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NEH in the News

Selected articles on NEH-supported projects.
Posted: May 25, 2018 Steven Wernke receives ACLS grant to develop a digital platform for virtual archaeological survey in the Andes
Vanderbilt University Press

Steven Wernke, associate professor of anthropology and director of Vanderbilt’s Spatial Analysis Research Laboratory (SARL), has received a $150,000 digital extension grant from the American Council of Learned Societies to develop a digital platform that promises to greatly expand our understanding of Andean culture. Wernke developed a prototype of the project with a National Endowment for the Humanities startup grant, as well as support from the Vanderbilt Center for Digital Humanities and the Center for Advanced Spatial Technologies at the University of Arkansas. Parker VanValkenburgh, an anthropologist at Brown University, is the project’s co-director.

The Geospatial Platform for Andean Culture, History and Archaeology (GeoPACHA) will collate and connect satellite imagery from a variety of sources, as well as photos from historic aerial surveys, to build a detailed inventory of archaeological remains in the Andes—including many that have not been discovered yet.

Archaeology is an inherently piecemeal endeavor, Wernke said. “Excavation is a very slow and small-scale process, and even surface surveys are limited in area and can take years. With this collaborative platform for surveying high-resolution satellite imagery, we can achieve systematic coverage at an inter-regional scale—the scale of large empires like that of the Inkas—for the first time.”

Posted: May 24, 2018 Holyoke Community College reaffirms commitment to educating underserved Hispanic students
Daily Hampshire Gazette

At Holyoke Community College, 27 percent of students identify as Hispanic, many of them Puerto Rican.  Designated a Hispanic Serving Institution since 2016, the college took a moment Wednesday to reflect on the ways it serves its Latinx students and to reaffirm its commitment to providing strong education to all students, and especially those underserved, first generation, low-income Latinx students.

Latinx (pronounced “La-teen-ex”) is a gender-neutral term used by some in place of Latino or Latina.

“Hispanic Serving Institution” is a federal designation for colleges and universities where more than 25 percent of the student population is Hispanic and can open up opportunities for designated schools to apply for specialized grants.  An afternoon panel discussion by professors at the college touched on a sampling of the initiatives that have helped improve the success of Latinx students over the last few years.

Spanish professor Raúl D. Gutiérrez showed a video illustrating the ways in which Latinx studies have been integrated into the college’s curriculum with a Bridging Cultures Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. The college, in collaboration with the Center for Latin American and Latino Studies at the University of Massachusetts, received a three-year, $120,000 award to enhance courses with Latino studies content in 2015.

Gutiérrez also shared letters from students that spoke of the value of diversity in the classroom, not just in students but in learning materials.

“Why not read Latinx authors in English class and learn about Puerto Rico’s debt crisis in economics class?” Gutiérrez said.

Spanish professor Mónica Torregrosa asked the crowd to consider two questions: Does the college’s designation as a Hispanic Serving Institution mean it focuses only on the 27 percent of the school that is Latinx? What about the other 73 percent?

“Diversifying and strengthening the ways we serve Latinx students actually helps HCC serve all students,” Torregrosa said.

Posted: May 24, 2018 Desert Caballeros Western Museum recognizes veterans, military families on Memorial Day
The Wickenburg Sun

The Desert Caballeros Western Museum strives to be welcoming and accessible for as many members of the community as possible. In addition to offering guidePORT™ audio tours in English and Spanish, the museum offers free admission to children age 17 and under and active duty military families.

The museum is proud to partner with the National Endowment for the Humanities, Blue Star Families, and the United States Department of Defense to participate in the Blue Star Museums program. Each year from Memorial Day through Labor Day, more than 2,000 museums across the US open their doors to active duty members of the military and their families – for free. Offering free admission is not only a simple way for DCWM to say “thank you”; museums and cultural institutions are a great way for families who are frequently on the move to get acquainted with their new homes and communities. DCWM extends free admission throughout the year to active duty members of the military and their immediate families.

Posted: May 23, 2018 Philip Roth, fearless and celebrated author, dies at 85
The Sun Chronicle

NEH 2010 National Humanities Medal Winner

Philip Roth, the prize-winning novelist and fearless narrator of sex, death, assimilation and fate, from the comic madness of "Portnoy's Complaint" to the elegiac lyricism of "American Pastoral," died Tuesday night at age 85.

Roth's literary agent, Andrew Wylie, said the author died in a New York City hospital of congestive heart failure.

The author of more than 25 books, Roth was a fierce satirist and uncompromising realist, confronting readers in a bold, direct style that scorned false sentiment or hopes for heavenly reward. He was an atheist who swore allegiance to earthly imagination, whether devising pornographic functions for raw liver or indulging romantic fantasies about Anne Frank. In "The Plot Against America," published in 2004, he placed his own family under the anti-Semitic reign of President Charles Lindbergh. In 2010, in "Nemesis," he subjected his native New Jersey to a polio epidemic.

He was among the greatest writers never to win the Nobel Prize. But he received virtually every other literary honor, including two National Book Awards, two National Book Critics Circle prizes and, in 1998, the Pulitzer for "American Pastoral." He was in his 20s when he won his first award and awed critics and fellow writers by producing some of his most acclaimed novels in his 60s and 70s, including "The Human Stain" and "Sabbath's Theater," a savage narrative of lust and mortality he considered his finest work.
Posted: May 23, 2018 Western New Mexico University’s ¡Fiesta Latina! Invites Cultural Exchange

“¡Fiesta Latina! gives people opportunities to explore new cultures and discover the beauty of ancient handcraft trades,” said WNMU Assistant to the President for Cultural Affairs Faye McCalmont, who organizes the international festival.

To celebrate global relationships and honor Latin traditions, ¡Fiesta Latina! is introducing a five-part film and discussion series this year. Five of the more than two dozen visiting artisans will appear for Q & A sessions after screenings of documentaries about their work and their families. Support for the series is provided in part by the New Mexico Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities

Posted: May 23, 2018 History helps students thrive with conflict, compromise

York Middle School students Daniel Cammarota, Anna Cohen, Cameron Dalton, Connor D’Aquila and Caitlin Edminster will be among American high school and middle school students from all 50 states and U.S. territories participating and competing in the 2018 National History Day Contest at the University of Maryland this June.

The 10-minute long middle school documentary the students created is titled “The Dog Days of Summer” and reveals the conflicts and compromises surrounding the Russo-Japanese War and the significant roles of Theodore Roosevelt and the local community in accomplishing the Portsmouth Peace Treaty. Other York Middle School state competitors were Eric Cunnington and Margaret Hanlon.

“Creating an entry for the National History Day Contest requires keen analytical thinking and assessment of historical sources,” said National History Day Executive Director Dr. Cathy Gorn. “Participants spend countless hours researching and examining sources for credibility and accuracy. These are skills that help them in all aspects of life, especially life as an active member of a democratic society.”

Established in 1974 NHD is sponsored in part by HISTORY, Jostens, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Park Service, Southwest Airlines, the Joe Weider Foundation, and the WEM 2000 Foundation of the Dorsey & Whitney Foundation. For more information, visit

Posted: May 22, 2018 Woodbury Public Library chosen for Founding Era Public Programming grant

The Woodbury Public Library has been awarded a Revisiting the Founding Era Grant to implement public programming and community conversations that explore America's founding and its enduring themes. 

Revisiting the Founding Era is a three-year national initiative of The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, presented in partnership with the American Library Association and the National Constitution Center, with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Posted: May 22, 2018 Uncle Dave Macon – Dixie Dewdrop revealed
Bluegrass Today

One of early Country music’s most flamboyant characters was Uncle Dave Macon, born David Harrison Macon, but better-known as “The Dixie Dewdrop.”

Known for his chin whiskers, plug hat, gold teeth and gates-ajar collar – old-time banjo player, singer, songwriter and comedian –  Uncle Dave Macon was a natural showman. He was the first real star of WSM’s Grand Ole Opry, albeit that he didn’t perform professionally until he was turned 50 years of age.  All this said, Uncle Dave is more than a very suitable candidate for a biography and nobody is more appropriate to document his life than family member Michael D Doubler, already the author of six books. 

In Dixie Dewdrop: The Uncle Dave Macon Story (University of Illinois Press) Doubler looks at (a) his love for music, which began at the age of 13 and continued until his death, aged 81; (b) his love for family, especially his wife, Miss Tildy; (c) his struggle with an addiction to alcohol; (d) and his faith in God.

Publication of this book is supported by the Dragan Plamenac Endowment of the American Musicological Society, funded in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities; the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; and by the Judith McCulloh Endowment for American Music.

Posted: May 22, 2018 The Iroquois County Historical Society will present a program on women during Civil War
The Iroquois Times-Republic

The Iroquois County Historical Society is proud to announce Betty Kay, a noted historical actor, will present the program “Three Illinois Women During the Civil War.”  Kay will begin her presentation as Jenny Hodgers, of Belvidere, also known as Albert Cashier, a woman who passed as a man to fight in the Civil War. She will also portray Mother Bickerdyke of Galesburg, who established 300 field hospitals, and Julie Dent Grant, wife of the commanding General Ulysses Grant.

Hodgers/Cashier fought in the Civil War three years while hiding her true identity. She continued living as a man for years after the war, even voting years before women were legally allowed to do so. Bickerdyke assisted wounded soldiers on 19 battlefields, and Grant participated in the victory parade on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, DC in May, 1865.

The event is being produced in part by Illinois Humanities Road Scholars Speakers Bureau, a program which provides organizations statewide with affordable, entertaining and thought-provoking humanities events for their communities. A roster of speakers, hailing from 20 towns and cities across the state, present topics in history, culture, literature, music, politics, law, science and many more. Illinois Humanities is an independent, nonprofit state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, dedicated to fostering a culture in which the humanities are a vital part of the lives of individuals and communities.

Posted: May 21, 2018 Bernard Lewis, Prolific Mideast Scholar, Dies at 101
New York Times

National Endowment for the Humanities 2006 National Humanities Medalist

Bernard Lewis, a prolific Middle East scholar whose insights on Islam illuminated debates on the region's conflicts, has died. He was 101.

Lewis died Saturday at an assisted living facility in Vorhees Township, New Jersey. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called him "one of the great scholars of Islam and the Middle East in our time."

"I will always feel privileged to have witnessed firsthand his extraordinary erudition and I gleaned invaluable insights from our many meetings over the years," Netanyahu said in a statement Monday. "Professor Lewis's wisdom will continue to guide us for years to come."

In hundreds of articles and more than 30 books, Lewis established himself as one of the world's foremost experts on Islam, bringing a dose of antiquity to discussions of jihadism, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the nuclear threat of Iran, and expanding consciousness of the historical roots of those problems.