Research Achievement Award

The Arts & Letters Research Achievement Award, established by Dean Sarah Mustillo in 2022–23, is bestowed on one member of the tenured faculty in the College who has demonstrated outstanding and significant scholarly achievement.

The awardee has a strong and sustained record of scholarly accomplishment, distinguished by an exceptional publication record and corresponding evidence of disciplinary impact. The faculty member demonstrates extraordinary innovation or creativity, leadership in their field, and engagement with Notre Dame’s research and educational mission. To be eligible for nomination, individuals must have been on the faculty at Notre Dame for at least five consecutive years.

2024 Winner: E. Robert Norton

Robert Norton's headshot shows him from the waist up, seated in an academic hallway. He is a white man with dark hair and a beard streaked with gray. He wears round, dark gasses, a white dress shirt and navy suite jacket.

Robert Norton is a professor of German and a concurrent professor of history and philosophy. In his research, he scours original materials to unearth details about significant past events and people, and has impacted scholars, influencers, and opinion-makers by exploring the stories behind the stories.

Norton joined the Notre Dame faculty in 1998. His work over the years includes his 2002 book Secret Germany: Stefan George and His Circle — which he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship to write and went on to win the American Philosophical Society’s Jacques Barzun Prize in Cultural History. Norton also recovered an important lost strand about the Weimar Republic and German democracy in his 2021 book, The Crucible of German Democracy: Ernst Troeltsch and the First World War.

His book Herder's Aesthetics and the European Enlightenment dispels the belief that Herder, an important 18th-century German thinker, was opposed to the Enlightenment values of democracy, equality, and liberality. Norton began advancing this atypical viewpoint about Herder 40 years ago when writing his dissertation; today, the perspective is mainstream.

Norton's current book project, “The School of Wisdom: Hermann von Keyserling and the Philosophy of Life,” centers on a dispossessed Baltic German aristocrat, philosopher, and cultural impresario who founded the School of Wisdom in Darmstadt after World War I.

Norton received the Research Achievement Award at the Arts & Letters Spring Faculty Meeting on Tuesday, May 7.

“If you're asking the right sorts of questions and you’re linking the local questions to broader issues, you're contributing to a further understanding of where we've been,” he said. “And hopefully that will help us in orienting ourselves in the present.”

— Robert Norton, professor of German

Previous Award Recipients

Year   Recipient Media Department
2024 Robert Norton
News story

German and Russian Languages and Literatures

2023 E. Mark Cummings News story, Video