UA History Professor Earns Guggenheim Fellowship

Lori Harwood
May 10, 2004

Steve Johnstone, a professor of history at the University of Arizona, has received a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship for 2004-2005. Of the 3,200 applicants, Johnstone was one of 185 granted an award. According to the foundation, "Guggenheim Fellows are appointed on the basis of distinguished achievement in the past and exceptional promise for future accomplishment."

"We are very proud to have someone of Steve's caliber in our College," said Ed Donnerstein, dean of the UA College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. "It is also quite a testament to the quality of the history department that both this year and last year there was only one Guggenheim awarded to the UA, and both times the recipient was a history professor."

(Susan C. Karant-Nunn, director of the Division of Late Medieval and Reformation Studies in the history department, won a Guggenheim last year.)

Johnstone's research project, "A History of Trust in Classical Greece," argues that democracy and markets grew and flourished in classical Greece because of new forms of impersonal trust (coinage, standardized measures, rhetoric, etc.). While personal trust remained important in both arenas, the rise of impersonal systems allowed strangers to interact without personal trust.

Ancient philosophic critiques of both democracy and markets often focused on the role of impersonal trust. Impersonal trust is both a novel lens through which to write Greek political, economic, social and philosophic history as well as a powerful analytic tool to link them all together.

Johnstone said that the Guggenheim allows him "a long and uncluttered period" to pursue his project. He will be a scholar in residence at the Institute for Research in the Humanities at the University of Wisconsin-Madison during 2004-2005.


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Steve Johnstone
UA history dept.
Lori Harwood
SBS communications coordinator