The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) recently announced $31.5 million in grants for 226 humanities projects across the country, including the University of Texas El Paso (UTEP) on behalf of a proposal submitted by Andrew Newman, Stony Brook University Department of English, and Jonna Perrillo, UTEP. Their project, funded by a nearly $200,000 grant from the NEH Institutes for K-12 Educators program, will be a 2023 summer institute on “Making the Good Reader and Citizen: The History of Literature Instruction in American Schools.”
To be held virtually at the University of Texas, El Paso in Summer 2023, this institute will bring together 30 middle and high school teachers from around the country to examine the history of literary education. In July 2021, Newman and Perrillo directed a smaller version of this program hosted virtually by Stony Brook.
“We’re so grateful for the opportunity to build on the success of our 2021 Summer Seminar,” Newman said. “This is a critical moment in English education, and it’s more important than ever to understand its history. Jonna and I are really looking forward to working with brilliant, dedicated teachers and visiting scholars from across the country.”
A call for applicants will begin later this year, and a committee will select 30 secondary school educators from around the country; at least six spots will be reserved for new or preservice teachers.
This year, 37 grants for summer seminars, institutes, and workshops will provide professional enrichment and research opportunities for K-12 schoolteachers and college faculty on topics such as: the history and cultural impact of the American automobile industry; Washington D.C.’s FDR Memorial and its connection to the U.S. disability rights movement; incorporating veterans’ oral histories into high school level history, social sciences, civics, and literature classes; and the political, cultural, and economic histories of the Buffalo Nations of the Assiniboine, Sioux, Blackfeet, Crow, Northern Arapaho, and Eastern Shoshone.
Andrew Newman is a professor and chair of the College of Arts and Sciences Department of English and an affiliate with the Department of History. His current book project is a cultural history of “the high school canon” — the books that have been studied by generations of American students. Andrew is the recipient of a 2019-20 fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. Recent work from this project appears in Public Books, The Conversation, and Inside Higher Education.
Jonna Perrillo is an education historian and professor of English Education at the University of Texas at El Paso. She directed the West Texas Writing Project, a branch of the National Writing Project for six years. Most recently, she is the author of Educating the Enemy: Teaching Mexicans and Nazis in the Cold War Borderlands (Chicago, 2022).
Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at www.neh.gov.