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NEH in the News

Selected articles on NEH-supported projects.
Posted: August 9, 2018 Autry Museum in Los Angeles Among Recipients of NEH Grants

The National Endowment for the Humanities Wednesday announced $43.1 million in awards for 218 projects across the country, including $400,000 to the Autry Museum of the American West in Los Angeles to help implement a permanent exhibition, documentary and public programs exploring images of the American West in popular culture.

Other local NEH grant recipients include Museum Associates, which was given $100,000 to create a temporary, single-site exhibition on the art and history of Korean calligraphy; the International Documentary Association, which will use its $74,995 award to develop a one-hour documentary and companion website about newspaper columnist and radio commentator Walter Winchell, who died in 1972; and the Fullerton Museum Center, which was given $1,000 to develop ancillary public humanities programs to accompany an NEH-funded traveling exhibition on Coney Island.

Elsewhere in Southern California, a $264,000 grant awarded to UC Riverside will support the university’s ongoing effort to digitally archive hundreds of thousands of pages from newspapers published in California since the mid-19th century, and UC San Diego was awarded a $750,000 match grant for construction of a new Institute of Arts and Humanities, located in the university’s Arts and Humanities Building, to support scholarly research and collaborative programming in the areas of global, public and digital humanities.

Posted: August 7, 2018 Wake Forest University lands $850,000 grant to boost studies in humanities
Winston-Salem Journal

Wake received a $650,000 grant from the Mellon Foundation in 2015 to expand humanities research, practices and scholarships, and was the recipient of a $500,000 National Endowment for the Humanities Challenge Grant in 2010.

Posted: August 2, 2018 Indiana University Northwest Now Offering Medical Humanities Minor

Indiana University Northwest Associate Professor of History Jonathyne Briggs designed the History of Disability course and the medical humanities curriculum by drawing on his own research and personal experience as the father of a child on the autism spectrum.

A French historian, Briggs is currently working on a book about the history of autism in France. He found, through his research and in seeking services for his son, that there are vast differences in how individuals across the U.S., and worldwide, perceive and define autism differently.

This experience, along with his academic research on disabilities and culture, led him to see the broader topic of how we conceptualize disability as a culture, and how further exploring this would benefit those entering health professions.

“Disability is another form of diversity, but one which we don’t quite engage with in the same way as we do race or gender,” he said. “Although we are getting better at having more open discussions about race and gender, disability is something with which people are still embracing older ideas.”

It is also something that poses challenges for families and health care professionals who care for people with disabilities. As an example, Briggs points to his experience this summer, when he was invited to an academic workshop about the Global History of Disability. Held at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C., the nation’s only university exclusively serving deaf students, the privilege of attending was made possible by a prestigious grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).

Posted: August 2, 2018 Sharks in the Mississippi one of many Alton-area subjects slated for NPR podcast
The Edwardsville Intelligencer

Illinois Turns 200 looks at the past, present and potential futures of seven Illinois communities that arose along rivers, railroads and significant roads and tells their stories through live interviews, dramatic readings, archival material and musical performances. The seven-part series is going be available for broadcast to NPR-affiliates across Illinois and for downloading.

Illinois Turns 200 represents a partnership among Illinois Humanities, the Studs Terkel Radio Archive, Lewis and Clark Community College, National Great Rivers Museum and Alton Main Street. The podcast series is supported by State Farm Insurance and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Posted: August 1, 2018 NEH Summer Seminar on French Trouvères Held at IWU
Illinois Wesleyan University News

 Professor of French Chris Callahan and Assistant Professor of Music William Hudson directed a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Summer Seminar for College and University Teachers, held at Illinois Wesleyan University in late June, on the subject of French trouvères.

Drawing upon the combined expertise of Callahan, who studies medieval French lyric poetry, and Hudson, a specialist in the interpretation of medieval music, the seminar “Courtly Lyric in the Medieval French Tradition. Poetry as Performance” offered an interdisciplinary approach to the trouvères, who were lyric poets from medieval France.

Aside from guest lecturers, Callahan and Hudson served as the main instructors for the group, a blend of university faculty members and doctoral students with expertise in musicology or language and literature. In order to fully understand the work of trouvères as both music and poetry, Callahan and Hudson emphasized the need to integrate both subject areas.

“It was natural that we offer a seminar that introduced musicologists and performers to Old French language and literature, textual scholars to medieval music theory, and both to the craft of editing medieval song,” Callahan and Hudson shared in a joint-statement. They have a long-standing history of collaboration themselves, as advisors on books and joint presenters at international conferences.

Posted: July 27, 2018 Second study of Rappahannock Tribe's indigenous landscapes launched in river valley

The sun is beating down on 23-year-old Catherine Dye as she slowly shakes a grated screen to sift through soil and other material excavated from a small test pit.

The team member on a new archaeological and historical study of the “Indigenous Borderlands of the Chesapeake” has been at it since 7 a.m. near the Rappahannock River in Westmoreland County, just down the road from Oak Grove.

Before the team of four headed up by anthropologist Julia A. King of St. Mary’s College of Maryland knocks off for the day at 3:30, they will have found indications that Native Americans once called the spot home. Glass beads, ceramics, stone tools and other artifacts discovered in the test pits will eventually be labeled, cataloged and inserted into a database.

It’s all part of the quest to understand more about the Rappahannock Indians and others who made their home on either side of the river with the same name.

Archaeology and consultations with holders of significant artifact collections have already happened on the project in King George, Westmoreland and Essex counties. It is work funded by a new $240,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

If this sounds familiar, that’s because King, St. Mary’s archaeologist Scott Strickland and students from the college did a groundbreaking study in 2016 on the topic. That project used modern mapping technology and available history to identify “hot spots” where Rappahannock Indians likely lived in the river valley.

Posted: July 27, 2018 "Hoover Dam and the Shaping of the American West"
UNLV News Center

William Bauer, Michael Green, Greg Hise, Andy Kirk, and Michelle Turk (all History); Karen Harry (Anthropology); and Su Kim Chung and Claytee White (both Libraries) recently spoke as part of "Hoover Dam and the Shaping of the American West," a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute for College and University Faculty. Julian Kilker (Journalism) and Norma Flores (History) also were faculty members of the institute. 

Hoover Dam and the Shaping of the American West, a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute for college and university faculty which examines issues in early 20th century America through the lens of the construction of the Hoover Dam.

Posted: July 26, 2018 Longtime WVHC leader announces retirement
The Montgomery Herald

Ken Sullivan, executive director of the West Virginia Humanities Council, announced his retirement at the organization’s summer board meeting on July 20 in Clarksburg. Sullivan has led the Humanities Council since February 1997.

“It’s been a great run,” Sullivan said. “We’ve bought and restored a wonderful historic house in my time with the Council, and published the West Virginia Encyclopedia in both the print and online versions. I guess you could call those my babies in particular, but more importantly, we’ve pumped millions of dollars into humanities projects and events throughout the state.”

The Humanities Council bought the 1836 MacFarland-Hubbard House on Charleston’s Kanawha Boulevard two years after Sullivan became executive director and dedicated the historic property as its headquarters on West Virginia Day 2000. The West Virginia Encyclopedia was published as a 927-page book in June 2006 and online as e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia in 2010. The Humanities Council continues to operate the online encyclopedia, which may be viewed at

Sullivan’s retirement is effective on October 12. In a separate statement, the Humanities Council announced it has hired Dr. Eric Waggoner of West Virginia Wesleyan College as the organization’s new executive director. The West Virginia Humanities Council is the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Posted: July 26, 2018 History of the Commercial Record topic of ‘Tuesday Talk’

A look back at the history of Saugatuck’s weekly newspaper, The Commercial Record, on its 150th anniversary will be the topic of the Saugatuck-Douglas History Center’s next “Tuesday Talk” on July 31, in the Old School House, 130 Center Street, Douglas.

Sharing the role of presenters, former owner/editor of the newspaper Art Lane and current editor Scott Sullivan will reminisce about the evolution of Allegan County’s “oldest newspaper in continuous publication” (not counting two weeks off in 1886), through five different names and 20 different owners.  Together, they also give interesting witness to how the newspaper business has changed dramatically on their watch.

Among SDHC’s archives is a digitized library of The Commercial Record issues dating back to 1868. Soon, thanks to a 2018 Michigan Digital Newspaper Grant offered by the Clarke Historical Library at Central Michigan University, about 9,000 pages from the newspaper’s 1959-69 issues being digitized in high-resolution at the Clarke facility will be accessible online. Each page will be indexed and word-searchable, allowing for efficient searches over the internet from anywhere in the world as part of the Clarke Library’s Michigan Digital Newspaper database.

The CMU/Clarke grant, sought jointly by SDHC and Saugatuck-Douglas District Library, was funded with a 2012 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities’ National Digital Newspaper Program to digitize culturally significant Michigan newspapers.

Posted: July 25, 2018 Lost and found literature: NAU professor translates ancient Manichean papyrus manuscript
Northern Arizona University News

Over the past 16 centuries, it’s been buried, soaked, lost, looted, sold across international borders, feared, destroyed by war, painted with shellac and set between sheets of glass.

Its writers, followers of a visionary named Mani, wrote their religion’s oral traditions on papyrus. Damaged by moisture and blackened by age, this precious manuscript—known as the “Dublin Kephalaia”—was almost unreadable in 2007 when Northern Arizona University professor Jason BeDuhn, an expert in comparative religions in the Department of Comparative Cultural Studies, began a translation.

An NAU seed grant gave BeDuhn and two colleagues their start; larger grants from the Australian Research Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities totaling $500,000 followed. This month, after 10 years of analysis, the manuscript’s ancient stories will be heard again.