OSU English professor uses National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship to research WWII radio, television
Monday, April 17, 2023
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Oklahoma State University professor Stacy Takacs was awarded and has completed a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) fellowship.
A professor in the Department of English and the American Studies program, Dr. Takacs was selected to work on her manuscript ‘We Bring You Home’: The American Forces Network and US Militarism Post-WWII. The book examines the 80-year history of the American Forces Radio and Television Service (AFRTS or also known as AFN), which supplied news, entertainment and command information to U.S. military personnel overseas.
“I took a research trip to the National Archives and Records Administration in College Park, Maryland, early in the term to complete some research that was delayed by COVID closures,” Takacs said. “Once that was done, I sat, and I wrote, and I sat, and I wrote. In seven months, I completed two full chapters and four smaller vignettes that will be featured as insets in the book.”
NEH fellowships are competitive awards that are granted to individuals to produce scholarly works that add value to the humanities and the general public. The fellowship offers recipients like Takacs the gift of time — the opportunity to focus solely on their work, as NEH expects full-time commitment to the project. Recipients are unable to accept teaching assignments or engage in other activities that could detract from their term commitment.
In her research, Takacs uncovered a gap that she was eager to dive deeper into. Thanks to an OSU College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) travel grant, she will get that opportunity.
“While at the National Archive, I discovered a trove of important material related to AFN’s use as a public diplomacy tool during the Cold War,” Takacs said. “I also discovered a gap related to my research on Vietnam. I will be returning at the end of April to plug that hole and tighten up that chapter.”
Dr. Jeff Menne, Department of English head, commended Takacs’ ambition as an educator. He said her work will benefit the field and bring distinction to the department.
“Dr. Takacs is a rigorous researcher, as this book and the NEH fellowship attest, but she brings the same level of rigor to the classroom, and our students benefit from it,” Menne said. “She models analytical thinking for her students and is impressive in the classroom.”
Takacs is still working on completing the last two chapters of her manuscript. Once the piece is complete, she hopes to continue sharing her work.
“I’d like to create a geographic information system (GIS) map of AFRTS radio and TV stations from 1942 through the present day to illustrate the growth cycles of the network and the broader ‘empire of bases’ it serves,” Takacs said. “I’d hope to make that accessible online. I’d also like to share my archive of materials — which is extensive — on the web.”
Dr. John Kinder, director of the American Studies program, shared in praising Takacs’ accomplishments, noting that this fellowship sets a precedent for faculty and raises the program’s status in both the region and the nation.
“I hope this accomplishment reminds students, faculty and fellow Oklahomans why research universities such as OSU are so valuable,” Kinder said. “It’s because our faculty members are not only award-winning teachers but also world-class scholars.
“Dr. Takacs has already amassed a career’s worth of accomplishments — and I have little doubt that the best is yet to come.”
Story By: Erin Milek, CAS Communications Coordinator | email@example.com