News Category: Humanities in American Life

Native Peoples 101: Approaches to Working With And For Tribal Nations

From “Native American” and “American Indian” to “Alaska Native” and “Native Hawaiian,” no generalized term is exactly right, explained panelists, given that these terms originate in English. An important part of this process, Newell said, is identifying vocabulary that stems from stereotypes, misrepresents Native history, and causes harm: “When you come across them, discuss these terms, question them–whose words are they?” 

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Federation Launches First-ever Podcast, Making Meaning: Why Humanities Matter

This six-episode season is about the role the humanities have played during the pandemic and in our recovery across the greater United States. Each episode balances two interviews: one that tells a story from a public humanities program about a specific topic and another that takes a broad-ranging look at it with a humanities leader. Guests include Natasha Trethewey, two-term US Poet Laureate and Pulitzer-Prize winner; Dr. John Kuo Wei Tchen, Inaugural Clement A Price Professor of Public History & Humanities at Rutgers University-Newark and director of the Clement Price Institute on Ethnicity, Culture & the Modern Experience; and Dr. Chuck Fluharty, founder, president, and CEO of the Rural Policy Research Institute, the only organization in the country that assesses how public policies affect rural communities.

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Making Meaning Episode 6: Indigenous Communities And The Strength of Storytelling

Writer and visual artist Melissa Melero-Moose talks about fostering creativity during the pandemic on the Reno-Sparks Indian colony in Hungry Valley, NV. Eric Hemenway, director of the Department of Repatriation, Archives and Records for the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, explains how storytelling can uncover misrepresentations about Native communities.

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Making Meaning Episode 5: Living Histories of Race and Racism

L. Danyetta Najoli, co-founder of The Black American Tree Project, explains how the immersive story-telling project’s design evokes a sense of reckoning with slavery’s origins. Dr. Jack Tchen, the Inaugural Clement A. Price Chair in Public History and the Humanities and Director of the Price Institute at Rutgers University, takes a deep dive into histories of dispossession.

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Making Meaning Episode 4: By the Book: Connecting Rural Communities

Jenny De Groot, a children’s librarian on Orcas Island in the Pacific Northwest, reads some of her favorite books while sharing how her remote community found ways to connect during the pandemic. Dr. Chuck Fluharty, founder, President, and CEO of the Rural Policy Research Institute (RUPRI), explores the future of rural and urban communities through a public humanities lens.

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Making Meaning Episode 3: Environmental Justice, Climate Disasters, And The Humanities

Adrienne Kennedy, a climate activist and organizer from south Lumberton, North Carolina, talks about what environmental justice looks like for her after Hurricane Matthew destroyed her home. Dr. Joseph Campana, director of the Center for Environmental Studies at Rice University, explores ways the humanities can help us process relentless patterns of climate catastrophe.

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One Librarian’s “Watershed Moments” During The Pandemic

In the summer of 2020, Kristina Moe was preparing to open Water/Ways, a Smithsonian travelling exhibit and one of the first North Carolina Humanities “Watershed Moments” events of the year, at the Macon County Public Library where she works as a reference assistant. “To be honest, I was very nervous,” Moe recalled.

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Making Meaning Podcast Episode 1: The Humanities in Times of Crisis

Poet, writer, and physician Dr. Rafael Campo reads his poem “The Doctor’s Song” and talks about the healing power of the humanities. Dr. Gioia Woods, a professor in the Department of Comparative Cultural Studies at Northern Arizona University, unpacks The Pandemic Stories Project, a reading, discussion, and oral history program she created to document the impact of COVID-19 in her rural community.

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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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‘Chronic Catastrophe’: A New Podcast from California Humanities Emerging Journalist Fellows

“Journalism is more than just writing and reporting, journalism is so much more than that,” Camacho said. “I feel like a lot of people think journalism is a lot about just reporting the facts, and that’s about it—and it is that, but it’s also telling the stories of people who can’t use their voice.”  Read more here.

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