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Posted: July 28, 2017 President Trump Appoints Jon Parrish Peede as Acting Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities
National Endowment for the Humanities

President Donald J. Trump has appointed Jon Parrish Peede as the Acting Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).

Peede joined NEH in April and was the Senior Deputy Chairman of the agency. Previously, he had been appointed to senior leadership roles at the National Endowment for the Arts. From 2003 to 2007, he served as Counselor to NEA Chairman Dana Gioia. From 2007 to 2011, he oversaw the NEA’s funding of literary organizations and fellowships to creative writers and translators. For seven years, he led writing workshops for U.S. troops in Afghanistan, Bahrain, England, Italy, Kyrgyzstan, the Persian Gulf, and on domestic bases.

His prior positions include publisher of the Virginia Quarterly Review at the University of Virginia, director of communications at Millsaps College, and editor at Mercer University Press with a focus on the humanities.

He has served on the national council of the Margaret Walker Center for the Study of the African-American Experience, Jackson State University; the advisory committee of the Virginia Festival of the Book, Virginia Foundation for the Humanities; and the poet laureate selection committee, state of Mississippi, office of the governor.

Peede holds degrees from Vanderbilt University and the University of Mississippi and is the coeditor of Inside the Church of Flannery O’Connor: Sacrament, Sacramental, and the Sacred in Her Fiction (Mercer, 2007).

Margaret F. Plympton, the former Acting Chair, will return to her role as Deputy Chair.

Posted: July 28, 2017 Arts and HUMANITIES: Library discussion series features classic plays
Aiken Standard

“You don’t expect me to know what to say about a play when I don’t know who the author is, do you?” remarked George Bernard Shaw. “If it’s by a good author, it’s a good play, naturally.”

Shaw, who won the Nobel Prize in Literature principally in recognition of his authorship of over 60 plays, would have enjoyed participating in the upcoming “Let’s Talk About It” series at the Aiken County Public Library. He would have felt comfortable in passing judgment on the quality of each of the three plays in the discussion series, chosen by the library’s new manager Jessica Christian. Indeed, no one can contest the fact that they are all by “good authors,” whose works have stood the test of time: Henrik Ibsen, William Shakespeare and Oscar Wilde.

Over the course of the next three months, library patrons have a chance to read each play; copies are available at the reference desk to all who register for the program. The reading experience is furthermore enhanced by two special events: a screening of a film adaptation of each play and a special lecture-discussion led by a humanities scholar.

The “Let’s Talk About It: The Play’s the Thing” series at the Aiken County Public Library is made possible by a grant from SC Humanities, our state’s affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, with additional funding provided by the Friends of the Library.

Posted: July 28, 2017 Collaboration results with release of free e-books
Muskogee Phoenix News

The University of North Texas released more than 100 free e-books thanks to a $95,599 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities under the Humanities Open Book Program.

The release is part of a collaboration with the Texas State Historical Association and Oklahoma Historical Society. The e-books relate to the history of Texas and Oklahoma and are available through the UNT Portal to Texas History and Gateway to Oklahoma History. 

Posted: July 27, 2017 Federal grant to help preserve endangered Kiowa language
The University of Kansas Press

As an amateur linguist growing up among the Kiowa people a century ago, Parker McKenzie devised a method of writing his native language using English letters. Now his great-grandson, University of Kansas Assistant Professor of Linguistics Andrew McKenzie, is completing a book that will go further than ever before in outlining the grammar of Kiowa.

Andrew McKenzie recently won a three-year grant from the Documenting Endangered Languages program of the National Science Foundation and National Endowment for the Humanities to fill in a gap on Kiowa.

For one thing, there’s no consensus on how to write it using English letters. Parker McKenzie’s method is still taught, as are a handful of others, but Andrew McKenzie says there has never been a tribal vote on the matter.  Using his ancestor’s system, Andrew McKenzie is working on a “semantic grammar” of the language.

After a dictionary, “Most languages have a reference grammar,” he said, “a book that informs linguists about the structure of the language: the sounds, how they interact, forms of words, syntax and the way sentences get built.  “With most American languages, you can do so much with verbs. There is very little about syntax,” he said.

Andrew McKenzie said he is working to document “not just what the pieces mean, but how does the meaning of a sentence get built?”

Posted: July 26, 2017 Teacher studies with distinguished scholars
Gainesville Daily Register

Callisburg’s Corey Whittington has been selected to attend a professional development institute sponsored by Humanities Texas and the University of North Texas.  Whittington, who teaches Texas history at Callisburg Middle School, participated in “Three Centuries of Texas History,” which took place from June 19–22.

“Three Centuries of Texas History” drew 50 teachers from across Texas to the University of North Texas campus in Denton for three and a half days of presentations and in-depth seminars.

The institute highlighted topics central to the state’s Texas history curriculum, including Native Americans in Texas; Texas under Spanish and Mexican rule; the Texas Revolution; the Republic of Texas; Texas during the Civil War and Reconstruction; women’s suffrage in Texas; cattle, railroads, and frontier defense; Texas during the Depression and World War II; the civil rights movement in Texas and post-1945 Texas politics.

“Three Centuries of Texas History” was made possible with support from the State of Texas and the National Endowment for the Humanities.