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December 2015

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Partake in Victorian-era holiday celebrations, find gifts for your favorite humanist, or introduce your family to your genealogy. No matter what brings you together this holiday season, the humanities have a lot to offer! Look for these opportunities and more on our events calendar.

grants!

Act Now for Grants

December 15th is the deadline for our next grant round.

Letter of Inquiry forms for Project grants and Public Squared, our largest grant award, are due this month. Inquiries regarding Scholar in Residence grants are due January 4th. Contact our program staff now if you’re considering applying.

We also are now accepting applications for our new grant, Common Good Reads, which supplies Pulitzer Prize-winning literature and journalism to discussion groups of all shapes and sizes.

While humanities funding has seen severe cuts nationally, Mass Humanities is bucking the trend and making more funding available for grants in 2016.

READ MORE ABOUT OUR GRANTS »

Carl Chandler

Celebrating Clemente

The largest enrollment yet in our flagship, life-changing program.

Thirty-five students at our Springfield Clemente Course site are soon headed for their holiday break. The site, our fifth in the state, has been immediately successful and boasts our largest cohort ever. Meanwhile, the Dorchester Clemente Course site is the focus of a film currently in production from Documentary Film Resources. In the film, Kafi Dixon and Carl Chandler apply lessons from Aristotle, Virginia Woolf, and Pablo Picasso to their lives and are inspired by the humanities.

WATCH THE TRAILER »

watch short videos about the honorees

Humanities Honors

The 2015 Governor’s Awards in the Humanities go to…

We produced three short, two-minute profiles featuring each of the Governor’s Awards recipients we recognized at our benefit dinner in November. Victoria Reggie Kennedy offered the introduction to the series of short films, which were shown at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the U.S. Senate following our fall forum.

WATCH THE VIDEOS »

James Baldwin Project

Another Country

Using James Baldwin to discuss local social issues.

Communities nationwide are now experiencing the value of Conversations with Jimmy, a program about James Baldwin’s life and vision first funded by Mass Humanities. Organizers engage diverse audiences and pair the documentary James Baldwin: The Price of the Ticket with discussions about local issues. The town-wide discussions about diversity, discrimination, and the meaning of brotherhood recently engaged viewers in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, and Washington, D.C.; eight more states will soon follow suit.

FIND OUT MORE »

FAIR in action

World-Class Storytelling for All Ages

Even reluctant dads step up for story time at FAIR.

We know that FAIR increases library use but one attendee went above and beyond to sing the praises of the fantastic storytelling he heard in the program this fall. Mom worked during the time FAIR sessions were held and Dad was too shy for group activities, so a caretaker took their son to their local library. The child was so inspired by the readings and the setting that he made it his mission to get his father involved. He extolled the benefits of reading and held out the promise of getting a book for participating, and ultimately convinced his dad it was worth attending. Stories like these follow every FAIR series; look for an opportunity to attend near you in the spring.

FIND FAIR DATES NEAR YOU »

immigration and adjustment

Immigration & Adjustment

Understanding the world’s largest population of Assyrians.

The indigenous Middle Eastern community of Assyrians has been driven from their historical homelands by persecution, war, and other triggers, especially in the last century. The United States has received the most Assyrian refugees and the first public project to study their emigration was funded by Mass Humanities in 2005.

MORE ABOUT THIS MONTH’S FEATURED GRANT »

farm values project

A Constellation of Values

What is the future of farming in Massachusetts? The Farm Values project endeavors to find out. Their final event in the Mass Humanities funded series is on December 10th in Athol. Farmers, filmmakers, photographers, writers, food activists, and others involved in the project will be on hand as part of a public conversation, video screening, and gallery opening.

JOIN THE EVENT »

Lowell Institute Events

From Fish to French Modernism

What did the Middle Ages smell like? How do we confront implicit prejudice? These questions will be addressed at Lowell Institute events this December. A reading by the 2013 inaugural poet Richard Blanco, gallery talks, and a date with the New England Aquarium are also scheduled, among others.

MAKE ROOM ON YOUR CALENDAR »

William Fowler Jr.

A New Face

Governor Baker appointed William M. Fowler, Jr. to the Mass Humanities board this month. Professor Fowler is the former director of the Massachusetts Historical Society and holds the position of Distinguished Professor of History at Northeastern University, where he has taught since 1971.

READ PROFESSOR FOWLER’S BIO »

Ideas Matter

Topics that Matter

Mass Humanities recognizes the need for public discussion and conversation about topics we do not agree on, like immigration or the role of religion in public life. There is an art to holding those conversations in a productive manner. Listen to our own director of Grants and Programs, Pleun Bouricius, discuss our approach to contentious topics on Ideas Matter.

STREAM THE SHOW »

The Public Humanist

Remembering to Remember

This Veterans Day our Public Humanist asked about the memorials that receive little attention or care. How are memories of conflict and war fading and what can we do about it?

READ THE PUBLIC HUMANIST »

Mass Moments

WWII Sends Women to Work

The attack on Pearl Harbor 74 years ago today launched Massachusetts residents headlong into the war effort, whether on the battlefield or in the factories at home where many women entered the workforce for the first time.

GET THE HISTORY »

Mass Humanities on Facebook

Don’t Forget

The Internet was abuzz with a 2011 headline from The Onion this month: “Historians Politely Remind Nation To Check What's Happened In Past Before Making Any Big Decisions.”

DON’T REPEAT HISTORY, TAKE THEIR ADVICE »

Mass Humanities on Twitter

A Home For Leprosy Patients

Six patients still live in the National Leprosarium in Carville, Louisiana, though most were allowed to leave in the 1940s. Tour the facility in photos and radio interviews with host Phoebe Judge, who recently met some of the residents of the Carville facility on site.

LISTEN TO THE STORY »

Humanities Calendar

We list the best humanities programming in the Commonwealth on our event calendar. See what is happening this month at Mass Humanities.

FIND EVENTS»

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Mass Humanities is a private, nonprofit organization that promotes the use of history, literature, philosophy, and the other humanities disciplines to deepen our understanding of the issues of the day, strengthen our sense of common purpose, and enrich individual and community life.

The National Endowment for the Humanities and the Massachusetts Cultural Council fund Mass Humanities grants. Encourage your state and federal legislators to support these agencies.

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