Flamming Receives Guggenheim Fellowship and Geoffrey Eichholz Teaching Award

Douglas Flamming, professor in the Ivan Allen College School of History, Technology, and Society has been honored with two prestigious awards that recognize his prowess in both scholarship and in teaching.

The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation named Flamming a 2012 Fellow in support of his research on his fourth book, “Law of Promise: the Civil Rights Act of 1964.”

“This Act transformed American society and politics,” observes Flamming. “Its foremost goal was to destroy Jim Crow racism in all walks of life.  In addition, it outlawed discrimination against women in the workplace.”

“I intend the book to be a study of democracy in action.  The narrative will focus on Congress and the passage of the Act, highlighting the pressures from all directions – civil rights protests, constituents, and the White House.   My challenge – and my opportunity -- will be to recreate the 88th Congress without losing sight of the fire hoses and attack dogs in Birmingham, without losing sight of Lyndon Johnson’s towering ambitions, without losing the voices of ordinary constituents across the country.  My hope is that both scholars and general readers will see this transformative moment in a new light.”

Flamming is an internationally recognized historian who has published multiple prize-winning books and already earned some of the most prestigious fellowships available to scholars in the liberal arts.  The Guggenheim Fellowship places him among an impressive cadre of scholars who have “added to the educational, literary, artistic, and scientific power of the U.S and the cause of better international understanding.”

Flamming's Award-Winning Undergraduate Teaching

Flamming was also recognized this month with Georgia Tech’s Geoffrey Eichholz Teaching Award. The award is given annually by the Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning (CETL) to two faculty members who excel in their teaching of foundation courses (freshman and sophomore courses) at Georgia Tech. 

“Doug is the epitome of a scholar-teacher,” said HTS Chair Steve Usselman, who noted that Flamming’s classes - which are not required - are always full to capacity.

“He is an enormously creative and daring instructor of undergraduates. His appeal springs from his generous spirit, which finds expression in his steady devotion to the craft of teaching -- above all, to cultivating and utilizing the power of the spoken word. Doug commands the room through his command of language.  His lectures are the stuff of legend; they are the sorts of experiences that stick with people for a lifetime.”

Rather than presenting a conventional survey of major events that students could glean from a text, Flamming’s courses are an extended exploration of the idea of freedom in the U.S. since the Civil War. “How, he asks, have various groups and individuals perceived themselves to be growing more, or less, free?”

Flamming's devotion to working through that enormously complex issue with hundreds of undergraduates each semester led him to rewrite one of his scholarly books from scratch. He wanted his work to speak more effectively to questions that had come to him from his students. 

“His commitment to teaching, far from interfering with his research, infused his scholarship with new meaning and significance,” said Usselman.

The Guggenheim Fellowship speaks clearly for Dr. Flamming’s scholarship. A recent graduate of the Honors Program offered simpler praise when asked what advice she had for incoming students: “Take a class from Dr. Flamming.”

Flamming was the recipient of the ANAK award, the Course Instructor Opinion Survey (CIOS) Teaching Excellence Award in 2010-21011 and the Donald H. Pflueger Local History Award in 2006-2007.  Read more about Doug Flamming.

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Rebecca Keane