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NEH funds IU teacher institutes on religion, social movements

The National Endowment for the Humanities has awarded research centers at IUPUI and Indiana University Bloomington more than $300,000 to conduct three-week summer institutes for high school teachers in 2010.

The Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture in the IU School of Liberal Arts at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis will receive $144,637 for a three-week institute on the role of religion in American history and life.


Also, the Center on Congress and the Center for the Study of History and Memory, both at IU Bloomington, were awarded $165,422 to co-sponsor an institute on modern social movements in America.

Twenty-five teachers from across the U.S. will be accepted to take part in each institute. Both are part of the NEH "We the People" initiative, the goal of which is to encourage and strengthen the teaching, study and understanding of American history and culture through projects that explore significant events and themes and that advance knowledge of the principles that define America.

The IUPUI institute, titled "The Many and The One: Religion, Pluralism, and American History," will provide vital, embodied examples that teachers can use to make religion's role come alive in their classrooms alongside other important topics. Project co-directors are Art Farnsley, director of public teaching with the Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture; Philip Goff, director of the center; and Rachel Wheeler, center staff member.

"It is not possible to understand American culture without understanding religion's social role," Farnsley said. "This grant gives us a tremendous opportunity to leverage our academic leadership in the study of American religion by allowing us to extend our work to high school teachers and, through them, to students all over the country."

The IU Bloomington institute, titled "Social Movements in Modern America: Labor, Civil Rights, and Feminism," will help teachers understand the pivotal role of three major social movements in changing U.S. public policy over the last century.

It will be co-directed by Edward G. Carmines, the Warner O. Chapman Professor and Rudy Professor of political science and research director for the Center on Congress, and John Bodnar, Chancellor's Professor of history and co-director of the Center for the Study of History and Memory.

The institute will devote one week to each of the social movements, acquainting teachers with the latest scholarship and elements that tie the movements together. Teachers will attend lectures, participate in classroom discussions, analyze essential primary sources, complete reading assignments, watch documentary films, visit historic sites and develop curricular materials.

Three experts will join Carmines and Bodnar in conducting the institute: Carl Weinberg, editor of the Organization of American Historians Magazine; Jennifer Maher, senior lecturer in the Department of Gender Studies at IU Bloomington; and Jeffrey Ogbonna Green Ogbar, an IU graduate who is now associate professor of history at the University of Connecticut. Purdue University Professor Lynn Nelson will also join the institute faculty. Barbara Truesdell, assistant director of the Center for the Study of History and Memory, will manage administrative details.