Publication Date

January 1, 2012

Perspectives Section


NEH Awards $21 Million in New Grants

On December 1, 2011, the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) announced $21 million in grants for 215 humanities projects. In this award cycle, institutions and independent scholars in 43 states and the District of Columbia will receive NEH support. See a list of grantees online at

This funding will support a wide variety of projects, including research fellowships and awards for scholars, the preservation of humanities collections at smaller institutions, traveling exhibitions, and humanities initiatives at historically black colleges, institutions with high Hispanic enrollment, and tribal colleges and universities. The grants awarded will also support training for museum and archive staff to preserve and enhance access to their collections, while NEH Challenge Grants provide support for long-term humanities activities.

As part of the agency's Bridging Cultures initiative—which encourages projects that explore the ways in which cultures from around the globe, as well as the myriad subcultures within America's borders, have influenced American society—NEH announced awards in three special grant programs: Bridging Cultures Through Film, Bridging Cultures at Community Colleges, and Bridging Cultures Implementation Grants for Public Programs. Projects receiving funding through these programs include the production of a film on the experiences of the Cambodian actor Haing Ngor during the Cambodian genocide and his life in America afterwards, the implementation of library programming and a companion web site on the poetry of the Muslim world, and a grant to the American Historical Association for a two-year professional and curriculum development project for faculty and administrators from 18 community colleges to improve introductory humanities courses at two-year institutions (see the details of this AHA project).

Also among the grants announced are a research fellowship to examine reading habits in the antebellum South and their relationship to slavery and an emerging market economy, and a challenge grant to provide tuition-free introductory college level courses in American history, literature, and writing to low income students in Massachusetts. Funding will also support workshops for cultural heritage conservators on preventative conservation methods and the conservation of digital prints, and provide climate monitoring equipment to protect a collection of 1,000 artifacts documenting the lives of Chinese immigrants in Lewiston, Idaho, in the late 19th century.

Registration Open for Humanities Advocacy Day, 2012

Online registration for the 2012 Humanities Advocacy Day organized by the National Humanities Alliance is now open. Events will take place Monday, March 19 through Tuesday, March 20, 2012, in Washington, D.C. For the preliminary program and other event information, visit

With increasing budgetary pressures on federal spending, your help is needed now more than ever to defend critical humanities programs. The National Coalition for History is a co-sponsor of the annual event.

Humanities Advocacy Day started in 2000 to provide an opportunity for the entire humanities community to convene, meet with their elected officials, and convey the importance of federal support for the humanities. Strong participation in Humanities Advocacy Day events is essential to our success in increasing public support for, and understanding of, the humanities.

The 2012 preliminary program includes: NHA annual membership meeting; presentations of current work in the humanities; panel discussions on the humanities role in research, education, public engagement and other policy areas; luncheon with keynote address; humanities funding and policy briefing; Capitol Hill reception; and visits with Members of Congress.

is the executive director of the National Coalition for History. He can be reached at

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