UNH Summer Institute in Public Humanities

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Hosted by the UNH Center for the Humanities with generous support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, a week-long institute in public humanities will be convened this summer in Portsmouth and on the UNH campus. The institute will ground a cohort of 30 humanities faculty, graduate students, and undergraduate students in the intellectual rationale, history, foundational skills, and prospects for doing engaged work in the humanities. The New England Humanities Consortium is co-sponsoring the event.

The program was the vision of the late Burt Feintuch, director of the Center for the Humanities from 1988 to 2018, whose own engagement as a folklorist was instrumental in developing career paths outside the academy within his own field. Led by Feintuch, the UNH Center for the Humanities collaborated with New Hampshire Humanities on projects ranging from oral histories of new Americans, to a celebration of the music and culture of the Mardi Gras Indians of New Orleans, to the creation of a documentary on NH black history, Shadows Fall North. Feintuch viewed the institute as a next step in the public-facing trajectory within the Center for the Humanities, which, four years ago, began offering public humanities fellowships to UNH faculty.

Peter Fristedt, National Endowment for the Humanities Senior Program Officer in the Division of Public Programs, will visit both the UNH Center for the Humanities and our offices as he tours cultural organizations that have received NEH grants and speaks at the Summer Institute. New Hampshire Humanities Board member and UNH Professor of English Dennis Britton has been serving as Faculty Fellow on the project, helping to build the curriculum and recruit participants.

By Katie Umans, Assistant Director, UNH Center for the Humanities