Humanities Tennessee was founded in 1973 — it was known then as the Tennessee Committee for the Humanities — as a state affiliate of the NEH that was completely dependent on federal funds. Over the years, the organization has grown and increased the amount of money it raises on its own. But it still relies on its annual allowance from the NEH, which it reallocates to a number of local programs around the state. It’s one of 56 similar organizations operating in every state and territory, each of them operating on shoestring budgets of varying strengths.
“[Trump’s proposed budget] would be devastating to us, but it wouldn’t destroy us right away, for sure,” says Humanities Tennessee’s executive director, Tim Henderson. “But we do have a lot of projects we run that would likely be put on hiatus.”
It is sadly ironic that at this moment when our society needs the humanities and the arts more than ever, our nation's two major cultural agencies, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts, are threatened with extinction.
About 40 people assembled outside the gallery on national Arts Advocacy Day to oppose President Donald Trump’s plan to eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Trump’s federal budget proposal would kill both endowments, which each receive about $148 million annually from the federal government. His budget proposal also would cut funding to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting from about $445 million last year to nothing. The president has said the moves are to help trim spending and save money, though the money allotted to all three make up a tiny fraction of the $4 trillion federal budget.
Penn released a statement on Monday criticizing President Donald Trump’s budget proposal. Penn President Amy Gutmann, Provost Vincent Price, Executive Vice President Craig Carnaroli and Executive Vice President and Perelman School of Medicine Dean Larry Jameson co-authored the , which expresses concern about proposals “to slash or eliminate federal support for scientific research, the arts, humanities, our environment and education (to name only some of the major areas that are threatened).”
The statement also included the text of an email sent by School of Arts and Sciences Dean Steven Fluharty and Associate Dean Jeffrey Kallberg to School of Arts and Sciences humanities faculty on Thursday, March 16, shortly after the initial budget proposal was released. The budget proposes the elimination of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
“Most of us in the Penn humanities community have benefited either directly or indirectly from the support of the NEH,” the email read. “The School of Arts and Sciences affirms its unwavering support for the NEH mission, and indeed of the enduring value of the humanities that form part of the School’s own mission.
John Corrigan, the Lucius Moody Bristol Distinguished Professor of Religion and Professor of History, received the award for his exemplary scholarship in the fields of religious history, religion and emotion and religious intolerance. The $68,000 fellowship is among the most competitive and coveted in the nation. The National Research Council has classified the award as “Highly Prestigious,” a distinction reserved only for the most well-regarded academic honors. This latest award follows Corrigan’s recent highly prestigious fellowship awards from the National Endowment for the Humanities and National Humanities Center.
The yearlong ACLS fellowship will afford Corrigan the time and resources necessary to complete his book: “Religious Violence and American Foreign Policy.”
The culmination of years of research, Corrigan’s book argues that America often struggles to reckon with its national history of religious friction and factionalism. Corrigan said that he is interested in chronicling the ways that Americans tend to sanitize their conceptions of American religious history instead of grappling with its hard and unsavory truths.