and North American fascination for collecting and displaying East Asian art. It was rare for a woman to gain such prominence as a collector and art dealer at this time, yet Langweil was central in European and American networks of sales, museum collections, and educational outreach.

This project will run from August 2024 until July 2025, with an anticipated publication date in 2026.

Emery is the author of numerous books and articles related to 19th-century European and North American cultural studies and the ways in which people responded to medieval and East Asian Art. She teaches undergraduate and graduate-level French language and culture and courses within the University Honors Program. This spring she is teaching a course related to the history and reception of sports in France in the run-up to the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.

“Florine Langweil, who grew up in a marginalized working class community, never forgot her roots,” says Emery. “She dedicated her life to creating scholarships and museum collections that would help those unable to travel to understand people from different regions and cultural backgrounds through the beauty and craftsmanship of their art. We tend to forget just how many of the museums and theaters in our communities today were initiated by people just like Florine Langweil: those who wanted to share the world’s beauty with friends, families, and neighbors.”

For more information activities and course offerings in world languages and cultures at Montclair State University, visit montclair.edu/modern-languages-and-literatures.