Preservation and education, water and recovery – for humanities councils, Earth Day in April was a reflection of environmental conversations they spark all year round. As a panelist at a Wisconsin Humanities discussion said, “What’s the best way to talk about [climate change], knowing that as a starting point this is something that should be historically, culturally, and context-dependent?”
“Especially if you grew up in Indian country on a reservation, it’s really easy to feel insular,” Begay said. “I remember growing up on Navajo Nation feeling like everything else was just nonsense, everything outside the Navajo Nation border was like, kind of foreign, literally foreign…and it took a while, like, well into my twenties, to realize that we’re all part of this really big political ecosystem.” From access and representation to restricted polling on reservations and limited ballot delivery, there have been—and continue to be—obstacles to Native civic engagement, panelists explained. Read more in this blog post on Humanities Montana’s program “Beyond Just Voting: The Native Vote.”
As the post-film discussion moved from learning about our immediate ecosystems to asking ethical questions and uncovering histories (European starlings, an invasive species, live in America because a Shakespeare fanatic wanted to import all the animals mentioned in Shakespeare’s works!), I was reminded how the humanities help us conceive of the reverberating connection between what we do and where we live. Read more in Ethics and Ecosystems with Delaware Humanities
Wallace, Idaho sits on the pristine eastern edge of the Idaho panhandle in Silver Valley, the Shoshone County Coeur d’Alene Mining District. Established in 1884 with a current population of about 946, Wallace may be small, but it’s mighty—the town has held the title of the world’s largest silver producer for more than a century while facing environmental challenges from devastating fires to invasive highway construction and serious lead contamination.
What roles do history, storytelling, public policy and civic engagement play after a flood? How do they help us understand environmental devastation that is already happening while also prepare for what’s coming? Read on to learn more from Wisconsin Humanities’ Wisconsin’ Water Futures.
“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.
“For over 500 years after Guåhan’s first contact with foreigners, our path has been driven by colonization, and today our people, our culture, and even our history continue to be shaped by the words and actions of world powers. However, we must remember that Guåhan has never stood idly by,” said the Chairwoman of the Commission Governor Lou Leon Guerrero as introduction. “We must acknowledge that our present political status does not meet our needs.” Read more here.
“There are so many youth out there who are excited about civic education, who are so excited about taking on these issues and so excited about participating in a political process,” Gillespie said. “[By the end of the summit] they had confidence in being able to talk to their state legislators and say ‘hey, we have these issues, you said that you promised to be willing to listen to us, this is our voice, let’s put this into action.’” Read more about Hawai’i Council for the Humanities Why It Matters Just Futures Youth Summit here.
The idea for a podcast about the diversity of the women’s suffrage movement took root after HNY’s 2017 centennial commemoration of women’s right to vote in New York state. Rebman said that as they were looking to 2020, the centennial anniversary of the 19th Amendment (which states that a citizen’s right to vote cannot be denied on the basis of sex), they noticed an appetite to learn and to grapple with what the suffrage movement did—and did not—achieve. Read more about Humanities New York’s Amended podcast here.
Our country celebrates Black history this month, but Black history is an ever-present bedrock of who we are as a country. Where is that history? Everywhere! But I only had to look to any of the many humanities councils to learn what it is, how it is recorded, and whose stories it tells. With so many virtual programs going on this year, that meant with a good internet connection I had access to a treasure trove…
February 2021: The House and Senate Appropriations Committees have completed their organization for the 117th Congress with the Senate finalizing their subcommittees on February 12, 2021.
As we begin 2021, we are very much looking forward to this year’s National Humanities Conference, which will be held November 11-14, 2021 in Detroit, Michigan. Of course, we are paying close attention to the CDC and WHO recommendations regarding COVID-19 and will adjust as necessary to ensure the health and well-being of attendees. In addition to the in-person event, we are currently planning a small number of virtual sessions in conjunction with the conference and opportunities to connect from afar. Read the official 2021 NHC Call for Proposals here. DL to submit proposals has been extended to April 19, 2021.