2015 Ekberg Research Grant Awarded to Jacob F. Lee

The 2015 Carl J. Ekberg Research Grant was awarded to Jacob F. Lee, PhD, whose already proven excellence in scholarship and future as a professor and researcher make him truly worthy of this award.

Background and current status:

Lee received his BA in 2005 and MA in 2007 in History from the University of Louisville, and completed his PhD in History in September 2014 at the University of California, Davis. He has received many awards among them an Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship in 2013 and the Richard H. Collins Award for Best Article on Kentucky History in 2014. He is currently a postdoctoral fellow and visiting assistant professor in the Department of History at Indiana University at Bloomington.

Summary of Project:

Lee is currently revising his dissertation for publication. His book project, “Rivers of Power: Indians and Colonists in the North American Midcontinent,” “follows the evolution of social and spatial networks from about A.D. 1300, when the collapse of Cahokia, a Mississippian Indian chiefdom near present-day St. Louis, initiated a centuries-long power struggle, to the 1830s, when the American empire conquered the midcontinent, bringing it under the control of a single polity. By focusing on the centrality of kinship to forming and reinforcing economic and politic alliances and thus to controlling the landscape and acquiring power, this project embeds intertwined Native and imperial histories in the social and physical landscape of the midcontinent to present a new view of colonialism in early North America.” […] “By emphasizing the Illinois Country as a place of convergence in both the social and physical landscape, [Dr. Lee] demonstrates the significance of the region in shaping events on a continental and trans-Atlantic scale, while also highlighting the role of francophone traders, missionaries, soldiers and farmers in the long colonial history of Middle America.”

How the Ekberg Grant Would Aid in Completion of Project:

The Carl J. Ekberg Grant will allow him to conduct research in two French archives essential to his project. First, he will spend three weeks in Aix-en-Provence at the Archives National d’Outre Mer, which holds France’s colonial records from North America. Second, he will spend a week in Paris at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France. This library holds a range of documents and maps related to French colonialism in Middle America. The documents at these repositories will shed light on events in the Illinois Country, while also providing him with a better sense of French visions for North America. Neither of these archives offers financial support for researchers, and the Ekberg Grant will help him pay for airfare to France, travel by train between Paris and Aix-en-Provence, and lodging in both cities.