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“Bridging Cultures:” new NEH initiative for 2011-2012

UO humanities scholars who want to be ahead of the curve in planning research activities that the NEH might fund should be aware that the agency’s next big push is themed “Bridging Cultures.” NEH Chairman Jim Leach announced the initiative last week during his 2011-2012 budget presentation to the House Appropriations Committee.

The Bridging Cultures Initiative is meant “to help American citizens gain a deeper understanding of our own rich and varied cultural heritage, as well as the history and culture of other nations.” The NEH will fund pilot projects with “cultural bridging themes,” but also, through its existing grant programs (e.g. Fellowships), will support other projects in which cultural bridging is a core component.

UO was on Jim Leach’s Civility Tour itinerary in February, but a DC blizzard forced his last-minute cancellation. A pdf of his statement to the Appropriations Committee is available here.

From the National Humanities Alliance 3/22/10:

“On Wednesday, March 17, National Endowment for the Humanities Chairman Jim Leach testified before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies. New Committee Chair, Jim Moran (D-VA) led the hearing and was joined by Ranking Member Michael Simpson (R-ID). Also in attendance were Vice Chair Norm Dicks (D-WA), Ben Chandler (D-KY), Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), and Tom Cole (R-OK).

“Following introductory remarks from Representatives Moran, Simpson, and Dicks, Chairman Leach delivered his prepared testimony. He commented that after thirty years in Congress, it felt different to be on the other side of the hearing table. Leach spoke about the value of the humanities and what a vital agency NEH is to the humanities in the U.S. His testimony also provided additional information about the new Bridging Cultures initiative and one of its components, a fifty-state civility tour that aims to “make clear that coarseness in public manners can jeopardize social cohesion.”

“The Chairman’s prepared statement indicates that the Bridging Cultures Initiative is “being designed to help American citizens gain a deeper understanding of our own rich and varied cultural heritage, as well as the history and culture of other nations.” NEH funds will be used to “launch pilot projects that engage scholars, public audiences, the state humanities councils, and educators in the cultural bridging themes.” The agency will also encourage projects relating to these themes through its existing grant programs.

“Chairman Leach commented on the difficult budget year Congress faces, as well as the difficulties that many colleges, universities, museums, and other cultural organizations are encountering due to the economic downturn. He concluded his presentation by telling the committee, “America cannot afford to ignore the humanities.”

“Committee members then asked the Chairman questions related to program evaluation and engaged him in conversations about the level of civility in Congress, endangered languages, the work of the state humanities councils, and community colleges. The Committee also expressed interest in reading any reports or viewing any materials that may result from the Bridging Cultures initiative’s upcoming conferences.”

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2 Responses

  1. […] the earlier post on Bridging Cultures for more information about this 2010 NEH […]

  2. […] the earlier post on Bridging Cultures for more information about this 2010 NEH […]

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