April 2011


the latest from
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April 1, 2010


As part of its rebranding process which we've all been following on hum talk recently Indiana Humanities worked through what "humanities" means. Click on the image to follow the thought process and read below about other ways to grasp "humanities."

The 2010 census and your state

Humanities, the word

Civil War historian and Harvard president, Drew Gilpin Faust, to give Jefferson Lecture

"Freedom Riders" premieres in May on WGBH's "American Experience"

Welcome three new council executives: Karen Andrews, Stuart Parnes, and Chris Sommerich

Jim Leach's Civility Tour takes him to Kentucky (Apr 7-8), Connecticut (Apr 18-19), West Virginia (Apr 21), Arkansas (Apr 28-29), and Alaska (Apr 30)
2011-2012 general liability insurance policies
Everything you need is there: Federal/State Partnership website (login fedstate password partnership)

The 2010 census and your state


The 2010 census indicates that not only the numbers of people but the cultures of the United States have shifted in the last ten years. Click on the image to find out about your state today.

Humanities, the word

 Indiana Humanities, Rhode Island Council for the Humanities, Humanities Washington

top to bottom: Indiana Humanities, Rhode Island Council for the Humanities, Humanities Washington

The Indiana Humanities Council has decided that it is no longer a "council," becoming Indiana Humanities. In doing so, it joins the councils (used here as a generic term) in Colorado, Iowa, Massachusetts, Montana, Nevada, Tennessee, Texas, and Washington which have dropped a structural identifier from their names.

Although councils may struggle with the word "humanities," all 56 are humanities organizations by name and they have many ways to explain the word humanities to a world in which it seems no longer to be self-evident. Words are key to this process.

Wordles are used by the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities and Humanities Washington to demonstrate the range of the humanities. The Maryland Humanities Council has a tapestry of humanities words as the background of its website. Council logos and taglines indicate the activities that the humanities inspire and engage. The founding legislation (logon fedstate password partnership) for NEH and the councils lists disciplines of study "The term 'humanities' includes, but is not limited to ..."

But questions of definition and explanation remain. How does the word "humanities" differ from human, humane, humanitarian? Is it best illustrated by actions: as in, knowing the humanities helps one be able to solve "wicked problems"; by contrast: the arts does, the humanities studies; by example: it carries the voices of one generation to the next through the records of human civilization, it provides the wisdom and knowledge for people with differing points of view to discuss ideas of importance together?

By the way, is the word humanities singular or plural? under what circumstances?

Civil War historian and Harvard president, Drew Gilpin Faust, to give Jefferson Lecture

 Drew Gilpin Faust

Drew Gilpin Faust

Drew Gilpin Faust, the first woman to be president of Harvard University, will present the 40th Jefferson Lecture. Her lecture, "Telling War Stories: Reflections of a Civil War Historian," will discuss representations of war throughout history.

Request tickets online for the May 2nd lecture at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington.

In addition to being president of Harvard, Faust is a pre-eminent scholar of the Civil War and the American South, often delving into the human consequences of the Civil War and its transformation of Southern society. Her most recent book, This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War (2008) examines the impact of the Civil War s enormous death toll on the lives of 19th-century Americans. Praised by Newsweek as "one of those groundbreaking histories in which a crucial piece of the past, previously overlooked or misunderstood, suddenly clicks into focus," This Republic of Suffering was awarded the Bancroft Prize in 2009, was a finalist for both a National Book Award and a Pulitzer Prize, and was named by The New York Times as one of the "10 Best Books of 2008."

"Freedom Riders" premieres in May on WGBH's "American Experience"


The Illinois Humanities Council, the Georgia Humanities Council, NEH, and EDSITEment are partners with PBS, "American Experience," and other organizations to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Freedom Riders' heroic bus and train rides through the Deep South from May to November 1961 that brought about the desegregation of the nation's interstate transportation system.

Idaho Humanities Council board member and Director of Content for Idaho Public Radio, Ron Pisanchesi, writes that, "Freedom Riders, appearing on PBS American Experience is an extraordinary film that brings to life this pivotal time in American history. Viewers are transported back to 1961 to experience, in an almost visceral way, the courage, fear, hopes and determination of those young civil rights activists. It exemplifies the best kind of media project. At the Idaho Humanities Council, we are proud to have been the local sponsor of American Experience on Idaho Public Television since the series debuted in 1995. It is a partnership that has been a win-win for both organizations."


"The people that took a seat on these buses, that went to jail in Jackson, that went to Parchman, they were never the same. We had moments there to learn, to teach each other the way of nonviolence, the way of love, the way of peace. The Freedom Ride created an unbelievable sense: Yes, we will make it. Yes, we will survive. And that nothing, but nothing, was going to stop this movement," recalls Congressman John Lewis, one of the original Riders.

Welcome three new council executives: Karen Andrews, Stuart Parnes, and Chris Sommerich

 Karen Andrews, Virgin Islands Humanities Council; Stuart Parnes, Connecticut Humanities Council; and Chris Sommerich, Nebraska Humanities Council

l-r: Karen Andrews, Virgin Islands Humanities Council; Stuart Parnes, Connecticut Humanities Council; and Chris Sommerich, Nebraska Humanities Council

The ten members of the 2009-2011 class of new council executives will come to Washington May 2 and 3 to meet together for orientation to NEH and Federal/State Partnership and to the Federation of State Humanities Councils. Three of the newest executives are introduced below. The other seven (click on their names to read their bios: logon fedstate password partnership)are Geoff Giglierano, Missouri Humanities Council; Julie Goldsmith, Ohio Humanities Council; David O'Fallon, Minnesota Humanities Center; Scott Russell, Northern Mariana Islands Council for the Humanities; Brenda Thomson, Arizona Humanities Council; Katie Wolf, Michigan Humanities Council; and Julie Ziegler, Humanities Washington. Part of their orientation activities will be attending the 2011 Jefferson Lecture given by Harvard University president Drew Gilpin Faust.

Karen Andrews, the newly appointed executive of the Virgin Islands Humanities Council, was born and educated on the island of St. Thomas, United States Virgin Islands, and has served for over 28 years in governmental leadership positions as well as in the Cabinet.

She started her Public Service as an Administrative Officer in Cultural Education in 1973 and held middle and upper management level positions, including Director of Business and Administrative Services, Assistant Commissioner for Operations, Director of Government Personnel, and Chief Labor Negotiator.

She is an active member in the community and her church, and has been a small business owner. She has served on several boards and is a Court Certified Mediator.

The Connecticut Humanities Council has announced the appointment of Stuart Parnes as executive director, following his six-month term as interim director. Parnes is well-known to museum professionals around the state, having worked with history museums in Connecticut for 30 years.

Parnes, who joined the CHC full time in July 2010, worked for more than two decades at Mystic Seaport as director of exhibitions and interpretive programming. He served as director of the Connecticut River Museum in Essex before moving to Maryland in 2006 to head the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum. Parnes was a Connecticut Humanities Council board member during the 1990s and was chair of the Council from 1996 to 1998.

A Thomas Watson Fellow and graduate of the Hotchkiss School and Middlebury College, Parnes has served on numerous regional, national, and international museum boards and is currently the secretary general of the International Congress of Maritime Museums and a peer reviewer for the American Association of Museums.

Chris Sommerich became executive director of the Nebraska Humanities Council in January 2011. He joined the Council staff in 2004 as director of development. Sommerich holds a B.A. and M.A. in political science from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where he served as undergraduate advisor for the department while a graduate assistant, and is a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE). He worked in development for the National Audubon Society's Nebraska state office for four years before coming to the Nebraska Humanities Council.

Chris has taken a leadership role among professional fundraisers in Nebraska,serving on the board of directors for the Nebraska Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) and is currently its president. During his tenure, AFP-Nebraska hosted the regional Mid-America Conference on fundraising in Omaha. He served on the national planning committee for the National Humanities Conference in Omaha in 2009. The Nebraska Humanities Council received the 2010 Nebraska Friend of Tourism Award for bringing the National Humanities Conference to Omaha.


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directions to the Federal/State Partnership office

visit www.neh.gov to keep up with the
National Endowment for the Humanities

 Federal/State Partnership is the liaison between the National Endowment for the Humanities and the nonprofit network of 56 state and jurisdictional humanities councils