National Endowment for the Humanities: Dialogues on the Experience of War
The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) seeks applications for the Dialogues on the Experience of War (Dialogues) program as part of its current initiative, Standing Together: The Humanities and the Experience of War. The program supports the study and discussion of important humanities sources about war, in the belief that these sources can help U.S. military veterans and others think more deeply about the issues raised by war and military service.
Dialogues is primarily designed to reach military veterans; however, men and women in active service, military families, and interested members of the public may also participate. Awards will support:
- The convening of at least two sustained discussion programs for no fewer than fifteen participants
- The creation of a preparatory program to recruit and train discussion leaders
Preparatory training and discussion programs may take place in veterans’ centers, at public libraries or cultural centers, on college and university campuses, and at other community venues.
Discussion programs must:
- Treat at least two historically distinct conflicts in depth: one from the earliest wars through World War I, and a second from the wars after World War I
- Focus on the close study of sources drawn from at least two distinct genres (such as historical writings, memoirs, military biographies, speeches and letters, philosophical writings, documentaries, fiction, and artworks)
- Engage participants in deep discussion of the selected humanities sources and the issues that they raise
- Convene participants for multiple sessions to foster sustained and inclusive dialogue
Humanities sources eligible for discussion can be drawn from history, philosophy, literature, film, and the visual and performing arts—and may be complemented by veterans’ testimonials. Discussions should engage the participants in serious exploration of important questions about war and military service, such as the ethics of war, the nature of service, the place of veterans in society, heroism, suffering, loyalty, and patriotism.
Preparatory training programs must assemble a team for development. The preparatory program should be designed to train discussion facilitators, referred to as discussion leaders. The program should include the following:
- Close study of the humanities sources at the heart of the discussions
- Modeling and practice in leading humanities discussions (for example, posing questions designed to explore texts and elicit discussion of the texts’ contemporary relevance; articulating rules of civil discourse; encouraging group inquiry; moderating disagreements)
- Developing the discussion leaders’ knowledge and awareness of the diverse backgrounds and perspectives of military veterans and service members
- Building a virtual or actual network of discussion leaders and resources for future versions of the program and/or new programs
The application must explain how the preparatory and discussion program design will support a commitment to thorough and sustained discussion, and provide a specific plan for recruiting, training, selecting, and mentoring the discussion leaders. The format of and methodology behind the preparatory program might include elements such as: lectures with breakout discussion groups; how-to demonstrations on the art of close reading; modeling how to conduct fruitful conversations or moderate online forums; the creation of videos; and practice in facilitating sample discussion sessions.
Prior Dialogues award recipients applying at the 2019 deadline must include new, extended, or revised plans that enhance their project significantly and that indicate how lessons learned in the implementation of their previous project(s) inform their current application. They must indicate how their proposed project will develop, strengthen, and expand project partnerships between the recipient and other programs, institutions, or community organizations to:
- Develop or extend a current local, regional, or national network of Dialogues programs
- Create and disseminate shared and/or shareable project resources for preparatory and discussion programs, such as training videos, facilitator resources, reading and resource lists, source materials, and evaluation forms and guidance
- Scale up their own preparatory and discussion programs, or build capacity for smaller organizations or remote communities to offer Dialogues programs
To these ends, project teams could use award funds for activities and resources that support program evaluation, revision, and expansion such as: meetings and workshops; technological and infrastructural consultants; additional travel expenses for regional or national meetings; or other means of sharing resources and best practices across a wider programming community.
Amount: Approximately 15 awards of up to $100,000 will be made for a project period of 12-24 months.
Eligibility: Any U.S. nonprofit organization with 501(c)(3) status, state and local governmental agencies, federally recognized Indian tribal governments, and institutions of higher education.
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