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NEH in the News

Selected articles on NEH-supported projects.
Posted: April 30, 2018 Xavier University receives humanities grant
The Advocate

The National Endowment for the Humanities has awarded a $35,000 grant to Xavier University of Louisiana to expand the role of the humanities in undergraduate education.

The minor in digital humanities, data science and digital justice will teach students the humanistic tools of critique, appreciation and engagement, while providing skills development in digital platforms that are used in businesses.

Under the direction of Kim Vaz-Deville, professor of education and associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, the funds will be used to address the long-term plans of the university and the workforce development needs of the community it serves.

Vaz-Deville said the minor is steeped in Xavier’s mission as a Historically Black and Catholic University preparing students for leadership and to work toward a more just and humane society.

Posted: April 30, 2018 Marking Mississippi’s Literary Trail, From William Faulkner to Jesmyn Ward
Independent Recorder

Mississippi authors have long stood their ground in the South’s competitive literary landscape.  William Faulkner won a Nobel Prize in 1949 for his textured examination of aristocratic decay in small-town Mississippi. Eudora Welty was awarded a Presidential Medal of Freedom for her novels and essays. More recently, the National Book Award winner Jesmyn Ward explored the dark moodiness of race and poverty along Mississippi’s Gulf Coast.

Now they and a host of other literary heroes from the Magnolia State will be celebrated along the newly named Mississippi Writers Trail. This month, the Mississippi Arts Commission received a $30,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to set up a series of markers across the state to honor the contributions of its most prominent writers.

Posted: April 30, 2018 Dr. Johnson Receives Grants For Research
The Chattanoogan

Lee University’s Dr. Aaron Johnson, associate professor of humanities and classics, has been awarded grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Loeb Classical Library Foundation, and the Appalachian College Association for research he will pursue throughout the upcoming summer and fall. 

Dr. Johnson will use the grants to focus on a book he is currently writing that will attempt to explain the significance of Cyril of Alexandria’s “Against Julian the Emperor,” a 5th century A.D. defense of Christianity that currently has no English translation. In addition to writing the book, Dr. Johnson will translate the Greek text to English. 

“Cyril is known to many historians as one of the most violent bishops of antiquity and a sort of thug,” said Dr. Johnson. “It is exciting to have such an important text that very few scholars have actually read by this fascinating character. My work on the text will hopefully shed important light on what made him tick.” 

Posted: April 30, 2018 A new call to arms at Worcester Art Museum: planning for display of Higgins Armory collection
Worcester Telegram

The Worcester Art Museum has been awarded a grant that will help it plan for the long-term installation of the collection of arms and armor acquired after Higgins Armory closed in 2014.

The museum announced Tuesday it has received a $40,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to support the planning phase for the installation of the John Woodman Higgins Armory Collection.

The Higgins collection at the art museum includes arms, armor and metalwork from around the world and from antiquity to the 19th century. Within the next five years, the museum plans to open a long-term installation, displaying nearly the entire 2,000-object collection in a combination of gallery displays and open storage.

The museum in a press release called the planned arrangement an innovative design solution that allows museum visitors to see a large quantity of artwork in a nontraditional exhibition space.

The permanent arms and armor galleries will be the final phase of fully integrating the collection, according to the museum. The first step was the “Knights!” exhibition that opened in March 2014 - less than three months after the armory closed - and remained on view until November 2016. In 2015, the “Samurai!” exhibition paired historical Japanese arms and armor with works by contemporary artists.

Posted: April 27, 2018 Senate Confirms Leader for Humanities Endowment

The U.S. Senate on Thursday confirmed Jon Parrish Peede as the 11th chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Since William D. Adams, an appointee of President Obama, stepped down as chairman in May, Peede has been the senior person at the NEH. Advocates for the humanities were pleased with his nomination in March, saying they respected Peede and viewed the nomination as a sign that President Trump recognized that Congress would continue to reject his proposals to kill the endowment.

Peede has experience in the humanities publishing world and in government. He has served as publisher of Virginia Quarterly Review, at the University of Virginia; as literature grants director at the National Endowment for the Arts; as director of communications at Millsaps College; and as an editor at Mercer University Press.

Posted: April 26, 2018 Tracing the slave stories of colonial Mexico
University of Rochester Press

Sierra Silva’s research focuses on the experiences of enslaved people, mostly Africans, South Asians, and their descendants, in the cities of colonial Mexico (New Spain) during the 16th and 17th centuries. Reaching beyond traditional master–slave narratives, he studies afro-indigenous interactions in the urban centers of central Mexico.

Sierra Silva discovered that at least 20,000 people were sold in Puebla’s slave market during the 17th century. What surprised him most, he says, was that the slave markets there surged once again in the 1680s, a development that previous studies had completely missed or disregarded.

“If anything, this new research suggests that a powerful, cultural demand for slave ownership continued well into the 18th century,” Sierra Silva says.

But unlike in more traditional plantation slavery, he argues that slaves in Spanish American cities had greater access to resources and allies that allowed them to lessen their masters’ control. Ultimately, by the end of the 17th century, enslaved families and their allies had successfully eroded slaveholder power in colonial Puebla, Sierra Silva finds.

Not resting on his laurels, he is now researching his next project. Last December, he was awarded a $50,400 fellowship by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to support his investigation of an infamous 1683 pirate raid on Veracruz that involved the violent capture and subsequent selling of between 1,000 to 1,500 Veracruzanos of African descent into slavery.

While history remembers the violent raid on Veracruz, little is known about its victims.

Posted: April 25, 2018 Allegheny College professors receive grant to integrate Humanities and Sciences
Meadville Tribune

Two Allegheny College professors have been awarded $35,000 from the National Endowment for the Humanities to plan for interdisciplinary partnerships between the natural sciences and the humanities and to extend the impact of the humanities in and out of the classroom.

Associate professor of English M. Soledad Caballero, project director, and associate professor of psychology Aimee Knupsky, co-project director, will use the funding to apply ethical interdisciplinarity at the college to enhance the impact of the humanities so scholars learn with one another rather than learn about each other in isolation.

“To solve problems like climate change or the health-care crisis, we need to do more than read a book or test a sample,” Knupsky said. “We need to be able to do both and to talk to one another in the process. We’d like to see a return to the ‘age of wonder’ when writers, scientists and scholars collaborated without boundaries, leading to some of the most innovative advances of the modern world.”

Posted: April 20, 2018 The Importance of PBS Documentary GI Jews Deep Look at Jewish Americans in World War II
Parade Daily

A Last Chance to Record History (Along with Two Entertainment Icons): “The film took almost five years to make,” Ades said. “The challenge was how to capture these stories while the men and women who served were still alive to tell them. In 2013, fewer than 6% of WWII veterans, mostly in their 90s, were still alive. This was our last chance to record these stories, so we appealed to the NEH [National Endowment for the Humanities], who had awarded us development and production grants, to release “emergency funds” to begin interviewing. Remarkably, our first day of shooting in December 2014 was at 92-year-old (he’s now 96) Carl Reiner’s house in Beverly Hills. A gentleman and a mensch, he sat for an interview and then allowed us to interview his close friend and fellow GI Jew Mel Brooks there that same afternoon. It was an auspicious start to the project.”

Posted: April 20, 2018 Connecting graduate education, underserved populations aim of NEH grant
Washington State University Insider

Creating a national model to connect graduate education in the humanities to rural and underserved populations is the aim of a new Washington State University effort being funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The $18,000 NEH matching grant culminates a year of discussion and planning at WSU, and is funded through the NEH’s NextGen Ph.D. program.

The interdisciplinary initiative will bring together more than 20 faculty, staff, graduate students and recent graduate alumni from across WSU. The group will consider how graduate education in the humanities can better support the university’s land-grant mission of improving access, inclusivity and democratic engagement.

Posted: April 20, 2018 Discussions to foster youth involvement in community
Ontario Argus Observer

Free discussions about creating inclusive communities and everyday leaders will be presented by the Drexel H. Foundation on Monday and on April 30. The program is made possible by the support of Oregon Department of Humanities, The National Endowment for the Humanities and the Oregon Cultural Trust, in addition to the foundation, according to a news release from the Vale nonprofit.

Sandijean Fuson, executive director of the Drexel Foundation said the talks, part of the Conversation Project, are appropriate for all ages.