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South Africa: History and Culture

Summer Seminars and Institutes for School Teachers

Postmark Deadline: March 1, 2012

“South Africa: History and Culture” is a five-week school teacher institute for twenty-five participants, held at Port Elizabeth and other locations across South Africa, on that country's geography, history, and social institutions. During the first half (and final days) of the institute, participants reside at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth.  There they study South Africa’s geography and history, and its cultural, religious, educational, economic, and political institutions with lectures by the project director and faculty from Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University and the University of the Western Cape.  They visit sites around Port Elizabeth, including New Brighton Township; Red Location Museum, which examines the struggle against apartheid; Grassroots Soccer, an HIV/AIDS prevention organization; and Anglican and Islamic religious groups.  Principal readings include Paul Bohannan and Philip Curtin, Africa and Africans; Leonard Thompson, A History of South Africa; Rita M. Byrnes (ed.), South Africa: A Country Study; Allister Sparks, Tomorrow is Another Country; Nelson Mandela, A Long Walk to Freedom; Alex La Guma, A Walk in the Night; and Nadine Gordimer, July’s People.  These activities are followed by a seventeen-day study trip during which participants travel by chartered bus to historical and cultural sites around Cape Town, Grahamstown, Durban, Pretoria, Johannesburg, and Kimberley; they also visit tribal lands and natural reserves throughout the country.  Participants work with a master teacher on writing assignments and curriculum development, and they keep both personal and group journals.

Dates: June 24—July 31 (5 weeks)
Grantee Institutions: University of Arkansas, Monticello
Location: South Africa

About NEH Summer Seminars and Institutes for School Teachers

Each year the NEH’s Division of Education Programs offers teachers opportunities to study a variety of humanities topics in NEH Summer Seminars and Institutes. An NEH Summer Seminar for school teachers enables sixteen participants to explore a topic or set of readings with an expert scholar. The core material of the seminar need not relate directly to the school curriculum; the principal goal of the seminar is to engage teachers in the scholarly enterprise and to expand and deepen their understanding of the humanities through reading, discussion, writing, and reflection.

Amount of Award

NEH Summer Scholars are awarded fixed stipends to help cover travel costs, books and other research expenses, and living expenses. Stipend amounts are based on the length of the NEH Summer Seminar or Institute: $2,100 (2 weeks), $2,700 (3 weeks), $3,300 (4 weeks), $3,900 (5 weeks), or $4,500 (6 weeks).


Full-time teachers in American K-12 schools, whether public, charter, independent, or religiously affiliated, as well as home-schooling parents, are eligible to apply to NEH Summer Seminars and Institutes. Americans teaching abroad are also eligible if a majority of the students they teach are American citizens. Librarians and school administrators may also be eligible.

You may request information about as many projects as you like, but you may apply to no more than two NEH Summer Programs (seminars, institutes, or Landmarks workshops) and you may attend only one. Eligibility criteria differ significantly between NEH Summer Seminars and Institutes and NEH Landmarks Workshops.

Please note: Up to two seminar spaces and three institute spaces are available for current graduate students, who intend to pursue careers in K-12 teaching.

How to Apply

For more information and application instructions, please visit the program website listed above.