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The Irish Sea Cultural Province: Crossroads of Medieval Literature and Languages

Summer Seminars and Institutes for School Teachers

Postmark Deadline: March 4, 2013

A four-week seminar in Britain for sixteen school teachers to explore the cultural, literary, and linguistic diversity of the British Isles in the Middle Ages.

Charles MacQuarrie (California State University at Bakersfield) directs a seminar that examines the cultural and linguistic diversity of the medieval British Isles, focusing on the Irish, Scottish, Welsh, Anglo-Saxon, and Norse populations that intersected during the period. In the first two weeks, seminarians meet on the Isle of Man, where they combine readings, discussion, lectures, and visits to archaeological sites, such as Peel Castle and Castle Rushen, that represent the populations under study. The home for the seminar in the final two weeks is the University of Glasgow, where participants conduct individual research and synthesize the information gleaned from the first two weeks. Participants read and discuss important works of medieval British, Irish, and Norse literature, including Beowulf, the Táin Bó Cuailange, Bede's Ecclesiastical History of the English People, The Mabinogion, Njal's Saga, The Saga of the Volsungs, and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. In addition, they examine primary documents, such as Ahmad ibn Fadlan's tenth-century account of his experiences among Norse tribes; recent historical scholarship; and linguistic studies. A visit to the Manx Tynwald, "arguably the longest running democratic assembly in Europe," is also part of the program.

Dates: June 30–July 28 (4 weeks)
Director(s): Charles MacQuarrie, California State University, Bakersfield
Grantee Institutions: California State University, Bakersfield
Location: Douglas, Isle of Man and Glasgow, Scotland

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.