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MacArthur Fellowship Presented to Rutgers-Camden History Professor
Jacob Soll Wins "Genius Grant"; Only Award Presented in Delaware Valley
CAMDEN – Jacob Soll, a professor of history at Rutgers University–Camden and a global expert on Machiavelli, is one of 22 Americans selected as 2011 MacArthur Fellows, according to an announcement issued by the MacArthur Foundation today.
Soll’s MacArthur Fellowship is the only one awarded to a Delaware Valley recipient in 2011. It is the first received on the Rutgers–Camden campus.
Sometimes known as the “genius grant,” the extraordinarily competitive MacArthur Fellowship celebrates individuals who show exemplary creativity in their work and the potential for still more in the future. The five-year, $500,000 grant also awarded on the basis of a clear record of significant achievement.
Recipients are nominated anonymously by leaders in their respective fields and never notified of their candidacy. Awardees must be citizens or residents of the United States and must not hold elective office or advance positions in government.
The fellowship seeks to provide recipients with the seed money to pursue their intellectual, artistic, and social endeavors without specific obligations or reporting requirements. Recipients have included scientists, historians, poets, artists, and public servants.
Soll, 42, has earned an international reputation for his incisive insights into the histories of the birth of information culture in the European tradition, mixing the histories of science, finance, libraries, and politics. His current research examines the role of accounting in the rise and crises of the modern state from Renaissance Italy to modern day Wall Street, as well as the role of libraries in the birth of political liberty and state-building.
His works has commanded such significant honors as John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellow (2009-10); the Jacques Barzun Prize in Cultural History from the American Philosophical Society (2005); a Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities (2005-06); and the Selma V. Forkosch Prize for the Best Article Published in the Journal of the History of Ideas in the Year 2000. He has served as the Fernand Braudel Senior Fellow at the European University Institute in Florence, Italy (2007) and as a visiting scholar at Cambridge University’s Trinity College (2009).
The Rutgers–Camden scholar has authored the critically acclaimed books The Information Master: Jean-Baptiste Colbert’s Secret State Intelligence System (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2009; paperback second edition, 2011) and Publishing the Prince: History, Reading, and the Birth of Political Criticism 1513-1789 (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2005; paperback second edition, 2009).
His forthcoming books include The Reckoning: Lessons from the Tortured History of Finance and Political Accountability, Genoa 1340-Wall Street 1929 (Basic Books); The Enlightenment Library and the Quest for Universal Knowledge (Yale University Press); and Jean-Baptiste Colbert’s Economic Writings (Anthem Press).
“This signature achievement by Dr. Jacob Soll represents the natural trajectory of his academic career and extraordinary contributions to a multidisciplinary study of history,” says Wendell Pritchett, chancellor of the Rutgers–Camden campus.
“Rutgers applauds Dr. Soll for this landmark accomplishment. Every Rutgers student, professor, and graduate, and every New Jersey citizen, should be justifiably proud of the high caliber of faculty that attract students from across the nation to Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.”
“Jake Soll is a global leader in his field of history, and both undergraduate and graduate students at Rutgers–Camden have the unparalleled opportunity to learn directly from someone of his impressive caliber,” says Kriste Lindenmeyer, dean of the Rutgers–Camden Faculty of Arts and Sciences. “His students and colleagues applaud Dr. Soll. His work defines a new level of knowledge for future generations, and Rutgers–Camden students interested in history or intellectual discourse are fortunate for the chance to study with him.”
Soll joined the Rutgers–Camden history faculty in 1999. He earned his PhD in early modern European history from Cambridge University in 1998 and his bachelor’s degree from the University of Iowa in 1991. He is serving as a referee on the European Research Council; is the 2012 Program Committee Chair for the American Historical Association; and is on the editorial board of the journal French Historical Studies. He is co-founder and associate editor of Republic of Letters, a journal founded at Stanford University. He has contributed articles to The New Republic, The New York Times, and Book Forum.
He resides in the University District section of Philadelphia with his wife, Ellen Wayland-Smith, an award-winning teacher at the Agnes Irwin School and a graduate of Princeton's PhD program in literature. They have two daughters, Sophia and Lydia.
Rutgers–Camden enrolls approximately 6,800 students in 34 undergraduate and 21 graduate programs. Rutgers–Camden faculty are respected internationally for their significant contributions to the advancement of knowledge across many disciplines. The 40-acre campus is located in the heart of the University District at the Camden Waterfront. More information is available at camden.rutgers.edu.
The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation supports creative people and effective institutions committed to building a more just, verdant, and peaceful world. More information is available at macfound.org.
Media Contact: Mike Sepanic