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African-American History and Culture in the Georgia Lowcountry

Summer Seminars and Institutes for College and University Teachers

Postmark Deadline: March 4, 2013

A two-week institute for twenty-five college and university teachers to explore African-American life and culture in Savannah and Georgia's coastal islands.

Focusing on the themes of race and slavery, this institute explores the African-American experience in the Georgia Lowcountry from the late eighteenth century through the early twentieth century. The project considers "the impact of geography, environment, time, and place on the development of community values and culture" by looking at two different experiences: the urban environment in Savannah and the rural cultures on the plantation islands of Sapelo (Geechee) and Ossabaw (Gullah). Among specific topics investigated are slavery and the slave trade in the Atlantic world; the growth of Georgia's economy and society in the eighteenth century; four generations of life on a Georgia plantation; the history and culture of Sapelo and Ossabaw islands; and slavery, freedom, and gender in Savannah. The program includes lecture/discussion sessions, site visits in Savannah and on the islands, and independent work on research and curricular projects. Institute faculty include project director Stan Deaton and Todd Groce, both historians employed by the Georgia Historical Society (GHS), Phillip Morgan (history, Johns Hopkins University), Paul Pressly (Ossabaw Island Education Alliance), Erskine Clark (American religious history, Columbia Theological Seminary, Georgia), Cornelia Walker Bailey (independent scholar, Sapelo Island), Leslie Harris (history, Emory Univeristy), and Daina Berry (history, University of Texas). Particiants study writings by institute faculty: Slave Counterpoint (Morgan), Georgia and the British Atlantic (Pressly), Dwelling Place: A Plantation Epic (Clarke), Slavery and Freedom in Savannah (Harris and Berry, eds.), and God, Dr. Buzzard, and the Bolito Man: A Saltwater Geechee Talks About Life on Sapelo Island (Walker). Research facilities at the GHS are available to the participants.

Faculty: Philip Morgan, Alex Byrd, Paul Pressly, Erskine Clarke, Leslie Harris, Daina Berry, Todd Groce

Dates: June 9—21 (2 weeks)
Director(s): Stan Deaton
Grantee Institutions: Georgia Historical Society
Location: Savannah and Georgia’s costal islands

About NEH Summer Seminars and Institutes for College and University Teachers

Each year the NEH’s Division of Education Programs offers teachers opportunities to study a variety of humanities topics in Summer Seminars and Institutes. Each NEH Summer Seminar includes sixteen participants working in collaboration with one or two leading scholars. Participants have access to a major research collection, with time reserved to pursue individual projects.

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).


NEH Summer Seminars and Institutes are designed primarily for teachers of American undergraduate students. Qualified independent scholars and those employed by museums, libraries, historical societies, and other organizations may be eligible to compete provided they can effectively advance the teaching and research goals of the project.

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.

Please note:

Adjunct faculty, community college faculty and first-time participants are encouraged to apply.

Up to two seminar spaces and three institute spaces are reserved for current full-time graduate students in the humanities.

How to Apply

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