Shana Klein Receives Farris Family Innovation Award

Dr. Shana Klein, Assistant Professor of Art History, received the Farris Family Innovation Award to help fund her book project, “The Fruits of Empire: Art, Food, and the Politics of Race in the Age of National Expansion.”  This three year fellowship is offered to full-time tenure-track (not yet tenured) faculty at Kent State University to support their research.  Each research fellowship offers a maximum of $8000 for each of the three years, for a potential total of $24,000 over the life of the fellowship.  Dr. Klein is one of the first recipients to receive this award outside the scientific community. 

Under contract with the University of California Press, this book reveals how visual images of food—in the form of paintings, photographs, and advertisements—inspired viewers to discuss the racial constitution of the country.  In the nineteenth century, depictions of California grapes and Florida oranges triggered debates about the Chinese immigrants and African Americans who grew them.  In the twentieth century, depictions of Central-American bananas and Hawaiian pineapples activated similar conversations about the incorporation of new territories and people across southern and Pacific frontiers.  In a period of intense national expansion, images of fruit struck the nerve of the nation’s most heated debates over labor, race, and citizenship.  Dr. Klein’s manuscript is one of the first to explore the history of American expansion through the interdisciplinary lens of food and art.

“I am thrilled to have won the Farris Family Innovation Award for my book project,” said Dr. Klein.  “With this grant, I will travel to archives to research materials on the American banana corporation, United Fruit Company and the Dole Hawaiian Pineapple Company, which used a number of artists for their advertising campaigns.  I will also use this award to present my research at conferences and seminars to gain valuable feedback on my work.  Lastly, I will use this funding to pay for the administrative costs of producing an art historical text, of which there are many!  Researching and publishing a book is a money-intensive endeavor, so I am beyond grateful to have the university’s support in making this dream a reality,” she stated.