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NEH in the News

Selected articles on NEH-supported projects.
Posted: July 11, 2017 Southern Festival of Books Announces Lineup, Expansion
Nashville Scene

Thanks to the Trump administration's proposed plan to target funding for the nation's cultural agencies, now is a particularly crucial time to recognize the importance of programs like the National Endowment for the Humanities. Every year, Humanities Tennessee — which is funded via a mixture of private donations and federal funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities — puts on the Southern Festival of Books in Nashville. It's a massive three-day event that draws hundreds of authors and thousands of attendees.

Over the weekend, Humanities Tennessee announced the lineup of the 29th annual Southern Festival of Books, which will take place Oct. 13-15. What's more, this year the festival will merge with Handmade & Bound Nashville — "a festival that celebrates independent publications and printed matter" — via a partnership between Humanities Tennessee and Watkins College of Art. This year will mark Handmade's seventh iteration, and the fest will offer "craft sales, hands-on demonstrations and a community project.

Posted: July 11, 2017 With NEH fellowship, Notre Dame Philosopher breaks New Ground on Aristotle’s Concept of Objectivity
University of Notre Dame News

Can humans truly attain an accurate, objective view of reality? Or is our perspective inescapably colored by who we are and what we’ve experienced?

Philosopher Sean Kelsey asserts that this problem is central to Aristotle’s text De Anima — and that Aristotle argued we can, a point his predecessors had tried and failed to make.

“Aristotle thinks that living things — both humans and other animals — can correctly measure reality,” Kelsey said. “That’s how it has to be if we are able to attain genuine insight into how things are. And for him, the starting point is that we manifestly do.

“How do we get things right? That’s what he wants to understand and explain.”

Kelsey, an associate professor in Notre Dame’s Department of Philosophy, was awarded a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities to explore the issue in his book project Life, Perception, and Insight: An Essay on Aristotle’s De Anima.

Posted: July 10, 2017 Defunding the National Endowment for the Humanities could destroy Tennessee history
The Tennessean

Who would be affected in our state if such cuts to NEH, and Humanities Tennessee by extension, are passed by Congress? Veterans who participate in reading groups discussing the experiences of war and homecoming in Athens, Tenn. High schoolers who spend a summer week working with published authors to hone their own writing in Appalachian Tennessee. Communities whose history and cultural stories are being told by local and regional museums with limited or non-existent budgets.

The elimination of the NEH would mean decreased resources and activity among the institutions that preserve Tennessee’s history and collective culture. In the past five years alone, the NEH has awarded over 60 grants worth hundreds of thousands of dollars to Tennessee institutions to conduct public programs and research.

Humanities Tennessee, with annual support from NEH, has itself invested millions in protecting and making accessible the voices, stories, history and culture of our communities. We have awarded grants to organizations and educators in every congressional district in the state, often to recipients in communities who have few other places to look for support.

Posted: July 10, 2017 William D. Adams, Former Chairman of the NEH, and Michael McPherson, Outgoing President of the Spencer Foundation, Appointed Senior Fellows at The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

"It is an honor and pleasure to welcome Bro and Mike to the Mellon Foundation for a period of study, engagement, and exploration," said Mellon Foundation President Earl Lewis. "Bro has been a stalwart public servant, highly regarded educational leader, and steadfast defender of the importance of the arts and humanities to the wellbeing of a vibrant, literate democracy. Mike is a friend, noted college and foundation president, and leading economist. Without question, we will all benefit from Mike's ability to probe, question, synthesize and engage. We look forward to both fellows taking residency."

"We are delighted to have Bro and Mike join us," said Mariët Westermann, executive vice president for programs and research at The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.  "These two extraordinary academic leaders and scholars will contribute greatly to our research and grantmaking initiatives related to the liberal arts and the humanities. They will also have opportunities to continue their own scholarship, which often had to take a back seat to their leadership roles in higher education and philanthropy for many years."

Posted: July 10, 2017 Lewing to tell Thomas Meagher stories at Fort Missoula
The Missoulian

Lewing presents the story in folklore, music and Meagher’s own words. He’s the managing director of the Port Polson Players and secretary of the Thomas Francis Meagher Association, which last weekend staged the first Meagherfest in Helena. The festival included a coroner’s inquest in the Old Supreme Court Chambers at the state Capitol. A citizen jury deemed Meagher’s death murder and pinned it on Montana pioneer and vigilante Wilbur Fisk Sanders, a known Meagher antagonist.

Funding for the Montana Conversations program is provided by Humanities Montana through grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Montana’s Cultural Trust and private donations.

Posted: July 10, 2017 Duke Ellington Mash-up Sound at Levitt
WestportNow Media

Renowned bassist, composer and author Brian Q. Torff brought his New Duke ensemble to the Levitt Pavilion. The band led by the professor of music at Fairfield University offered up original songs as well as mash-up arrangements of Duke Ellington’s music infused with rock, funk, hip-hop, and other contemporary rhythm. The band started in 2011 with a boost from the National Endowment for the Humanities. In addition to his work at Fairfield University, Torff is the jazz series director at the Westport Arts Center.

Posted: July 10, 2017 If Trump cares about Western civilization, he needs to fund the arts
Washington Post

As one of the lexicographers at the Thesaurus Linguae Latinae (TLL), a 123-year-old and still-incomplete Latin dictionary, I write meticulously organized entries for this academic reference work alongside an international team of classicists. Encyclopaedia Britannica calls the TLL “probably the most scholarly dictionary in the world,” and after one year on the job, I’m inclined to agree. But my job may not exist much longer if the Trump administration succeeds in eliminating the National Endowment for the Humanities, the agency that funds the single American position at the TLL. In an academic parallel to the United States’ retreat from climate agreements and military alliances, defunding the NEH threatens to pull the nation out of the world’s collective effort to define — literally — Western history.

Posted: June 29, 2017 College leads in a new kind of scholarship: video essays
Addison Independent

Is criticism ever art? Can academic analysis move a person with the kind of appeal to emotion that art does?

Videographic criticism, a relatively new kind of scholarship that relies as much on the aesthetic as it does on the analytical, is being produced at Middlebury College. A National Endowment for the Humanities grant funded a workshop this month where film and media scholars are learning how to produce cutting edge videographic criticism.

Posted: June 29, 2017 West Chicago Public Library District Board Notes
Chicago City Wire

The ILA Executive Board met April 13, 2017. The Serving Our Public publication will be revised; and when the new edition is available, the West Chicago Library District Trustees will receive updated copies.

President Trump's budget plan calls for the elimination of four independent cultural agencies: The National Endowment for the Arts; the National Endowment for the Humanities; the Institute of Museum and Library Services; and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. These are large funding agencies which provide grant funding for libraries. Loss of these funding resources would have a significant negative effect on libraries; and this loss could impact libraries' upcoming budgeting process. ALA has sent correspondence to the U.S. Senators in support of maintaining the funding through these agencies.

Posted: June 28, 2017 New treasure trove of Inupiaq recordings being assessed for possible digital use
Alaska Public Media - KAKM-TV

In Kotzebue, An aging trove of Inupiat photographs, books and recordings at risk of deteriorating are being assessed in the hope they can be digitized for future use. Aqqaluk Memorial Trust, a cultural arm of NANA regional corporation received a small grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to bring in a preservation specialist this week, to examine the materials.

More than 4000 items including 500 recordings made from 1965 into the 1980s are in the collection. Arctic Sounder reporter Shady Grove Oliver said the nearly 50 year old recordings include conversations with elders, highlighting the importance of understanding what it means to be Inupiaq. She spoke with Alaska Public Media’s Lori Townsend.