Historians are deeply involved in Obama's plans for NEH

Historians in the News

Last month Clement A. Price, a member of the Obama transition team’s committee on the arts, spent several days walking the halls of the National Endowment for the Humanities, interviewing program officers and generally taking the temperature of the place.

It was an interesting moment to visit. Not only was a new president preparing to take office, but the endowment was about to lose the longest-serving chairman in its history. Bruce Cole, who had served in that role since 2001, announced in November that he would leave in January to take a position with a museum in Pennsylvania.

“My instructions were as follows,” says Mr. Price, a professor of history at Rutgers University at Newark: “to spend some time in the agency getting a real-time sense of what was going on, to learn how the eight years of the Bush administration had affected the agency, and to make recommendations with respect to budgetary and policy matters.”

Few scholars ever enjoy the kind of access that Mr. Price received in December. But he is far from alone in offering advice about the endowment’s budget, policies, and purpose. Since the moment of its creation, in 1965, the endowment has been torn between several constituencies. How much of its money should go to lonely scholars toiling away on obscure topics in philology, and how much should go to documentaries and museum exhibits aimed at a mass audience? Should its awards go strictly to the most excellent proposals, or should it take care to distribute funds across all 50 states, the better to keep Congress happy?...
Read entire article at Chronicle of Higher Ed

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