No ATLAS for Me

The results of the Board of Regents considerations for ATLAS funding are in — and they apparently have been in for some time, though no one from my university’s research office contacted me (and no one from the Regents did either) — and I was once again just below the cutoff line for funding:

> PROPOSAL NO. 040ATL-12 Rank: 15
>
> TITLE: “Genius Loci: How Cajun and German Farmers and Fabricators Invented a Traditional Amphibious Craft”
>
> INSTITUTION: University of Louisiana at Lafayette
>
> PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR: John Laudun
>
> Through this project, Dr. Laudun proposes, in effect, to create a new field of study: the crawfish boat. He addresses his topic movingly and with analytic ease, developing a theory of creativity as he proceeds. At the same time, he places his work within the emerging study of folklore and folk production. In fact, his argument for the study of creativity contests or, at the least, supplements that of Henry Glassie. The project will be published as part of the Mellon Foundation’s series, “Folklore Studies in a Multicultural World,” and is likely to attract a considerable readership among both scholarly and general audiences, particularly those interested in Louisiana folk culture.
>
> The application has been developed to a suitable level of detail and is clearly presented and organized. The proposal has been framed well, provides concrete discussion and illustrations, and powerfully underscores the German/Cajun confluence and interaction. As with last year’s submission, the panel found the project highly engaging. Dr. Laudun brings knowledge and passion to his topic, and everything about the project benefits from the virtue of his fine prose. While the conceptualization and organization of the work have undergone changes and further definition since last year’s submission, the panel was somewhat concerned that the writing itself does not seem to have progressed.
>
> Although scholarly monographs have not been the applicant’s usual idiom of contribution, he has been productive, and he has thoroughly thought through the present project. He has placed several articles in journals of folklore studies. Since last year, Dr. Laudun has published a book chapter and had another article accepted. It is clear that he is an active and engaged scholar, committed to this work.
>
> The work is well conceptualized and defined, and the finished project will fit nicely in the Mellon Foundation’s series. The panel is confident that the work will be completed successfully in the near future.
>
> The project is strongly recommended for funding should sufficient resources be available. The budget is reasonable and should be maintained in full. If funding is not available this year, the panel recommends that the applicant revise the proposal for the next ATLAS cycle.

The review is, in general, quite glowing, with one exception: “the panel was somewhat concerned that the writing itself does not seem to have progressed.” I found this to be just bizarre. My previous application had a twenty-five page essay attached to it. This application had 90 pages of prose, some of which was already blocked up into full-blown chapters. Curious and curiouser.