The NEHC is pleased to announce the winners of the 2022 Request for Proposals. These are competitive seed grants for research initiatives in the humanities that seek to capitalize on the collaborative network of the Consortium.
Cross-disciplinary teaching, learning, and designing
This project proposes an innovative, collaborative approach to teaching and doing public humanities. It combines student research, exhibition curation, community engagement, and exhibit design in a way that helps students understand the ways that those fields are vitally interconnected. It builds on this student work to offer public humanities programming, an exhibition, and an academic colloquium. It does this in the context of a significant project: the new Coltsville National Historical Park presently under construction in Hartford, Connecticut; and on a large, important, and hidden topic: the history of firearm manufacture and use in New England.
Ottoman Diasporas in New England
From the 1870s to the 1920s, millions of people worldwide moved as economic migrants and refugees from war and violence. Many headed for “America,” with its promises of security, economic riches and religious freedom. The Ottoman Empire and the ex-Ottoman lands generated scores of such migrants during the same period, which was also the last decades of the empire, a period of war, displacement, ethnocide, and forced relocation. Of these, many landed and settled in New England.
The specific goals of the Ottoman Diasporas project in its initial 12-months include:
- mapping existing communities and connecting with community leaders and historians;
- discovering ongoing community history & memory initiatives;
- creating a timeline and map of Ottoman migrations to and within New England;
- cataloging available research resources: published materials, memoirs, archives, libraries, museums, private collections, artifacts, images, sound, recipes, and more;
- involving students in the initial phases of research as assistants and through class activities;
- creating research, teaching and programming collaborations among the participant members of the NEHC: public-facing programming, GIS-generated maps of migration patterns and locales, curated exhibits, publications, teaching modules for schools and more, all of it while inviting local communities to participate in writing their own histories.
Ellen Garrison and the Concord Roots of an Activist Life
Born in 1823 to a formerly enslaved man and the daughter of a Black Revolutionary War veteran, Ellen Garrison’s childhood was spent in the largely agricultural community of Concord, Massachusetts. Yet within Concord’s bucolic setting lay a history of activism, including its role as one of the communities that fomented the American Revolution. This history served to connect it to the past and galvanize some of its citizens, inspiring them to become leaders of the Transcendentalist movement and to take progressive positions on some of the important social issues of the 19th century. In her own way, young Ellen Garrison became part of this. When the town gathered to celebrate its centennial in 1835, 12-year-old Ellen boldly marched in the parade hand-in-hand with a White classmate, desegregating this public event. Her action, noted by onlookers, was amplified by reports in local papers. Subsequently, her mother Susan co-founded the Concord Female Anti-Slavery Society in 1837 with some White community members, and Ellen, her mother, and sister joined 200 other women in Concord in signing a petition protesting the U.S. government’s removal of Cherokee Indians. Ellen Garrison’s Concord upbringing and training in civic activity prepared her for an influential life as a teacher and civil rights activist. Her inspiring story, like the stories of so many women – especially women of color - remains largely untold. “Ellen Garrison and the Concord Roots of an Activist Life” is a digital humanities project built using short-form content in different modes (written biography, film and podcast) which will bring Ellen’s story to a broader audience. The goals of this project will be to extend what is already known about Ellen Garrison’s life through additional primary source research and then to produce materials that are well-sourced and also utilize public platforms to reach a large and diverse audience. This project is part of a larger digital humanities project called Half the History, a curated digital site that archives and disseminates untold and under-told stories of women through biography, film, and podcast. As an open-access digital humanities platform, halfthehistory.org will be built to maximize research searchability; it will be promoted through social media to increase public awareness.
Chinese Environmental History in Translation: Sharing Sources for Public Knowledge
Our project, “Chinese Environmental History in Translation,” aims to create an accessible, affordable, diverse, and unique collection of primary source texts related to all facets of environmental history in China. The ultimate goal is to have a university press in the United States publish a substantial collection of translated primary sources for use in the classroom, in both higher education and secondary education settings. Such a collection will serve as valuable background reading material for specialized research in the fields of environmental history and Chinese studies. In addition, the collection will provide professionals and non-specialists with access to many key but otherwise inaccessible texts, allowing them to glean new insights about China’s long environmental history and its recent environmental policies.
Post Pardon: The Opera (Residency & Workshop)
The Opera is an Afro-speculative opera in development by librettist Arisa White, assistant professor of Creative Writing at Colby College, composer Jessica Jones, and choreographer Laurel Jenkins, assistant professor of dance at Middlebury College. Adapted from White’s eponymous poetry chapbook, published by Mouthfeel Press in 2011, Post Pardon: The Opera is set between the material and spiritual worlds, where three females' lives intersect because of a murder-suicide. From the afterlife, a mother attempts to heal her relationship with two daughters, one living and one dead. As a device to non-judgmentally enter the interior landscape of a woman who contemplates murder-suicide, the libretto employs Caribbean mythologies and West African cosmologies to explore the concept of inherited sorrow. With its concern for gendered and ecological violence, Post Pardon: The Opera is a lyrical and mythical world splitting open with a Black woman’s song.