National Humanities Center Announces 2021–22 Fellows

The National Humanities Center is pleased to announce the appointment of 36 Fellows for the academic year 2021–22. These leading scholars will come to the Center from universities and colleges in 16 U.S. states as well as from Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Nigeria, and Taiwan. Chosen from 638 applicants, each Fellow will work on an individual research project and will have the opportunity to share ideas in seminars, lectures, and conferences at the Center.

Virtual Book Club: Independence Lost: Lives on the Edge of the American Revolution

Over the last decade, award-winning historian Kathleen DuVal has revitalized the study of early America’s marginalized voices. Now, in Independence Lost, she recounts an untold story as rich and significant as that of the Founding Fathers: the history of the Revolutionary Era as experienced by slaves, American Indians, women, and British loyalists living on Florida’s Gulf Coast.

Katherine Mellen Charron, “Activism Beyond the City: Women, Rural Communities, and the Struggle for Black Freedom”

When mapping the struggle for Black freedom and racial justice, historians have often emphasized the events and organizational efforts that occurred in urban areas, largely led by men. However, in rural American communities, the voices and leadership of women were extremely influential. In this podcast, Katherine Mellen Charron, associate professor of history at North Carolina State University, discusses her research into the legacies of local, community-based, rural Black women’s activism in North Carolina.

Jennifer D. Williams, “The Poetry and Prose of Precarious Living: Black Women Writers and the Legacy of Segregated Urban Spaces”

Between the 1930s and the 1970s, racialized legislation and subsequent migrations of Black Americans combined to drive explosive population growth in urban centers, which in turn gave rise to the creation of segregated districts and public housing projects. The experience of life in these spaces, which required residents to navigate precarious conditions where distinctions between public and private collapsed, was chronicled by Black women writers of the era. In this podcast, Jennifer D. Williams, assistant professor of English at Howard University, discusses her research into urban spaces, racial politics, and Black womanhood in the twentieth century.

NHC Virtual Book Club Series: Race and Injustice

July 15–August 19, 2020 | This installment in our virtual book club series features six gifted scholars whose work helps illuminate the long history, bitter realities, and complex dynamics surrounding racial oppression in the United States. Over these six events, we look to consider both the breadth of human suffering propagated by entrenched racial bias and the heroic efforts required to correct systemic injustice.

Dennis Trout, “Embedded Epigrams: Poetic Inscriptions of Ancient Rome”

After the ancient Roman Empire embraced Christianity, the empire’s culture and politics were significantly transformed. In this podcast, Dennis Trout shares insights from his interdisciplinary study of poetic inscriptions found throughout ancient Rome. He considers the way these epigrams were embedded in the city's architecture and displayed to an empire in transition, and he suggests they go beyond considerations of religion, literature, and culture to illuminate the ways that visual and textual cues were used to send messages to a diverse audience in the ancient world.

Angela Stuesse, “Making the Story of American Immigration Come Alive”

For the millions of undocumented immigrants living in the United States, the changing nature of immigration law and policy is not merely an abstract concern. The rise in anti-immigrant sentiment has transformed the lives of young people, who must contend with the uncertainty of their own legal status even as they fear for the safety of their families. In this podcast, Angela Stuesse, associate professor of anthropology at UNC–Chapel Hill, discusses her latest collaborative project, which seeks to understand the reality of contemporary immigration in the United States through a personal lens.

Marsha Gordon, “Narrating Modern Women’s Experiences: The Complex Legacy of Ursula Parrott”

In the 1930s, the writer Ursula Parrott used her novels, short stories, and screenwriting ventures to portray independent women during a period of immense social change in America. Despite this, like many women writers, Parrott’s legacy has been all but erased from the popular imagination. In this podcast, Marsha Gordon, professor of film studies at North Carolina State University, delves into the way that Parrott’s independence and professional success existed in a complex relationship to her rather conservative views on gender.

Simon Middleton, “Changing Forms of Value: The Shift to Paper Money in Eighteenth-Century America”

We tend to think of money as a familiar object that plays a role in our everyday lives. However, when we consider the changing nature of currency in colonial America, money appears differently—as a “social technology for the distribution of value.” Because money allows individuals to represent and share value in direct and visible ways, the use of paper money in the United States in the eighteenth century supplemented social connections and bolstered economic consumption. In this podcast, historian Simon Middleton from the College of William & Mary discusses how his work examines the cultural, legal, and social dimensions of money.