2008-2009 DAAD Grant Winner
Jake will spend the 2008-2009 academic year in Berlin and Stuttgart conducting research for his dissertation, entitled "The German Temple Society: Culture, Religious Nationalism, and Ideology in Palestine, 1861-1918."
Jake describes his forthcoming project...
"My dissertation examines the aims and actions of the Temple Society in its seven colonies in Palestine from its arrival in the region in 1868 to its removal by the British during World War I. The Templers (no relation to the medieval Templers) were a German Protestant missionary society resolved to build an ideal society in Palestine. Facing the hostility of locals and little support from German officials, the aims of the Templers gradually evolved toward a fluctuation between moderation and extreme policies in their relations with the other inhabitants. Ultimately, this project serves as a case study for the connections between religion and nationalism, demonstrates the importance of popular piety in Protestantism in modern Germany, and does so in a "transnational" context, by examining the interactions of a group of Germans with thousands of non-Germans hundreds of miles from Germany, in the extraordinarily diverse ethnic, national, and religious landscape of the Middle East."
Jake won a DAAD the second year he applied for one. After being unsuccessful in 2007, Jake realized "that to have a reasonable chance at a successful candidacy, one must have a first-rate application. That means prospective applicants should think about the application process as a full-time job or commitment. Every last detail in the application should be completed to the absolute best ability of the student. My application last year was, I think, not a 'bad' one. However, my application this year was much better: my study proposal was well-written and extremely precise regarding my topic and study/research plan in Germany. I knew exactly what I wanted to do in Germany when I wrote the proposal. In addition, treating the application process like a full-time job means getting advice from as many reliable sources as possible: professors, research into the scholarship organization you are applying for and asking the organization questions, and using these sources when putting together your application (such as editing your study proposal). Finally, I would tell students that once they give it their best effort, and have applied for as many grants as possible, to try and not get to up or down about the whole process. It is certainly a letdown after investing an enormous effort into these applications and then receiving rejections (which also happened to me this year regarding other grant applications), but rejection does not mean that one's application was not good. All of these scholarships are very competitive and I am extremely fortunate to have received one. In the end, once one knows he/she has a good application, there is always the element of chance. That may or may not be encouraging, but it is the truth."
We wish Jake luck in his studies abroad, and look forward to hearing more about his experience in Germany when he returns to Knoxville, to complete his PhD in Modern German History.