UC Santa Cruz has received two grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to support humanities projects in the Literature Department.The campus awards are part of $43.1 million in grants for 219 humanities projects nationwide that the NEH has funded this year.
Literature professor Karen Bassi received $200,000 to support a four-week National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute for 25 college and university faculty to examine museums as sites of cultural meaning.
Titled “Museums: The Humanities in the Public Sphere,” the Institute will be an in-depth exploration of museums and curated cultural collections around Washington, D.C. in 2019
Bassi noted that the the goal of the project is to investigate how museums promote humanistic teaching and research.
“The Institute will focus on museums as sites for interdisciplinary inquiry into advances in humanistic and scientific research, the effects of ongoing international conflicts, the speed of evolving technologies, and ethical debates over privacy, sustainability, and cultural heritage,” said Bassi.
“The Institute is guided by the principle that museums offer windows on the educational, ethical, and cultural debates that define the humanities today,” she added.
Four major museums will serve as case studies–the National Museum of African American History and Culture, the National Museum of the American Indian, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and the Freer-Sackler Museums of Asian Art.
Bassi will co-direct the project with Gretchen Henderson, a 2018 Tanner Fellow in environmental humanities at the University of Utah, lecturer at Georgetown University, and research associate at UC Santa Cruz. The Institute builds on a previous NEH Summer Institute led by Bassi in 2014 in Athens, Greece, in which Henderson was a participant.
Bassi earned her B.A in Classics from UC Santa Cruz in 1980 and her Ph.D. in Classics from Brown University in 1987. She has taught at UCSC since 1989 and also served as chair of the Literature Department, director of the …