The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) today announced $24 million in grants for 225 humanities projects across the country. These grants will support a diverse range of exemplary humanities projects, including Audio History Project, a podcast series that uses archival audio recordings to illuminate forgotten stories about individuals and events from twentieth-century American history and culture, and Enslaved: Peoples of the Historical Slave Trade, an online repository that documents the lives of individuals who were enslaved, owned slaves, or participated in the historical slave trade.
“NEH is proud to support these 225 new projects, which embody excellence, intellectual rigor, and a dedication to the pursuit of knowledge, even as our nation and the humanities community continue to face the challenges of the pandemic,” said NEH Acting Chairman Adam Wolfson. “We look forward to the contributions these projects will make to our understanding of ourselves and our society through exemplary humanities research, publications, documentary films, exhibitions, and undergraduate programs.”
This funding cycle includes the first grants made under NEH’s new Archaeological and Ethnographic Field Research grant program, which supports empirical field research. Newly awarded grants in this area will support excavation of the ancient city of Teotihuacan in central Mexico to determine the presence and influence of Mayan residents; archaeological investigation of settlement and migration patterns on the Micronesian islands of Pohnpei and Kosrae; and excavation of Egypt’s first industrial-scale brewery, located at the ancient site of Abydos.
Several projects receiving grants will help preserve historical and cultural collections and make them available to the broader public, such as the digitization of a large corpus of gospel songbooks, hymnals, and spirituals published in the American South between 1850 and 1925 and an initiative to improve access to audiovisual archives on the coal-mining industry in Appalachia at Kentucky’s Appalshop. Additional funding will support a cooperative effort between Northern Arizona University and the Hopi Tribe, Hualapai Tribe, and Diné College on the Navajo Nation to digitize 400 rare films documenting the Colorado Plateau and the American southwest from the 1930s to the 1960s, and the expansion of the Freedom of Information Archive, a digital resource of 4.6 million declassified documents, to include materials related to post-WWII diplomacy and international development from the archives of NATO, the United Nations, the World Bank, and the Wilson Center.
Other funding will support the creation of media, exhibitions, and public programs that bring the insights of the humanities to wide audiences. These include grants to produce The Bigger Picture, a series of short documentaries examining iconic photographs that have shaped American history and culture, and the Lost Highways podcast series on Colorado and Western history. NEH Public Humanities Projects grants will underwrite the Los Angeles County Museum of Art exhibition “Dining with the Sultan,” featuring art depicting Islamic courtly dining culture and culinary traditions from the eighth through the nineteenth century; enable the creation of a national traveling exhibition about the role of religious pluralism in shaping nineteenth-century westward expansion in the United States; and support a permanent exhibition and walking tour at the Museo del Westside in San Antonio, Texas, on the history of the city’s multiracial working class and immigrant neighborhoods. Another award will provide for public programs and site interpretation at Granada National Historic Landmark in Colorado, known as Amache, to introduce visitors to the place where 10,331 people of Japanese descent were incarcerated during World War II.
Education grants for curriculum innovation in the humanities will enable development of a new interdisciplinary minor in medical and health humanities at Johnson and Wales University; the integration of the study of history into undergraduate professional programs in homeland security, informatics, and public health at SUNY-Albany; and the creation of interdisciplinary courses and civic engagement activities focused on the history of the African-American community of Quakertown, a historic freedmen’s settlement, at Texas Woman’s University.
New NEH Dialogues on the Experience of War grants will support a discussion program at the USS Constitution Museum for navy veterans and their families, focusing on historical documents and material culture from the War of 1812 and the Global War on Terror. Medical residents from the Uniformed Services University will be trained to lead groups of patients at the DC Veterans Administration Hospital in discussions of literary works about the Civil War, World War I, and the Vietnam War.
NEH Summer Stipends for scholars will enable archival research for more than ninety publications, including a book on signed music for the Deaf community, a study of ancient Mesopotamian medical knowledge and its influence on Greco-Roman scholars, a biography of Congressman and civil rights leader John Lewis, and a comparative account of how Tolstoy’s works were interpreted within the Soviet Union and by émigrés who fled Russia after 1917.
NEH Documenting Endangered Languages grants, administered in partnership with the National Science Foundation (NSF), will fund documentation of Coeur d’Alene Salish, a Native American language of the Pacific Northwest, and Eyak, a dormant Native Alaskan language, and support an interdisciplinary project at the New York Botanical Garden to create a database and handbook of Wixárika, an endangered Uto-Aztecan language of West-Central Mexico, with a focus on the ethnobotanical knowledge embedded in the language.
Nine new NEH Fellowship Programs at Independent Research Institutions grants will fund fellowships for humanities scholars at libraries, museums, and centers for advanced study such as the American Philosophical Society, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, the Center for Jewish History, and the Hagley Museum and Library.