Glenn Penny is interested in relationships between Europeans and non-Europeans during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. His book, Objects of Culture, was the first comparative study of German ethnographic museums as well as the first in-depth analysis of the international market of material culture that took shape during the late nineteenth century. It challenged notions of unitary “German” developments in the cultural sciences by demonstrating the ways in which international discourses about the multiplicity of humanity and the importance of science were channeled and shaped by local needs, regional concerns, and popular audiences in the German cities of Hamburg, Berlin, Leipzig and Munich.
Glenn is now working on a book tentatively titled The German Love Affair with the American Indian. It investigates how Germans from a variety of social backgrounds generated and used ideas about Indians from the early nineteenth century until the present, and it explores the reception of this fascination among Native Americans. Glenn employs this analysis to address broader questions about Germans’ special relationship to modernity, the often contradictory interconnections between culture and race, the manner in which some non-Europeans have been able to appropriate and redirect European discourse on human difference, and the manner in which stereotypes emerge and die. He also has a keen interest in the ways in which notions of progress have shaped European history, and he is developing a comparative project on their political implications in the twentieth century.
In 2000, Glenn Penny's dissertation won the Fritz Stern Prize from the German Historical Institute, and his book has received awards from the American Anthropological Association and the European Section of the Southern Historical Association. Glenn has also been awarded fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Philosophical Society, the Center for European Studies at Harvard University, the German Academic Exchange, the Social Science Research Council, and the Institute for European History in Mainz. He received his PhD from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana in 1999.
Awards & Service
• The George A. and Eliza Gardner Howard Foundation Fellowship (2006-2007)
• Charles Smith Book Award from the European Section of the Southern Historical Association (2004)
• Nineteenth Century Studies Association Article Prize (2003)
• "William A. Douglass Book Prize in Europeanist Anthropology," Honorable Mention. The American Anthropological Association (2003)
• National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship (2003-2004)
• American Philosophical Society Research Grant (2003)
• American Historical Association Bernadotte E. Schmitt Research Grant (2001)
• Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (German Academic Exchange) Research Grant (2001)
• Friends of the German Historical Institute Fritz Stern Dissertation Prize in German History (2000)
• James Bryant Conant Fellowship in German and European Studies at the Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies at Harvard University (1999)
• Joseph Ward Swain Prize for the best publication by a graduate student, University of Illinois (1997)
• Institute for European History (Mainz, Germany) Fellowship (1997)
• Social Science Research Council--Berlin Program for Advanced German and European Studies Research Fellowship (1995-1996)