Van Engen wins NEH Public Scholar grant

Abram Van Engen, associate professor of English in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, has won a prestigious Public Scholar grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The award of $25,200 will support Van Engen’s current book project, “The Meaning of America: How the United States Became the City on a Hill.” The book will explore the history and influence of John Winthrop’s widely quoted “City Upon a Hill” sermon (“A Model of Christian Charity”) from 1630 to the present. Van Engen is principal investigator for the City on a Hill Archive, part of the Humanities Digital Workshop in Arts & Sciences. He also teaches the course “City on a Hill: The Concept and Culture of American Exceptionalism.”

Now it its third year, the Public Scholar program supports well-researched books in the humanities intended for a broad readership. Van Engen was among just 28 scholars — and the only one from Missouri — to receive a 2017 Public Scholar award.