Texas Tech University

Texas Tech History Professor Receives Two Fellowships

Doug Hensley

April 26, 2023

Abigail Swingen will spend the next two academic years working on her next book.

Abigail Swingen, an associate professor in the Department of History at Texas Tech University, has been awarded fellowships for the next two academic years that will allow her to focus on completing her latest book.

Swingen, who has been part of the history faculty for 14 years, was awarded a long-term fellowship at the Huntington Library in San Marino, California, which she plans to take during the 2023-24 academic year. She also has been awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Award for Faculty that she will take in 2024-25.

Book Cover
Swingen's previously published book.

“I've had such great support from my department chair, from the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, from the provost's office and from the Office of Research and Innovation,” she said. “I am very happy and also very pleased with all of the institutional support that I've had to make sure that I can do this.”

The awards are a reflection on the quality of faculty at Texas Tech and their commitment to academic excellence.

“We're thrilled to support Dr. Abby Swingen as she accepts not one, but two prestigious fellowships to pursue her research in early modern British economic history,” said Sean Cunningham, chair of the history department. “Not only is her research important – and relevant – to our increasingly global economic environment, but it's also good for Texas Tech, plain and simple.

“Our university, and this department, boasts some of the best and brightest researchers in the world, and having faculty win awards like this is a way to share that reality with the rest of the country. I couldn't be prouder of the work Dr. Swingen is doing for her field and for this institution.”

Tosha Dupras, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, agreed.

“It is gratifying to see the hard work of Dr. Swingen rewarded with these fellowships that will help her further her research in her field,” she said. “I am so thankful to have faculty within the Department of History and in the College of Arts & Sciences as a whole who shine such a bright light on our institution.”

Swingen learned about the fellowships within a month of each other, and the NEH provided flexibility for her to take it in a subsequent year. It is specifically for faculty at Hispanic Serving Institutions.

“It's really about promoting faculty excellence at these institutions,” Swingen said. “It's also important to Texas Tech's mission going forward, and I feel like it is beneficial on so many levels for the institution and for the students we serve.”

Swingen's teaching focuses on early modern Britain, British imperial history, political economy and early modern Europe. Her forthcoming book, already under contract with Routledge Publishing, will focus on Britain's financial revolution and is titled “The Financial Revolution and the Politics of Moral Crisis in Early Modern Britain.”

“It is a time in British history usually associated with the origins of modern finance and stock markets,” she said, “the founding of the Bank of England in the 1690s, the exchanges, public credit and national debt. It's been pretty well covered but mostly by economic historians. I'm looking at it from more of a political and cultural perspective. I want to know what people thought about all of these changes and the factors that brought them about.”

This is the second Huntington Library Fellowship Swingen has been awarded, having previously received one prior to working on her first book, “Competing Visions of Empire: Labor, Slavery, and the Origins of the British Atlantic Empire,” which was published by Yale Press in 2015.

“This book will look at long-term political and social changes going back to the early 1600s and then moving forward to the middle of the 1700s,” she said. “Many who study the financial revolution focus on just a handful of decades without looking at the longer-term consequences and entrenchment of these new ideas and institutions and how they affect the British.

“I'm really interested in how people thought about it, so I'm looking at printed discourse like letters, pamphlets and newspapers to see not just what they thought about it, but how they reacted to these changes in terms of not really liking them.”

While Swingen will be in California for the first fellowship next year, the NEH award doesn't require travel, meaning she can work on her book while back in Lubbock.

“Everybody in the department, the staff, have been so supportive,” she said. “With these awards comes bureaucracy and paperwork, and I have been so grateful for all the help that everyone has given me.”