Humanties NY Reading, Discussion Programs Grants

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Humanities New York has announced Reading & Discussion Program Grants are now open for any tax-exempt organization in New York State.

Humanities New York’s Reading & Discussion Programs bring together community members for a series of thematically-linked, text-based conversations about important ideas.

Fourteen themes are available:

Your Silence Will Not Protect You: Audre Lorde: Explore the life and work of Audre Lorde, one of the foremost poets of the 20th century. Through the richness of Lorde’s work, participants can engage in discussion about the meanings of race, gender, and sexuality in American society. Note: Facilitators for this theme must attend a day-long training at HNY’s Manhattan offices on August 27, 2018. Travel expenses will be paid for those coming from outside New York City.

Votes for Women!: 2017 marked the centennial of women’s suffrage in New York State. This Reading & Discussion series focuses on the decades-long fight for women’s suffrage in New York and beyond.

American Politics and Community Today: What does it mean to be an American in the 21st century? What does a model American do, and what responsibilities do Americans have to their communities and each other? This theme engages with these questions and others regarding politics and the current state of civic thought, feeling, and participation.

Pulitzer “Campfire” Readings: Reaching for the American Dream: Celebrate the recent centennial of the Pulitzer Prizes with this reading and discussion theme. Featuring five Pulitzer winning novels, this series looks at how authors have depicted the striving to better oneself and achieve the American dream – and how, despite our efforts, we often end of up unfulfilled or clashing with other elements of society.

James Baldwin’s America: More than any other American author, James Baldwin speaks to both the promise and failures of American democracy. This R&D series provides citizens throughout New York State the opportunity to engage in substantive conversations about race and American society through Baldwin’s writings. Note: Facilitators for this theme must attend a day-long training at HNY’s Manhattan offices on August 27, 2018. Travel expenses will be paid for those coming from outside New York City.

In Cold Blood: True Crime, An American Genre: Celebrate the 50th anniversary of Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood by looking at some of the most terrible crimes in American history – and reading the words of those writers who thoughtfully illuminated such acts.

The Serious Side of Food: With books selected by noted restaurant critic and former HNY board member Mimi Sheraton, this series explores the complex, often overlooked personal, social, and cultural relationships we have with food, from the politics of food production to diet fads.

Our World Remade: World War I: Delve into the tragic and transformative events of “war to end all wars” through literature, poetry, and historical documents.

Serving: Standing Down: A special program for veterans, providing space for them to reflect on their service as well as the challenges and opportunities of transitioning from active duty to civilian life.

Growing & Aging: How does our perception of ourselves transform as we grow older? In what ways does aging change how we view others? How has the concept of “age” changed over time?
Lincoln on the Civil War: This series uses Selected Speeches, a volume of nine addresses delivered over the course of Lincoln’s political career, to explore issues of freedom, civic duty, slavery, and the Constitution.

Making Sense of the Civil War: This series explores different facets of the Civil War experience, informed by reading the words written or spoken by powerful voices from the past and present.

Muslim Journeys: Explore the diverse experiences and perspectives of Muslims around the world through literature and memoir.

Serving: Why and how do we choose to serve others? What is the relationship between those who serve and those who are served? If we serve, what sustains and renews us?

How to Apply

Organizations choose a theme, decide how many sessions to hold, and find a local scholar to facilitate the discussions. After being awarded the program, they then select readings from a themed book lists that work best for their community. The book lists can be found on HNY’s website.

Humanities New York trains scholar-facilitators and pays them an honorarium of $150 per session. Host sites agree to pay a session fee of $25 per session; a limited number of waivers are available. Sites have the option of borrowing texts from HNY. Spring series must be scheduled between September 2018 and January 2019.

Applications to host a Spring series are due Monday, June 25. To apply, click here.

HNY does not formally pair host organizations with scholar-facilitators. Those interested in facilitating one of these programs are encouraged to reach out to potential host organizations in their community, telling them about the program and how it works. Interested scholar-facilitators are welcome to sign up for one of the informational webinars. Humanities New York only accepts applications from host organizations.

For more information, contact Senior Program Officer Adam Capitanio at or (212) 233-1131, or click here.

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