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NEH announces $40 million in awards and offers for 249 humanities projects

WASHINGTON (July 27, 2011) — The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) announced today $40 million in grants for 249 humanities projects. These grants will support a wide array of projects, including collaborative research, the digitization of historic newspapers, professional development for teachers and community college faculty, scholarly editions and translations, the creation of new digital tools, the production and development of radio and television programs, and conservation programs at museums and archives.

This funding cycle marks the first grant awards offered through a new NEH special initiative: Challenge Grants for Two-Year Colleges, which aim to strengthen humanities programs at community colleges, encourage the development of model humanities programs and curricula, and broaden the base of financial support for humanities on two-year college campuses. Capacity-building humanities grants under this new initiative must be matched 2-1 by nonfederal funds. These grants will help raise an endowment to support interdisciplinary colloquia at the Kupferberg Holocaust Resource Center at Queensborough Community College, support the creation of an Intercultural Center at Northwest College in Wyoming, and assist the construction of a new library to house an archive of Ojibwe cultural artifacts at Leech Lake Tribal College.

Also among the new grants are those that will bring a traveling exhibition on the creation and influence of the King James Bible to forty public libraries, enable the compilation of volumes of letters by Henry David Thoreau, provide for the digitization of historic North Dakota newspapers dating from 1864 to 1922, and support the development of an online database of records from the Emigrant Industrial Savings Bank showing the savings accounts of immigrants in 19th-century New York.

NEH funding will also support the production of a documentary on the influence of American rock and roll music on the collapse of the Soviet Union, help preserve archival collections related to Texas history at the University of Texas at Arlington, and allow the Milwaukee Public Museum to create a 3-D holograph exhibit demonstrating the ancient Egyptian process of mummification.

In addition, NEH announced five new recipients of digital humanities grants jointly funded by NEH and the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, DFG). These NEH/DFG Bi-lateral Digital Humanities Program grants support collaborations between U.S. and German researchers on international digitization projects and digital humanities workshops. Projects supported through this grant program include a partnership between the University of Pennsylvania and the Free University of Berlin to develop a digitized corpus of cuneiform tablets from ancient Mesopotamia inscribed with bilingual myths, incantations, and liturgies in Sumerian and Akkadian, and a collaboration between the Center for Jewish History in New York and the Senckenberg Library at the University of Frankfurt am Main to digitize 1,000 volumes of the Wissenschaft des Judentums, the library of Jewish scholarship that was dispersed and destroyed during World War II.

“NEH is honored to support some of the most outstanding research of our day,” said Jim Leach, Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities. “From expanding the curricula on community college campuses to forging international scholarly partnerships, the NEH grants awarded today promote new areas of research, and make the breadth of human experience more understandable and knowledge more accessible than ever.”

This award cycle, institutions and independent scholars in 45 states and the District of Columbia will receive NEH support. Complete state-by-state listings of grants are available here (49-page PDF).

In this cycle, grants were awarded in the following categories:

  • America’s Historical and Cultural Organizations: Planning and Implementation Grants support museum exhibitions, library-based projects, interpretation of historic places or areas, websites, and other project formats that excite and inform thoughtful reflection upon culture, identity, and history.
  • America’s Media Makers: Development and Production Grants support media projects, including radio, television, and digital technology projects that explore significant events, figures, or developments in the humanities. Development grants enable media producers to collaborate with scholars to develop humanities content and to prepare programs for production; production grants support the preparation of a project for presentation to the public.
  • Bridging Cultures Through Film Grants support the development and production of documentary films that examine international and transnational themes in the humanities.
  • Collaborative Research Grants support original research undertaken by a team of two or more scholars or research coordinated by an individual scholar that adds significantly to humanities knowledge or uses the perspectives of the humanities to enhance understanding of science, technology, medicine, and the social sciences.
  • Digital Humanities Start-Up Grants encourage innovations in the digital humanities by supporting the planning stages of projects.
  • Institutes for Advanced Topics in the Digital Humanities Grants provide scholars and advanced graduate students with the opportunity to deepen their knowledge of advanced technology tools and methodologies relevant to the humanities and to increase the number of humanities scholars using digital technology in their research.
  • Landmarks of American History and Culture: Workshops for School Teachers support a series of one-week workshops for K-12 educators that address central themes and topics in American history, government, literature, art history, and other humanities fields related to historic landmarks.
  • Landmarks of American History and Culture: Workshops for Community College Faculty support a series of one-week workshops, conducted by leading scholars, for community college educators in which participants study central issues in American history related to historic landmarks, enhancing both their knowledge and their ability to teach.
  • National Digital Newspaper Program Grants support the creation of a national, digital resource of historically significant newspapers published between 1836 and 1922, from all states and U.S. territories.
  • NEH/DFG Bi-lateral Digital Humanities Program Grants support the development and enhancement of new digitization tools and projects through an international partnership between the National Endowment for the Humanities and the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft e.V., DFG)
  • NEH On the Road Grants help small sites defray the cost of hosting an NEH traveling exhibition.
  • Scholarly Editions and Translations Grants enable the preparation of editions and translations of significant literary, philosophical, and historical texts and documents that are currently inaccessible or available in inadequate editions.
  • Small Grants to Libraries: King James Bible allow institutions to host and plan public programming around the traveling exhibition Manifold Greatness: The Creation and Afterlife of the King James Bible.
  • Summer Seminars and Institutes for College and University Teachers Grants support intensive two- to six- week projects in which fifteen to twenty-five college and university faculty members, working with scholarly experts, engage in collegial study of significant texts and topics in the humanities.
  • Summer Seminars and Institutes for School Teachers Grants support intensive two- to six-week projects in which fifteen to thirty school teachers, working with scholarly experts, engage in collegial study of significant texts and topics in the humanities.
  • Special Initiative: Challenge Grants for Two-year Colleges enable two-year colleges to strengthen their long-term humanities programs and resources and develop curriculum and financial support models that enhance the role of the humanities on community college campuses.
  • Sustaining Cultural Heritage Collections Grants help cultural institutions meet the complex challenge of preserving large and diverse holdings of humanities materials for future generations by supporting preventative conservation measures to prolong the useful life of collections.

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About the National Endowment for the Humanities

Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at: www.neh.gov.

Media Contacts: Paula Wasley at (202) 606-8424 or pwasley@neh.gov