NEH announces $17.4 million in awards and offers for 205 humanities projects

poster: Coney Island Water Festival, 1898
Photo caption

A newly awarded NEH grant will support a traveling exhibition on the history of Coney Island.

Library of Congress

WASHINGTON, (April 9, 2013)

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) announced today $17.4 million in grants for 205 humanities projects, including the expansion of an online database of Cold War-era satellite imagery that has proved invaluable to archeologists in discovering and mapping archeological sites in the Near East.

This funding will support a wide variety of projects ranging from traveling exhibitions, the production and development of films, and the creation of new undergraduate courses in the humanities, to stipends and fellowships that support scholarly research, the development of new digital tools for study of the humanities, and the preservation of and access to historic collections.

Among the grants announced are those that will support the creation of an annotated inter-textual digital map of the locations, events, and characters of William Faulkner’s fictional Yoknapatawpha county and help bring a series of scholar-led discussions and performances of classical Greek and Roman dramas to military veterans.

Several projects receiving grants in this funding cycle will help preserve fragile historical and cultural collections and make them more accessible to the broader public, such as the digitization of 30,000 scientific manuscripts and letters written and received by Charles Darwin, and the creation of a publicly accessible digital edition of the “Rosetta Stone of cuneiform” – a corpus of 1,500 ancient texts that document the pronunciation, usage, and meaning of cuneiform symbols.

NEH grants announced today will enable development of a documentary on the efforts of Boston civil rights activist William Monroe Trotter to launch a national boycott of D. W. Griffith’s 1915 film Birth of a Nation, and allow digital humanities researchers to refine the use of facial recognition software to identify the subjects of centuries-old portraits.  Additional funding will support a traveling exhibition on the history of Coney Island and its depiction in art and popular culture over the last 150 years, enable development of an undergraduate course that examines our changing understanding of the concept of friendship from ancient Mesopotamia to modern social networks, and provide for residential fellowships that allow scholars to conduct in-depth research at institutions such as the Massachusetts Historical Society and Folger Shakespeare Library.

“With these grants, the National Endowment for the Humanities continues its support of some of the most imaginative humanities research of our day,” said NEH Chairman Jim Leach. “From efforts to use new technologies to shed light on ancient history to undergraduate courses that help new generations grapple with the enduring questions of humankind, the projects receiving funding today will expand the boundaries of human knowledge and deepen our connection to our past.”

Institutions and independent scholars in 39 states and the District of Columbia will receive NEH support. Complete state-by-state listings of grants are available here (38-page PDF).

Grants were awarded in the following categories:

  • America’s Historical and Cultural Organizations: Planning and Implementation Grants support projects that create new ways to excite, inform, and stir thoughtful reflection upon culture, identity, and history in creative and new ways.
  • America’s Media Makers: Development Grants enable media producers to collaborate with scholars to develop humanities content and to prepare programs for production. 
  • America’s Media Makers: Production Grants support the preparation of a media program for distribution.
  • Digital Humanities Start-Up Grants encourage innovations in the digital humanities by supporting the planning stages of projects.
  • Enduring Questions Grants allow faculty members to develop a new undergraduate course that grapples with a fundamental question addressed by the humanities.
  • Fellowship Programs at Independent Research Institutions provide scholars with research time and access to resources that might not be available at their home institutions.
  • Humanities Collections and Reference Resources Grants allow institutions to preserve and provide access to collections essential to scholarship, education, and public programming in the humanities.
  • NEH On the Road Grants help small sites defray the cost of hosting an NEH traveling exhibition.
  • Summer Stipends support full-time work by a scholar on a humanities project for a period of two months.
Media Contacts:
Paula Wasley: (202) 606-8424 |