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Professors go to summer school

Posted on 04.24.2013

Two University of Indianapolis professors will participate in the National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Seminars and Institutes program. Associate Professor of English Kyoko Amano and Assistant Professor of History and Political Science Jamal Ratchford have been selected for two different NEH programs.

According to the NEH website, the Institute will “examine the two issues in the antebellum period that have had the most transformative impact on American life: anti-slavery and abolitionism, and the women’s rights movement.”

Amano will spend two weeks in Concord, Mass., with more than 20 other participants to study Transcendentalism and social reform.

“I’m actually a little new to Transcendentalism. My area is later, after the Civil War,” Amano said. “But the writers I focus on are influenced by Transcendentalists. That is why it is important for me to know about them.”

While at the institute, Amano will have the opportunity to study the archives and primary sources at Concord Public Library and the Massachusetts Historical Society.

“Those are the types of things that I cannot do unless I get this kind of opportunity,” Amano said.

This will be Amano’s second NEH summer institute. She participated in an institute called “Regional Study and the Liberal Arts: Appalachia Up-Close.”

Ratchford will be a visiting fellow at the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute at Harvard University. He also will work with more than 20 other scholars, but his institute will focus on African-American struggles and civil rights.

“What is exciting for me is that it will allow me to be put into contact with persons that are essential to my work,” Ratchford said.

Ratchford said that NEH and programs like it are important for scholars. He said that students need to know that these types of opportunities are out there and that they should try to do programs like these at some point in their career.

“Don’t ever sell yourself short, no matter what you’re doing,” Ratchford said.

At NEH, Ratchford will conduct research on Reconstruction and the Jim Crow era, the founding of the National Association for the Advancement of  Colored People, the impact of both world wars, the Cold War, the Civil Rights movement and the rise of Black Power.

“It is going to be a high level of intensity,” Ratchford said. “These are the leading thinkers in this field.”


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