National Humanities Center to Partner with Vietnam National University to Develop Digital Learning Resources
The NHC will partner with Vietnam National University in developing digital instructional resources that allow for a deeper understanding of the American Vietnamese War. This initiative, supported by a $175,000 grant from the Fostering Innovation through Research, Science, and Technology Project for Vietnam, will bring together a team of Vietnamese and American educators, scholars, and technology experts to create digital tools that examine the political, social, cultural, economic, and historical complexities surrounding the conflict.
The National Humanities Center and the Durham Veteran Affairs Health Care System are seeking participants for a new program for military Veterans and their families in eastern North Carolina. “Reading Our Stories: Exploring the Veteran’s Experience through Literature,” will give Veterans an opportunity to more deeply reflect on their service—what it means to them and to the country—by examining and discussing literary texts. Groups will meet in Raleigh, Durham, and Greenville beginning in January 2017.
On Monday, June 13, 2016, the National Humanities Center and Flyleaf Books were pleased to present best-selling author David Denby. Denby is a staff writer and former film critic for The New Yorker, and his reviews and essays have appeared in The New Republic, The Atlantic, and New York magazine (where he was film critic from 1978 to 1998), among other places.
The Center announces the appointment of Anthony E. Kaye as Vice President for Scholarly Programs, effective July 1, 2016. Robert D. Newman, President and Director, pointed to Kaye’s vision and energy as qualities that distinguished him: “Tony has a wonderful sense not only of what the Center means to scholars and their research but also an appreciation for the possibilities generated by its intellectual community.”
On March 31, 2016, William “Bro” Adams, Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, spoke at length to Fellows and Trustees of the Center about the state of humanities research, teaching, and public engagement in the United States. Reflecting on the NEH’s founding in 1965 and the work it has supported ever since, he also discussed the challenges facing humanists and the liberal arts, in general, in the twenty-first century.
On Thursday, April 21, NHC President and Director Robert Newman will join Malaprop’s Bookstore in Asheville, NC to give a talk on “Humanities Moments and the Heroic.” Newman will discuss the humanities’ role in a well-rounded education, their importance inside and outside the university setting, and the contributions that they make to addressing important challenges of the twenty-first century. Given the ever-increasing emphasis on science and technology, what role do the humanities play in helping us confront the challenges we face in our modern world — globalization, climate change, terrorism?
Following a nationwide search, the National Humanities Center has named Andrew T. Mink as its new Vice President for Education Programs. He will succeed Richard R. Schramm, who is set to retire in July. Mink will lead the Center’s efforts to strengthen humanities teaching at both the collegiate and pre-collegiate levels, which combine live webinars, interactive classroom lessons, and extensive digital archives of primary source materials.
The National Humanities Center announces the appointment of 37 Fellows for the academic year 2016–17. These leading scholars will come to the Center from 17 states, Argentina, South Africa, and the United Kingdom; they constitute the thirty-ninth class of resident scholars to be admitted since the Center opened in 1978. Robert D. Newman, president and director of the National Humanities Center, said, “This tremendous group of scholars is conducting interesting and important work across a range of humanistic fields. We are delighted to provide them support and look forward to their arrival.”
The National Humanities Center has been awarded a $100,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities in support of a new outreach program for military veterans. This initiative, “Exploring the Experience of War,” will give veterans in North Carolina the opportunity to reflect on their own service by examining and discussing literary texts. It will be conducted in partnership with Chaplain Services of the Durham Veteran Affairs Medical Center.
The National Humanities Center has announced the selection of fourteen highly qualified educators from across the country as members of its inaugural Teacher Advisory Council. These teachers, from school districts in twelve states, will work with the Center’s education program staff in piloting, evaluating, and promoting resources and programs that complement its nationally recognized teaching and professional development materials.
The Andrew Cayton Memorial Fund has been established to support the critical work of humanities scholars at the National Humanities Center, where Drew was a Fellow during the 2012–2013 academic year. Specifically, this fund will support the Center’s annual webinars in early American studies, enriching the work of high school teachers across the country, but with an audience now expanding to include community college teachers and adult education generally. The Fund is made possible by generous contributions from Drew’s friends and associates.
National Humanities Center President and Director Robert D. Newman was the featured guest at an event held January 14, 2016 at Scuppernong Books in Greensboro, NC. Newman discussed the ways the humanities give meaning to our lives, shape historical events, and help address the most complex challenges of modernity.
Humanities moments are the unexpected miracles that provide meaning, sharpen purpose, and offer depth — profound pauses in the otherwise frantic and self-absorbed scurrying that characterizes our gettings and spendings. When the personal harmonizes with the collective, the anomalous with the essential, humanities moments occur. When we recognize their exquisite and resounding centrality, we better understand the foundation of the democratic society of which they are a product.
Mary Elizabeth Berry is the Class of 1944 Professor of History at the University of California, Berkeley and the first recipient of the Founders’ Fellowship at the National Humanities Center. An authority on the history of pre-modern Japan, she has been working on a project examining the remarkable changes in Japanese life that occurred in the midst of the Tokugawa shogunate (1603–1868). She sat down with us this spring to share a bit about her research.
At its recent meeting, the Board of Trustees of the National Humanities Center elected two new members, J. Porter Durham, Jr. and Joan Hinde Stewart. Durham is Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel of Global Endowment Management, LP, in Charlotte, NC. Prior to joining the company in 2007, he was director of the education division and staff counsel at The Duke Endowment. Joan Hinde Stewart is President of Hamilton College in Clinton, NY. Before assuming that role in 2003, she was Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and professor of French at the University of South Carolina.
At a celebration October 22, 2015, Robert D. Newman was installed as the sixth president and director of the National Humanities Center. In his inaugural remarks, titled “Humanities Moments and the Heroic,” Newman shared his vision for the Center as the premier destination for humanities scholars, a national leader in the effort to strengthen teaching, and a vital resource for all who seek greater understanding of themselves and the world in which they live.
A delegation from the Counselors’ Office of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China visited the National Humanities Center the afternoon of October 20. After a tour of the Center’s award-winning building, the group joined Elizabeth Mansfield in the main conference room for a presentation on the mission and history of the Center. Delegates expressed appreciation of the architecture, with Director-General Zhang Yantong observing that the open, light-filled, and friendly character of the building mirrored the Center’s mission in support of free and open inquiry.
Participants in the 2015 Scholarly Communication Institute gathered at the Center recently for an evening reception and short program. They were joined by Fellows, local scholars and librarians, and others interested in enhancing digital access to scholarship in the humanities. Center director Robert Newman delivered opening remarks on the importance of openness and innovation in humanities research. Don Waters, senior program officer at the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, delivered an address that highlighted the need for diverse models for assessment, access, and preservation of digital scholarship.
Richard Schramm, longtime vice president for education programs at the Center, has announced his retirement effective July 2016. Schramm joined the NHC in 1984 and has been instrumental in developing the Center’s innovative approach to professional development programs for teachers, which links scholarship to improved teaching and provides teachers with new materials and strategies to make them more effective in the classroom.
Led by renowned digital humanities pioneers Willard McCarty and Matthew Jockers, this innovative program in Digital Textual Studies combines hands-on technical explorations with wide-ranging philosophical and theoretical discussions. Fifteen scholars from around the globe are participating in the institute, representing a range of humanities disciplines, including classics, history, law, literary studies, philosophy, and sociology.
The National Humanities Center (NHC) has been awarded a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities in support of the Center’s residential fellowship program. The $272,700 NEH grant, along with $126,000 in matching funds from NHC donors, will be used to support the work of scholars conducting advanced humanities research at the Center over the course of the next three years. “The NEH has been a tremendous partner, not only in supporting our fellowship program but in education and public outreach,” said NHC president and director Robert D. Newman.
The GlaxoSmithKline Foundation has awarded the National Humanities Center a grant in honor of the Center’s former president and director W. Robert Connor. The $50,000 grant will provide for the development of asynchronous, online, self-paced professional development modules for teachers of American history and literature.
On April 16, 2015 over 150 trustees, Fellows, and friends gathered to honor Geoffrey Harpham on his approaching retirement as president and director of the National Humanities Center, where he has served since 2003. Evening celebration were highlighted by remarks from Duke University President Richard Brodhead and reflections from Geoffrey Harpham on his tenure.
With sadness, the trustees and staff of the National Humanities Center note the passing of trustee emeritus Meyer H. (Mike) Abrams on April 21, 2015. He was 102. One of the Center's cofounders, Abrams was a towering figure whose contributions to the humanities were vast. We are grateful for his scholarly imagination, leadership, and dedication which have helped make the Center a vital institution for nearly 40 years.