Tag Archives: New York Council for the Humanities

NY Council for the Humanities Funding Threatened

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800px-US_Capitol_SouthThe House of Representatives Appropriations Committee has scheduled a markup of the 2014 fiscal year Interior Appropriations bill for this Wednesday, July 31, 2013.

The New York Council for the Humanities is urging friends of the humanities to write today, to increase awareness of the potential consequences of proposed deep cuts (nearly 50%) to the National Endowment for the Humanities.

They’ve collected 129 letters of support and have a goal of gathering 150 letters by tomorrow, Wednesday. They have yet to receive letters the the following legislators: Bishop, Meeks, Meng, Nadler, Rangel, Serrano, Engel, Hanna and Slaughter. Continue reading

Bruce Dearstyne: History, Humanities and Social Sciences

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hssReportCoverReaders of the New York History blog may be interested in a new report by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, “The Heart of the Matter: The Humanities and Social Sciences for a Vibrant, Competitive and Secure Nation”.  It explores the need for more support for the humanities and social sciences, particularly in education.

“The humanities remind us where we have been and help us envision where we are going,” says the report. “Emphasizing critical perspective and imaginative response, the humanities – including the study of languages, literature, history, film, civics, philosophy, religion and the arts – foster creativity, appreciation of our commonalities and our differences, and knowledge of all times. The social sciences reveal patterns in our lives, over time and in the present moment.”

Some of the examples are rooted in history. Continue reading

$82,000 Awarded for Dialogue-Based Projects

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The New York Council for the Humanities has awarded $82,000 in its first round of Directors’ Project Grants for exemplary dialogue-based humanities programs to nine organizations ranging from a theater company in New York City to an African-American cultural center in Rochester.

These grants support programs that use dialogue as an integral way to engage the public, furthering the Council’s mission to help all New Yorkers become thoughtful participants in their communities. The nine awarded projects are:

Abolition–Two Worlds on Staten Island, a community dialogue and exhibition exploring the contested history of the Underground Railroad on Staten Island.

The Baobab Film and Dialogue Series 2012-13 a year-long series of community dialogues in Rochester, many of them using films as a catalyst for discussion.

The Battle of Queenstown Heights Commemoration in Lewiston, which includes 18 dialogue stations to help mark the first major battle of the War of 1812.

Epic Theatre Ensemble’s Spotlight on Human Rights Festival at the John Jay College for Criminal Justice in New York City.

Frederick Douglass in Ireland: The Irish Influence on America’s Greatest Abolitionist, a day-long program of public discussions at St. John Fisher College in Rochester.

RACE: Are We So Different? A series of radio programs and a public forum in Rochester in conjunction with an exhibition about the historical, cultural, and scientific understandings of race.

The Counterculturalists: Towards a New Canon, a series of online interviews, discussions and a culminating symposium exploring new understandings cultural identity offered by the Asian-American Writers Workshop.

The D.R.E.A.M. Freedom Revival, four events in Syracuse that use performance and dialogue to engage participants about a range of issues from participatory democracy to aging.

The Guantanamo Public Memory Project, which will use discussions and mobile phone engagement to help New Yorkers understand the role and legacy of Guantanamo.

“These innovative projects show how the humanities can be central to promoting community engagement and civil discourse across our state,” says Council Executive Director Sara Ogger. Directors’ Project Grants are available to any tax-exempt organization in New York State.

Applicants should be prepared to demonstrate the exemplary nature of their project, and explain how it uses dialogue to spark public engagement. The next deadline for application is December 15, 2012 with notification 12 weeks later. More information about the grant guidelines and application forms can be found online at www.nyhumanities.org/grants.

In 2011, the Council awarded almost half a million dollars to public humanities projects, mostly in the form of small grants of up to $3000. To learn about the Council’s other grant opportunities, including its Special Initiative War of 1812 Project Grants, visit www.nyhumanities.org/grants.

The Council’s grant program is supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Legislature of New York State. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in the funded programs do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Founded in 1975 and supported by Federal, State, and private sources, the New York Council for the Humanities helps all New Yorkers become thoughtful participants in our communities by promoting critical inquiry, cultural understanding, and civic engagement.

Bob Weible: NY’s Historical Golden Age is Coming

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If there is one thing historians should know, it is that “things change.” After all, without change, history would have no meaning. And historians would have no jobs. Face it. Everyone may love history. But the reason some of us collect paychecks, practically speaking, is that we perform the unique and essential service of helping people understand history—not so we can all venerate the past but so that we can change the way things are and make history ourselves. Continue reading

Humanities Council Radio Program Announced

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The New York Council for the Humanities has announced a new radio program, Person Place Thing with Randy Cohen, produced by WAMC-Northeast Public Radio with production support by the Council. This new one-hour interview show will debut Friday, February 17th at 1pm and its initial season will air monthly through July.

Hosted by the Emmy-winning Cohen, who wrote “The Ethicist” column for the New York Times for a dozen years, Person Place Thing (PPT) “reinvents the one-on-one interview around the premise that people reveal themselves most intimately when speaking not directly about themselves but about something they care about. Guests come prepared to talk about a person, and a place, and a thing that are important to them, allowing them to tell stories they never have before,” according to a statement issued to the press.

Initial guests Dick Cavett and Jane Smiley will be followed in future episodes by Susie Essman, Dave Cowens, Michael Pollan, John Hockenberry, Rickie Lee Jones, Ed Koch, Samantha Bee, R.L. Stine, Dan Savage, and Sir Roger Bannister. Each show also features an opening vignette from Cohen and a listener contribution. Shows, podcasts, photos, and extras are available at www.personplacething.org.

In addition to providing production support, the New York Council for the Humanities has created PPT Conversation Toolkits, which provide all the resources necessary to host the type of engaged, in-depth, and surprising conversations that are expected to be the hallmark of the PPT radio program. Each toolkit focuses on a particular PPT episode and includes questions for at least one of the guest’s three audio segments (person, place, or thing), as well as tips for creating engaging conversation and resources for further reflection.

New York State community organizations, libraries, and classrooms that host discussions using the Conversation Toolkits are eligible to receive a small honorarium from the Council. Toolkits and more information about receiving the honorarium can be found on the Council’s website.

The broadcast schedule of upcoming shows on WAMC are below:

Friday, February 17: Dick Cavett with Jane Smiley
Friday, March 16: Susie Essman with Dave Cowens
Friday, April 20: Michael Pollan with John Hockenberry
Friday, May 18: Ricky Lee Jones with Ed Koch
Friday, June 15: Samantha Bee with R.L. Stine
Friday, July 20: Dan Savage with Roger Bannister

What’s On Your New York History Reading List?

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Another one bites the dust. That was the message of a recent article in the New York Times (Mourning a Cultural Hub Disguised as a Used Bookstore, November 28, 2011) about the closing of a book store in Metuchen, NJ. As one patron of the bookstore noted of the owner, “(H)e turned it into a kind of a clubhouse for the community [where everyone knew your name] and somehow it worked.” Continue reading

Humanities Council Irene Grant Deadline Extended

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In the wake of Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee, cultural organizations throughout New York State experienced damage due to extensive flooding. With support from the National Endowment for the Humanities Chairman’s Emergency Fund, the New York Council for the Humanities has awarded 27 grants totaling over $26,000 to help affected groups. These grants are to be utilized by organizations to defray salary costs for staff members’ work associated with storm clean-up and recovery. A full list of grantees is available online.

While many of the grant recipients took preventive measures, the flooding still damaged the interior and exterior of buildings, as well as papers, books, furniture and technology. The basements and first floors of many buildings filled with water, mud and debris. Staff and volunteers have spent countless hours on clean up and remediation. The Council’s Hurricane Recovery Grants have helped organizations cover some of these additional staff hours, which average 77 hours per site.

For organizations still seeking support, the Council has extended the deadline for these grants until December 31, 2011 to ensure that these resources are made available to as many affected program partners as possible. Information and grant guidelines can be found online.

Photo: Material discarded from the basement at the Tioga County Council on the Arts.

Call for Papers: Conference on NYS History

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The Program Committee for the Conference on New York State History invites proposals for individual presentations, full sessions, panel discussions, workshops, and other program suggestions for the 2012 conference to be held at Niagara University on June 14-16, 2012. Diverse historical perspectives are welcomed. Presentations may consider any aspect of the history of New York State over the past 400 years. We encourage presenters to take a dynamic approach to their presentations, including the use of visual and audio aids, audience participation, and panel discussions. Continue reading

War of 1812 Mini Grants Available

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The New York Council for the Humanities is offering War of 1812 Mini Grants. The Council is partnering with the State Historian and State Archives to coordinate commemoration efforts statewide.

New York’s economic prominence and long border with Canada gave the state a central role in the War of 1812. New York State’s experience of the War of 1812, from the militarization of the Great Lakes to the decisive American victory at Plattsburgh, is critical to understanding the developing political and military mindset of the young United States.

Grants of up to $3,000 are available from the Council to present humanities-based public programs exploring the legacy of the War of 1812 in new York State. Organizations must meet all of the eligibility criteria for the Council’s general Mini Grants.

Applications for these special grants will be accepted until September 30,2012. During 2012, organizations may receive one Mini Planning Grant, one Mini Grant for implementation in addition to a War of 1812 Mini Grant.

To apply, organizations should use the existing online forms for Mini Grants for implementation. Just be sure to mention War of 1812 in the title and/or description of the project and apply 12 weeks before the start of your project.

Illustration: War of 1812 attack on Oswego from the Paul Lear collection. Courtesy The Seaway Trail Foundation.

Peterboro: Harriet Tubman, Maggie Fox Lectures

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The New York Council for the Humanities Speakers in the Humanities Program will provide two free presentations for the 2011 Peterboro Heritage Summer Programs.

On Sunday, July 17 at 2 p.m. at the Smithfield Community Center (5255 Pleasant Valley Road in Peterboro) the National Abolition Hall of Fame and Museum will host Harriet Tubman: Myth, Memory, and History presented by Milton C. Sernett Ph.D. Syracuse University professor emeritus. Then, on Sunday, July 24 at 2 p.m. the Gerrit Smith Estate National Historic Landmark (4543 Peterboro Road, Peterboro) will host Nancy Rubin Stuart and her program Maggie Fox, Victorian America’s Reluctant Spiritualist.

Milton C. Sernett’s illustrated talk tells the story of how a black woman, once enslaved but self-liberated, became the dominant symbol of the Underground Railroad and an inspiration today for American of diverse backgrounds and reform interests. The audience will hear of the exciting findings of the latest research regarding Tubman the historical person, and of the many ways in which her life has been celebrated by writers, artists, and other creative spirits. Dr. Sernett has completed a book on the interplay of myth, memory and history during the years when Tubman was being canonized as an American saint.

On Sunday, July 24, in a talk accompanied by slides, Stuart will describe the Fox Sisters’ rise to national fame as communicators with spirits, the prominent people that followed Spiritualism in the 19th Century, and the history of young and beautiful Maggie Fox after she gave up her mediumship. Rubin will illustrate how 150 years ago the Fox sisters’ introduction of spirit communication swept through American and why it continues to fascinate people today.

These programs are free and open to the public. More information can be found online, by e-mailing mail@sca-peterboro.org or calling 315-280-8828.

The Gerrit Smith Estate National Historic Landmark and the National Abolition Hall of Fame and Museum are open from 1 – 5 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays from May 14 to October 23 in 2011. Admission to each site is two dollars. Stewards and students are free. For more information: Gerrit Smith Estate National Historic Landmark, 4543 Peterboro Road, Peterboro NY 13134, National Abolition Hall of Fame and Museum, 5255 Pleasant Valley Road, Peterboro NY 13134.

Launched in 1983, the Speakers in the Humanities program brings the best in humanities scholarship to thousands of people at hundreds of cultural organizations in virtually every corner of New York. Speakers in the Humanities lectures are made possible with the support of the National Endowment for the Humanities, the New York State Legislature, and through funds from the Gladys Krieble Delm.