Sunday Roundup – NEH summer seminars update and more.

This week I wrote about a lot of things, and I’ll cover them below, but I want to focus on the NEH Summer Seminars. I generally see the NEH as unobtainable for me as a scholar (not as a teacher. They actually have good teaching-related programs. I am not talking about them).

As a scholar, I’m not famous enough. I don’t work for a famous institution. I didn’t get my PhD at a fancy enough place. I didn’t get fancy grants as a grad student or junior scholar. In academia, you get tracked, and if you’re not on the fancy track, it’s very hard to move up. Yes, there are exceptions, but we’re a prestige-laden bunch and it’s hard to make these kinds of jumps.

One exception, though, is the summer seminar and institute program. They are designed to bring together scholars from all kinds of levels, from grad students to community colleges to teaching 4-years to branch campuses to the most elite schools in the country. Other programs link college professors and K-12 teachers, transforming teaching practices across America. 
Until a few weeks ago, some of these programs were hosted abroad. They had the same costs as any other seminar in terms of stipends and salaries, with at most marginal other costs around the edges. And yet, for “budget reasons,” allegedly, the NEH has cancelled them. They did it without discussion. They did it without warning.
One other data point – right-wing Senator Jeff Sessions lampooned these programs as “vacations” last April. The NEH is claiming that’s just a coincidence.
I will have a piece on this coming out via Chronicle Vitae in a few weeks (it’s filed and in the queue). But there’s more to do here. Stay tuned. Most all, here’s my post where I am collecting testimony on how these seminars have changed careers and teaching practices. Please read it. Please share it.
Other writing this week:

I got pissed off at comic merchandising aimed at girls
Lydia Brown was asked to give an accessibility workshop at Georgetown. No one came. She articulated what it means, beautifully.

Saudi Arabia is destroying the historical landscape of Mecca. I see it as linked to other forms of extremism.

Finally, a bigoted group in Minnesota buys a whole page in the major paper there.

Leave a Reply