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BYU history professor receives three top grants for book research

Eric Dursteler, a professor in Brigham Young University’s Department of History, recently received separate grants from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Fellowship at the Huntington Library, the Folger Library Short-term Fellowship and the Franklin Research Grant from the American Philosophical Society.

Dursteler will use the three grants to research different aspects of a book he is writing titled “Around the Mediterranean Table.” The research will focus on food scholars and food in the Mediterranean from the 16thand 17th centuries. He hopes to use food as a window to understand the relationship between the Ottoman Empire and the rest of Europe, and between Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

With little research money to go around in the academic world, Dursteler applied for a dozen grants to fund his studies. “I was shocked to received one, and happy to receive three,” he said, noting that the grants are prestigious and extremely competitive.

The Huntington Library in San Marino, Calif., and the Folger Library in Washington, D.C., are libraries with priceless collections of early printed works. Dursteler received grants to study specific documents there.

The Franklin Research Grant is designed to help with the costs of travel to libraries and archives for research papers. Dursteler used the grant to travel to the Mediterranean this summer to do on-site research.

While the book, “Around the Mediterranean Table” is still several years away from publication, Dursteler will have two separate articles in academic journals published by the end of the year based on the initial research conducted as a result of the grants.

He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from BYU before going on to Brown University to earn another master’s and a doctoral degree. Dursteler joined the History Department in 1998 and primarily researches the early modern Mediterranean, identity, conversion and the history of food, and teaches a wide range of courses.

In 2006-2007, Dursteler was a fellow of the Harvard Center for Italian Renaissance Studies in Florence, Italy, and he is a former Fulbright fellow and National Endowment for the Humanities fellow.

For more information, contact Eric Dursteler at (801) 422-5260 or at

Writer: Preston Wittwer

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