First Recipients of TOME Award Announced

The first three recipients of the TOME (Toward an Open Monograph Ecosystem) Award have been selected to receive funding to support an open-access digital publication of a book they have written.

The 2018-19 TOME Award recipients are:

The TOME Award recognizes the public impact that humanities and social science research can achieve when made openly available. Michigan State University is committed to providing new opportunities for faculty to bring their work to the world, and in support of this goal, has established this new award for faculty authors in the humanities and social sciences.

“The TOME Award celebrates the extraordinary scholarship being produced by MSU faculty by making it freely and openly available to audiences worldwide,” said Kathleen Fitzpatrick, MSU Director of Digital Humanities and Professor of English. “Making this work broadly available helps both individual faculty members and the institution more broadly fulfill the mission of the public, land-grant university: sharing the knowledge we develop with the world.”

Making this work broadly available helps both individual faculty members and the institution more broadly fulfill the mission of the public, land-grant university: sharing the knowledge we develop with the world.

Dr. Kathleen Fitzpatrick

Recipients of the TOME Award receive up to $15,000 to be used in support of the publication of open-access digital monographs of up to 90,000 words. Monographs must have been accepted for publication by a participating university press. Eligible monographs must be authored or co-authored by a member of the MSU faculty.

MSU is committed to offering this award each year through at least 2021-22. All MSU faculty in the humanities and social sciences who are tenured, in the tenure-system, or have multi-year fixed-term faculty or Academic Specialist appointments with research as a component of their assignment, are eligible to apply.

Matthew Handelman

Handelman will use the TOME Award funding to publish The Mathematical Imagination: On the Origins and Promise of Critical Theory, which reveals the undeveloped potential of mathematics for critical thought. The book is forthcoming from Fordham University Press and scheduled for publication in March 2019.

 “Publishing The Mathematical Imagination as an open access monograph will expand its primary audience in German-Jewish thought to include scholars and, most significantly, students in fields such as critical theory and the digital humanities,” Handelman said. “While the book intervenes in current discussions in German studies, Jewish studies, continental philosophy, and cultural studies, open access will also bring my work to readers beyond the academy interested in the relationship between the humanities and the sciences.”

man with short dark brown hair and a beard who is wearing glasses and a blue and pink checkered button-up shirt with a grey suit coat and standing in front of a white wall
Dr. Matthew Handelman


At Michigan State University, Handelman has taught seminars on digital humanities and on German culture and the sciences, which have influenced his book conceptually and allowed him to cultivate a style that speaks to undergraduates and scholars, non-specialists and specialists alike. His research seeks to realize the synthesis of the digital humanities and critical theory envisioned by his book.

“As an open access monograph, The Mathematical Imagination will promote MSU’s and the College of Arts & Letter’s mission to engage critically with the digital age by offering new avenues of critique for scholars and students working digitally across disciplines,” Handelman said. “Ultimately, the TOME Award will allow The Mathematical Imagination to reach a broader audience and intervene in the public and deeply interdisciplinary debates for which it is intended.”

Sidney Xu Lu

Lu is finishing his first book manuscript, The Making of Japanese Settler Colonialism: Malthusianism and Trans-Pacific Migration, 1868-1961, and will use the TOME Award funding to get this work published as an open access monograph.

man who has short black hair and wearing black glasses and a black shirt in front of a gray background
Dr. Sidney Xu Lu


The book, under contract with Cambridge University Press, is a study of the relationship between the politics of demography, emigration, and colonial expansion in the history of modern Japan. It explains how the discourse of overpopulation emerged in Meiji Japan and how it was appropriated to justify Japanese migration from the mid-nineteenth century to the 1960s on both sides of the Pacific. This study examines Japanese expansion in a way that transcends the geographical and temporal boundaries of the Japanese colonial empire.

This is the first book-length study that examines the nexus between Japanese colonial expansion in Asia and Japanese migration to Hawaii and the Americas. It provides a unique contribution to recently published books and articles that have begun to problematize the conceptual divide between colonial expansion and migration in world history.

"Because it is intended to make contributions to a variety of academic disciplines and speak to several issues in contemporary society, its full potential can only be realized by reaching a very broad range of audience both in and outside of the academic circles," Lu said. "To this end, being published as an open-access ebook will be an enormous help, as it will make the book much more accessible to both academic and non-academic readers worldwide. And, being published as an ebook will allow me to attach a variety of multimedia sources to it." 

Ronen Steinberg

Steinberg will use the TOME Award to publish The Afterlives of the Terror: Facing the Legacies of Mass Violence in Post-Revolutionary France, which is currently in production with Cornell University Press.

man with short brown hair who is wearing black glasses and wearing a button-down dark red shirt, jeans, and black shoes and is crouching on the ground in front of a white wall
Dr. Ronen Steinberg


The book contributes to the historiography of the French Revolution and the study of difficult pasts. It follows revolutionary leaders, relatives of victims, and ordinary citizens as they struggled to bring those whom they saw as responsible for the violence to justice, provide some sort of relief to the victims, and commemorate loved ones in a political and social context that favored forgetting.

“By looking at the aftermath of the terror, and by raising specific questions about coming to terms with revolutionary violence, my book opens up new perspectives on the political and emotional consequences of the Revolution,” Steinberg said.

The TOME Award makes it possible for many different kinds of readers to engage with my work.

Dr. Ronen Steinberg

The book has attracted interest beyond the circles of French historians. Parts of the project have been presented at conferences on Truth and Reconciliation in South Africa, and on accountability and justice after genocide.

“The question at the heart of the book – namely, what to do with difficult pasts? – might be of special interest in parts of the world that, often, do not have access to the most recent scholarship or to the resources of American universities,” Steinberg said. “The TOME Award makes it possible for many different kinds of readers to engage with my work. An open-access publication would also make it possible for me to enter into dialogue with scholars in different parts of the world, who undoubtedly would have different perspectives on the subjects that inform my intellectual project.”