NEH announces $31.5 million in grants for 226 humanities projects across the country. Courtesy/NEH
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Tuesday announced $31.5 million in grants for 226 humanities projects across the country.
These grants will support the publication of a Library of America anthology and accompanying national public programs series at 90 public libraries on 400 years of Latino poetry and enable the development of machine-learning algorithms to compare and classify features of Realist, Impressionist, and Barbizon School paintings to help art historians trace the spread of artistic styles.
This round of funding, NEH’s third and last for fiscal year 2022, will support vital humanities research, education, preservation, and public programs. These peer-reviewed grants were awarded in addition to $52 million in annual operating support provided to the national network of state and jurisdictional humanities councils.
“NEH is proud to support the many scholars, curators, storytellers, filmmakers, and teachers who are helping preserve, examine, and share the country’s rich and expansive history and culture,” NEH Chair Shelly C. Lowe (Navajo) said. “From books and documentaries to the preservation of cultural heritage materials, these 226 exceptional projects will foster the exchange of ideas and increase access to humanities knowledge, resources, and experiences.”
Among the projects to receive funding are a “Digital Cairo” database and interpretive website tracking the urban transformation of Cairo during the nineteenth and early twentieth century using Ottoman-era newspapers and a historical and archaeological exploration of the Cataract House hotel in Niagara Falls, New York, an important stop on the Underground Railroad. Additional grants will enable the development of Booksnake, a mobile app to allow users to view and manipulate digitized archival materials in augmented reality and support the creation of legal and ethical protocols for U.S.-based humanities researchers around data mining of large-scale digital collections of textual materials held outside of the United States.
NEH grants will also underwrite a new traveling exhibition on Jacob Lawrence’s 1964–65 Nigeria series and the artistic exchange between the African American painter and his contemporaries in West Africa and support planning of a bilingual traveling exhibition and public programs examining Mexican Americans’ representation and participation in American filmmaking from the 1920s to the present. New funding for media projects will make possible a film about the 400-year history of Shakespeare’s plays since the publication of the First Folio in 1623 and a documentary on the life and work of Dominican American writer Julia Alvarez, as well as a podcast series on the history and legacy of the 1930s Federal Writers’ Project.
New funding for scholarly editions and translations will enable continued work on several longstanding NEH-supported editorial projects, including the nine-volume Freedom: A Documentary History of Emancipation, 1861–1867; the complete works of George and Ira Gershwin; and the collected papers of influential figures such as Thomas Edison, Jane Addams, and seven U.S. presidents; and translations of The Divine Tragedy by twelfth-century Sufi poetʿAṭṭār of Nishapur and oral folktales of the Dena’ina Alaska Native people.
Several newly funded projects will help preserve fragile historical and cultural collections and make them more accessible to the broader public, such as grants to safeguard a large collection of zooarchaeological artifacts at the University of Wyoming Archaeological Repository that shed light on pre-historic bison hunting practices and funding to protect collections related to the work of architect Frank Lloyd Wright at his Taliesin West studio and home in Arizona.
NEH Preservation Assistance Grants will help 65 small and mid-sized museums, libraries, historical societies, and archival repositories improve their ability to care for significant humanities collections. Among these are grants to help preserve: the archives of the American Baptist Historical Society; materials related to the life and work of poet John Ashbery; and digital collections of records, aerial photography, and oral histories held by the Museum of Flight in Seattle.
NEH Public Scholars grants, which support popular nonfiction books in the humanities, will enable publication of 26 new titles, including: a book on Ben Franklin’s attitudes towards money and finance; a history of Civil War fugitive slave “contraband camps” and their role in bringing about the 1862 Emancipation Proclamation; a biography of American author Madeline L’Engle; and an account of the 1980s lawsuit against the CIA on behalf of the unwitting human subjects of the agency’s Cold War-era MK-Ultra mind control experiments.
Thirty-seven grants for summer seminars, institutes, and workshops will provide professional enrichment and research opportunities for K–12 schoolteachers and college faculty on topics such as: the history and cultural impact of the American automobile industry; Washington D.C.’s FDR Memorial and its connection to the U.S. disability rights movement; incorporating veterans’ oral histories into high school level history, social sciences, civics, and literature classes; and the political, cultural, and economic histories of the Buffalo Nations of the Assiniboine, Sioux, Blackfeet, Crow, Northern Arapaho, and Eastern Shoshone.
This round of funding also marks the addition of the 50th U.S. state to the National Digital Newspaper Program. Dartmouth College received NEH funding to serve as the hub of the New Hampshire Digital Newspaper Program, expanding the scope of the Chronicling America online database of historical American newspapers published between 1690 and 1963. Additional funding awarded in this round will support ongoing newspaper digitization work in Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Minnesota, Nebraska, South Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia.
NEH awarded grants in the following categories:
- Collaborative Research: Support interpretive research undertaken by a team of two or more collaborating scholars that adds significantly to knowledge and understanding of the humanities 12 grants, totaling $1.8 million
- Digital Humanities Advancement Grants: Support the implementation of innovative digital humanities projects that have successfully completed a start-up phase and demonstrated their value to the field 18 grants, totaling $2.9 million
- Dynamic Language Infrastructure—Documenting Endangered Languages Senior Research Grants: Joint initiative between NEH and the National Science Foundation to support fieldwork and other activities relevant to recording, documenting, and archiving endangered languages, as well as the preparation of transcriptions, databases, grammars, and lexicons of languages that are in danger of being lost 1 grant, totaling $450,000
- Institutes for Advanced Topics in the Digital Humanities: Provide scholars and advanced graduate students with the opportunity to deepen their knowledge of advanced technology tools and methodologies relevant to the humanities and to increase the number of humanities scholars using digital technology in their research 3 grants, totaling $746,844
- Institutes for Higher Education Faculty: Support intensive one- to four-week projects in which sixteen to twenty-five college and university faculty members, working with scholarly experts, engage in collegial study of significant texts and topics in the humanities 11 grants, totaling $2.2 million
- Institutes for K-12 Educators: Support intensive one- to four-week projects in which sixteen to thirty schoolteachers, working with scholarly experts, engage in collegial study of significant texts and topics in the humanities 16 grants, totaling $2.9 million
- Landmarks of American History and Culture: Support a series of one-week workshops for a national audience of K–12 educators that enhance and strengthen humanities teaching at the K–12 level, focused on using particular places or communities to understand American history and culture 10 grants, totaling $1.9 million
- Media Projects: Development and Production Grants: Support film, television, and radio projects that explore significant events, figures, and ideas within the humanities. Development grants enable media producers to collaborate with scholars to develop humanities content and to prepare programs for production; production grants support the preparation of a project for presentation to the public. 10 grants, totaling $3.9 million
- National Digital Newspaper Program: Support the creation of a national, digital resource of historically significant newspapers published between 1690 and 1963, from all states and U.S. territories 12 grants, totaling $3 million
- 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, archaeological and ethnographic artifacts, furniture, and historical objects 65 grants, totaling $613,137
- Public Humanities Projects: Exhibitions, Historic Places, and Humanities Discussions: Support museum exhibitions, discussion programs, and interpretations of historic places that bring the ideas and insights of the humanities to life for general audiences 9 grants, totaling $2.4 million
- Public Scholars: Support well-researched books in the humanities aimed at a broad public audience 26 grants, totaling $1.4 million
- Scholarly Editions and Translations: Support the preparation of editions and translations of texts that are valuable to the humanities but are inaccessible or available only in inadequate editions 18 grants, totaling $4.4 million
- Sustaining Cultural Heritage Collections: Support preventative conservation measures to prolong the useful life of collections to help cultural institutions preserve large and diverse holdings of humanities materials for future generations 13 grants, totaling $1.6 million