NEHC Announces 2020 Seed Grant Awardees

The New England Humanities Consortium (NEHC) is pleased to announce the winners of the 2020 Requests for Proposals. These are competitive seed grants for research initiatives in the humanities that seek to capitalize on the collaborative network of the consortium.

Curation at a Distance

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Principal Investigator

Lisa Crossman 
Curator, Mead Art Museum
Amherst College

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Dina Deitsch
Chief Curator, Tufts University Art Galleries
Tufts University

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David E. Little
Chief Curator, Mead Art Museum
Amherst College

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Diana Tuite
Curator, Colby College Museum of Art
Colby College

Read more about “Curation at a Distance”

Curating at a Distance is a working group composed of curators at the Mead Art Museum at Amherst College, Tufts University Art Galleries, and Colby College Museum of Art that will research and pilot innovative solutions for presenting artworks and virtual exhibitions online that go beyond digital renderings of physical exhibitions. Through the convening of technical experts in the field and the gathering of ideas from museum colleagues, faculty, academic educators, and artists, the group will develop creative and collaborative pedagogical tools that will become resources for the NEHC.

The group’s convenings will result in a set of guidelines to create cross-institutional virtual exhibitions and meaningful engagement with artworks that speak to contemporary issues relevant to students today. Participating curators will develop a model for the co-creation of valuable teaching resources with input from humanities faculty and will create content collaboratively that will implement the group’s findings.

Working Group:

Lisa Crossman, Curator of American Art and Arts of the Americas, Mead Art Museum, Amherst College, Amherst, MA

Dina Deitsch, Director and Chief Curator, Tufts University Art Galleries, Tufts University and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Medford and Boston, MA

David E. Little, John Wieland 1958 Director and Chief Curator, Mead Art Museum, Amherst College, Amherst, MA

Diana Tuite, Katz Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, Colby College Museum of Art, Colby College, Waterville, ME

Shade: Labor Diasporas, Tobacco, Mobility, and the Urban Nexus

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Co-Principal Investigator

Jason Oliver Chang 
Associate Professor, History & Asian and Asian American Studies
University of Connecticut

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Co-Principal Investigator

Fiona Vernal
Associate Professor, History & Africana Studies
University of Connecticut

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Jorell Meléndez-Badillo
Assistant Professor, History
Dartmouth College

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Sony Coranez Bolton
Assistant Professor Latinx and Latin American Studies
Amherst College

Read more about “Shade: Labor Migration, Tobacco, Mobility and the Urban Nexus”

Shade: Labor Migration, Tobacco, Mobility and the Urban Nexus is an interdisciplinary collective of humanities scholars investigating the ways that U.S. imperialism, colonization, corporate industry, and white settler normativity have evolved and matured in the Connecticut River Valley. The Shade Collective engages interdisciplinary collaborations to center the history and culture of the region’s local communities and global labor diasporas. While migration and labor histories associated with the valley’s tobacco industry remain politically invisible, laborers continue to shape the rural and urban spaces of the region in the course of giving their life meaning. Tobacco laborers attached their own meaning of place and space to their memories and their imaginations of the Connecticut River Valley.

Undisciplining Performance

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Co-Principal Investigator

Lilian Mengesha 
Fletcher Foundation Assistant Professor of Dramatic Literature
Tufts University

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Co-Principal Investigator

AB Brown 
Assistant Professor of Contemporary Performance
Colby College

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Co-Principal Investigator

Kareem Khubchandani 
Mellon Bridge Assistant Professor, Department of Theatre, Dance, & Performance Studies
Tufts University

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Co-Principal Investigator

Christine Mok 
Assistant Professor, Department of English
University of Rhode Island

Read more about “Undisciplining Performance”

The 2021 summer seminar “Undisciplining Performance” investigates the role that performance theory and practice play in troubling disciplinary boundaries that perpetuate hierarchies of value around bodies of knowledge and their attendant social formations. Researchers will conduct a 20-day seminar that combines “distance” and “face-to-face” collaboration. The seminar has three missions: the first is to support our interdisciplinary research and teaching, the second is to foster and strengthen intellectual and pedagogical collaboration across consortium member institutions, and the third is to build a regional conversation about the critical role of performance studies for the future of the humanities. As junior faculty from Colby, Tufts, and URI, we are eager to build on the NEHC mission and model of exchange and collaboration to further humanist knowledge of history and theory using performance.

Journal of a Plague Year

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Co-Principal Investigator

Victoria Cain 
Associate Professor, History
Northeastern University

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Co-Principal Investigator

Natalie Valdez 
Assistant Professor, Women’s and Gender Studies
Wellesley College

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Hilary Moss 
Professor of History and Black Studies
Amherst College

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Kristen V. Luschen 
Lewis-Sebring Visiting Professor of Education Studies
Amherst College

Read more about “A Journal of a Plague Year”

A Journal of a Plague Year is a crowdsourced digital archive that aims to create a lasting historical record of the global experience of COVID-19. This archive is an open repository: anyone can explore its holdings, gather and add items, or curate exhibits, maps, and stories based on its collections. The archive is committed to preserving diverse voices in order to represent the breadth and depth of experiences during this uncertain time. Victoria Cain, in association with Natali Valdez, will create course modules designed to help faculty and students use the archive. These modules will promote primary source literacy, an inclusive understanding of local history and narrative, and more sophisticated understandings of ethical archiving and data-inflected storytelling. Students will contribute to the archives in meaningful ways, ensuring the stories of all people, including underrepresented communities, are heard now and in the future.

Maintaining Accessibility and Developing Resources for Keeping It 101: A Killjoy’s Introduction to Religion Podcast

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Principal Investigator

Ilyse Morgenstein-Fuerst 
Associate Professor of Religion and Associate Director, Humanities Center
University of Vermont

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Megan P. Goodwin 
Director for Sacred Writes and Visiting Lecturer, Philosophy and Religion Department
Northeastern University

Read more about “Keeping it 101: A Killjoy’s Introduction to Religion”

Keeping it 101: A Killjoy’s Introduction to Religion is the podcast that helps listeners make sense of religion. Why religion? Well, if you read the news, have a body, exist in public, or think about race, gender, class, ability, or sexuality, you likely also think about religion — even if you don’t know it yet. Hosted by Megan Goodwin and Ilyse Morgenstein Fuerst, two professors whose research and teaching intersect around race, gender, nationalism, imperialism, and religion, Keeping it 101 shows listeners why religion is both a lot more important and a little easier to understand than you might think. Each episode has a topic: a core idea we’re trying to get the audience to think through. We’ve got critique on critique, gender, race, sexuality, and imperial theory. Also jokes. Many jokes.

Public Memory, Place, and Belonging: Unearthing the Hidden History of the Native and African American Presence on Block Island

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Co-Principal Investigator

Amelia Moore 
Professor of Sustainable Coastal Tourism and Recreation
University of Rhode Island

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Co-Principal Investigator

Jessica M. Frazier 
Assistant Professor, Departments of History and Marine Affairs, and the Gender & Women's Studies Program
University of Rhode Island

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Co-Principal Investigator

Kevin McBride 
Associate Professor of Anthropology
University of Connecticut

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Kendall Moore 
Professor, Harrington School of Communication and Media
University of Rhode Island

Read more about “Public Memory, Place, and Belonging”

Our team grant will support fieldwork and planning that will lead to the development of a temporary, traveling exhibition, opening in July 2022, titled “Public Memory, Place, and Belonging: Unearthing the Hidden History of the Native and African American Presence on Block Island.” In collaboration with members of the Gobern family of Block Island and East Providence, scholars at the University of Rhode Island (URI) and University of Connecticut (UConn) are working with the Tomaquag Museum and a number of local museums with an interest in hosting this exhibit, which will include audiovisual content created by award-winning documentarian, Kendall Moore, Native and colonial cultural artifacts, archival and contemporary photographs and images, written records, and interpretive materials designed to provoke audience engagement and reflection. After its initial display at a number of regional museums, the exhibit will eventually find a permanent residence at the Gobern family homestead on Block Island, the future site of a Manissean community center. 

Reactivating and Reshaping Humanities Communities: Collaborative Humanistic Inquiry inNineteenth-Century Britain and Today

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Co-Principal Investigator

Christie Harner 
Lecturer in Department of English and Creative Writing
Dartmouth College

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Co-Principal Investigator

Winter Jade Werner 
Assistant Professor of English
Wheaton College

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Sarah Alexander 
Associate Professor, Department of English
University of Vermont

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Carolyn Betensky 
Professor, Department of English
University of Rhode Island

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Patricia Burdick 
Assistant Director for Special Collections
Colby College

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Carolyn Dever 
Professor, Department of English
Dartmouth College

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Hilary Moss 
Professor of History and Black Studies
Amherst College

Read more about “Reactivating and Reshaping Humanities Communities”

"Reactivating and Reshaping Humanities Communities: Collaborative Humanistic Inquiry in Nineteenth-Century Britain and Today” takes nineteenth-century communities of humanistic inquirers (working men’s clubs, libraries, natural history museums, the first mass distance learning program, the Boy Scouts) as inspiration to rethink humanities education. What institutions, in the nineteenth-century and today, complicate or help to redefine the function of the humanities? How might public humanities projects, specifically those engaged with nineteenth-century Britain, reactivate learning communities within and beyond the university: on campus, in local organizations, and online? What humanistic projects do participants want to pursue? What histories of humanistic inquiry might we find in the records of our communities? Building to a Spring 2021 symposium, the project involves identifying colleagues and partners across NEHC institutions who can guest lecture in classes (sharing expertise and bringing in new definitions of the humanities) and collaborating with off-campus partners to broaden definitions of humanities social impact. 

NEHC Request for Proposals – Applications Closed

Guidelines and Application


NEHC Mission and Overview

The New England Humanities Consortium (NEHC) promotes and strengthens intellectual collaboration, interdisciplinary exchange, and innovative educational, intercultural, and curricular programming among New England Humanities centers and institutes, and the faculty, students, and regional, national, and global communities they serve. NEHC includes: Amherst College, Colby College, Dartmouth College, Northeastern University, Tufts University, the University of Connecticut, the University of New Hampshire, the University of Rhode Island, the University of Vermont, Wellesley College, and Wheaton College. The Humanities Institute of the University of Connecticut (UCHI) in Storrs, Connecticut is currently the executive and administrative hub of the NEHC.

Award Description

The New England Humanities Consortium (NEHC) is offering competitive seed grants for research initiatives in the humanities that seek to capitalize on the collaborative network of the consortium. Applications seeking to sustain, and build on, previously funded NEHC initiatives that demonstrated success are also welcome. Awards of up to $5000 will be made. (For projects whose total budgets exceed $5000 applicants must list additional committed funding sources and amounts.)  Priority will be given to applications demonstrating concrete plans for consortium membership involvement. Such involvement can take different forms, but will typically involve, e.g. direct collaboration between two or more member institutions and/or active and solicitation of faculty, staff, or students exclusively from member institutions. Applications are welcome from individuals or teams, but the PI must be on the faculty of a NEHC member institution. Potential areas of funding interest include the following (this list is by no means exhaustive):

  • Collaborative research projects
  • Summer Seminars
  • Study or working groups
  • Shared speakers across institutions
  • Collaborative course design
  • Exhibitions

Please submit materials electronically in pdf or Word docx to YOUR HUMANITIES CENTER or INSTITUTE DIRECTOR BY MAY 15, 2020. They will then pass along the proposal to the NEHC board.

Application Procedure and Timeline

Applications for the NEHC RFP must include the following:

  1. Cover page (1 page) stating
  • Title of the project
  • Name, department/program/school location, and NEHC school representation of PI(s)
  • Requested NEHC funding amount (Awards of up to $5000)
  1. Project narrative (2 pages, single spaced, 1” margins, 12pt font) detailing:
  • The goals of the project
  • How those goals address those of NEHC
  • Plans for involving NEHC member institutions and which institutions in particular will be involved
  • How those goals will be pursued
  • Names and roles of participants
  • Expected outcomes and/or deliverables
  • External funding sources, if any
  • Project timeline describing completion of project goals and outcomes
  1. CV (2 page) of Principal Investigator(s)
  2. Budget and Award Period:
  • Total budget. (For projects whose budgets exceed $5000, please list additional committed funding sources and amounts, as validated by an attached letter of support.)
  • The award period will typically not exceed one (1) calendar year and must be stated in the application timeline.

The awardees will be required to submit a detailed summary of the project at the end of their funding term.

Reporting Requirements

All PIs will be required to submit a two-page report no more than one (1) month after the end of the award period specified in the award letter. The report should detail and substantiate progress on the following elements of the project:

  • The extent to which project goals have been met
  • Specific indicators or signs of success
  • Outcomes and/or deliverables achieved
  • Number of NEHC member institutions (and faculty/students) involved

Questions and requests for more information are encouraged and should be directed to UCHI (uchi@uconn.edu).