NEH Announces $16.3 Million for 290 Humanities Projects

Grants to fund wide range of programming and scholarship.

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WASHINGTON, (December 9, 2016)

Today the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) announced funding for 290 projects in 43 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. $16.3 million in grants will support a variety of humanities-based research and programs. The grants announced include the inaugural round of Humanities Access grants, which were awarded through NEH’s Office of Challenge Grants to 34 organizations that provide cultural programming to underserved groups.

“The humanities help us study our past, understand our present, and prepare for our future,” said NEH Chairman William D. Adams. “The National Endowment for the Humanities is proud to support projects that will benefit all Americans and remind us of our shared human experience.”

Among the projects funded by the Endowment is the creation of an interactive website that will allow the public to access 5,600 interviews conducted by legendary Chicago journalist and historian Studs Terkel. The Studs Terkel Radio Archive will feature recordings spanning over four decades, including conversations with Maya Angelou, Carl Sagan, Martin Luther King Jr., Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin, Muhammad Ali, and countless other prominent cultural and intellectual figures. The project will also produce curriculum materials that can be used alongside the recordings in an educational setting.

NEH will support the ongoing documentation of the past through interviews with a grant to Little Big Horn College in Crow Agency, Montana. A new project by the college’s humanities faculty will train students in oral history methods as they document the stories of aging members of the Crow tribe.

A research fellowship will fund a study of Kurdish nationalism by Southern Methodist University professor Sabri Ates. The project will explore the absence of an independent or autonomous Kurdistan and will draw on sources in many different languages and from a wide range of humanities fields.

Xavier University of Louisiana will be able to create a disaster plan thanks to a preservation grant from NEH. The new plan will allow the university to protect the historical and literary treasures in its special collections, including a handwritten poem by Frederick Douglass and one of the few remaining original copies of the first anthology of African-American poetry published in the United States.

A full list of grants by state is available here

Grants were awarded in the following categories:

Awards for Faculty

Support advanced research in the humanities by teachers at Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Hispanic-Serving Institutions, and Tribal Colleges and Universities.

12 grants totaling $541,800

Common Heritage Grants

Preserve and make accessible materials important to family and community histories by supporting digitization events and public programming at local cultural organizations.

25 grants totaling $293,470

Digital Projects for the Public Grants

Support projects such as websites, mobile applications, games, and virtual environments that significantly contribute to the public’s engagement with humanities ideas.

13 grants totaling $1,606,330


Support college and university teachers and independent scholars pursuing advanced research.

86 grants totaling $4,132,800

Fellowships for Advanced Social Science Research on Japan

A joint activity of the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission (JASFC) and NEH. Awards support research on modern Japanese society and political economy, Japan’s international relations, and U.S.-Japan relations.

2 grants totaling $79,800

Humanities Access Grants

Support outstanding cultural programs for young people, communities of color, and economically disadvantaged populations.

34 grants totaling $3,000,000

Humanities Initiatives Grants

Strengthen and enrich humanities education and scholarship at Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Hispanic Serving Institutions, and Tribal Colleges and Universities.

13 grants totaling $1,253,100

NEH On the Road Grants

Bring NEH-funded traveling exhibitions to small and mid-sized museums across the country.

8 grants totaling $8,000

Preservation and Access Research and Development Grants

Support projects that address major challenges in preserving or providing access to humanities collections and resources.

8 grants totaling $1,317,999

Preservation Assistance Grants for Smaller Institutions

Help institutions —particularly small and mid-sized institutions— improve their ability to preserve and care for their humanities collections, including special collections of books and journals, archives and manuscripts, prints and photographs, moving images, sound recordings, architectural and cartographic records, decorative and fine arts, textiles, archeological and ethnographic artifacts, furniture, and historical objects.

78 grants totaling $441,537

Preservation Education and Training Grants

Help the staff of cultural institutions obtain the knowledge and skills needed to serve as effective stewards of humanities collections. Grants also support educational programs that prepare the next generation of conservators and preservation professionals, as well as projects that introduce the staff of cultural institutions to recent improvements in preservation and access practices.

6 grants totaling $1,340,391

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