News Category: Council Community

Why Civics Matters: Who is Involved?

Civic engagement itself takes many forms across communities, and one of the most recognizable acts of civic engagement is voting. The right to vote has historically fallen along lines of identity. Take the Voting Rights Act of 1965, for instance, which prohibited discrimination in voting based on race—that’s only been in place for 56 years of our country’s history.

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Detroit: A City Built on Humanities

Distinguished University Professor in African American Studies at Wayne State University and Adjunct Professor in the Department of Afroamerican and African Studies at the University of Michigan, Dr. Melba Boyd sees the humanities as playing a specific and significant role in Detroit’s evolution. In turn, she notes, looking at that development also helps us understand changing perceptions of the humanities at large. 

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Deadline Extended! The 2021 Call for Schwartz Prize Nominations

The Federation of State Humanities Councils is now accepting nominations for the 39th annual Helen and Martin Schwartz Prize, established by former Federation board member Martin Schwartz and his wife Helen to recognize outstanding work in the public humanities. The deadline to submit nominations is Monday, September 13, 2021. Questions? Email Sydney Boyd at sboyd@statehumanities.org.

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“The Future of Journalism, the Fate of Democracy” with Virginia Humanities

“In Virginia alone, we lost 39 weekly newspapers between 2004 and 2020 and three dailies, a 27% decrease in news publications statewide,” said Matthew Gibson, executive director of Virginia Humanities, as he introduced the first of a two-part series of conversations on June 8 titled “The Future of Journalism, the Fate of Democracy.” A Virginia Humanities program, the series drew registrations from 45 different US states and territories and is part of the “Democracy and the Informed Citizen” initiative, administered by the Federation of State Humanities Councils and funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

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Rural Goings-on in Kentucky

The idea of rural America is always shifting, but it’s seen a dramatic change during the pandemic. In Kentucky, two Smithsonian Museum on Main Street traveling exhibits, “Voices and Votes: Democracy in America” and “Crossroads: Change in Rural America,” are currently touring, centering rural communities’ past, present, and future. Read more here in “Rural Goings-on in Kentucky.”

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Rural Rewards: An Economic Executive Director on the Strength of Small Towns

The idea of living in a rural town has changed during the pandemic, Long said, so that there’s a lot of competition for talent across urban and rural communities. “People have figured out that they can work from anywhere, and people can retire and move to just about anywhere they want to live,” Long said. “And so you really gotta be a community that people want to move to.” Read more here in Rural Rewards

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For Pride Month: Humanities Council Programs

For Pride Month, humanities councils join parades across the country with histories of change, LGBTQ ancestors, jazz, politics, literature, film, and stories past, present, and future. And people have noticed: among many, read stories about Vermont Humanities Council and Rhode Island Council for the Humanities programs that celebrate the contributions of trans and LGBTQ+ individuals and check out the list inside for additional programs.

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Caring Labor Sustains Life: Women’s Labor Activism in the Appalachian South

“These are men who worked for wages, and we associate them with the building of modern America. The coal miner in particular is an icon of the American working class. But what about domestic workers, farm laborers, or workers in the service industry? What about non-wage work?” said Dr. Jessica Wilkerson in a virtual West Virginia Humanities Council “Little Lecture” on May 30.

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Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month with the State and Jurisdictional Humanities Councils

What is decolonization? “Decolonization is not a metaphor…It’s more than a word. It’s a process, it’s a material shift,” explained Aiko Yamashiro, executive director of Hawai’i Council for the Humanities, in a Federation Wednesday Webinar on May 19—just one of many discussions focused on Asian American and Pacific Islander heritage that happened across humanities councils and their communities this year. Click here to access a webinar on decolonization featuring several of our council leaders, a sample of programs occurring in Hawai’i, Guahan, and the Northern Marianas, and an interview with Dr. Bill Tsutsui on the “monstrous imagination” of the Japanese as he discusses Godzilla and other Japanese monsters.

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Water Storytelling with Utah Humanities

“We have stories about water babies that are in the water, born in the water…but it would hypnotize you and coax you into that water and take you, so when you hear babies down by the river you don’t want to go down there” Cesspooch said. “I think that thing is somewhat also a reason why we didn’t make boats or make water a leisure type of recreation. I think it’s more along the lines of ‘respect water,’ it’s not there to play in, it’s life—it’s just another way of looking at it.” Read on to learn more about Utah Humanities’ “Think Water Utah” conversations.

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