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NEH Awards Grant to Mercer to Provide Intensive Course
on Southern History for School Teachers

October 3, 2011

Media Contact: Mark Vanderhoek, (478) 301-4037 or
Institute Web site:

MACON — The National Endowment for the Humanities has awarded Mercer University $185,000 for an institute for school teachers in summer 2012. The University previously received an NEH grant to hold a similar institute in 2010. The 2012 institute will be a five-week course on Southern history and culture, titled “Cotton Culture in the South from the Civil War to the Civil Rights Movement.”

The institute will be held June 24-July 27, 2012, and will allow 25 teachers of English, history, economics, government, geography, art and music to learn about the social structures of the South between the Civil War and the Civil Rights Movement. The institute is co-directed by Dr. Sarah E. Gardner, professor of history and director of Mercer’s Southern Studies Program; Dr. Douglas Thompson, associate professor of interdisciplinary studies and Southern studies; and Dr. David A. Davis, assistant professor of English. They will also serve as the institute’s faculty, but the institute will include a number of guest faculty experts in Southern history and culture who will lead daily workshops.
“Leading scholars from many of the nation’s premier institutions will join Mercer’s Southern Studies faculty in leading workshops and classes for our visiting teachers,” Dr. Gardner said. “We are honored that the NEH has chosen to fund our institute. In the course of two years, the NEH has awarded the Southern Studies Program more than $400,000, testifying to the intellectual rigor, creativity, sustainability and value of the Southern Studies Program at Mercer.”

The institute will contain three units: “Cotton from Plant to Product,” “The Politics of Race, Class and Cotton Labor” and “The Cultural Production of Cotton.” Within each unit, the institute’s faculty and visiting faculty will lead various discussions and workshops.

“American school students tend to learn two things about the South: the Civil War and the Civil Rights Movement. This institute fills in the gap between those two events, demonstrating how they are related,” said Dr. Davis. “It also explains how Southern history, economics, politics, and culture are connected, so teachers in each discipline can better understand how their curriculum fits with other fields.”

The NEH grant is part of its Landmarks of American History and Culture: Summer Seminars and Institutes for School Teachers, which supports national faculty development programs in the humanities for school teachers. The seminars and institutes range from two to six weeks each and focus on significant humanities topics, texts and issues.

For more on the program, go to

About the NEH
Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at

About Mercer University
Founded in 1833, Mercer University is a dynamic and comprehensive center of undergraduate, graduate and professional education. The University enrolls more than 8,200 students in 11 schools and colleges – liberal arts, law, pharmacy, medicine, business, engineering, education, theology, music, nursing and continuing and professional studies – on major campuses in Macon, Atlanta and Savannah and at three regional academic centers across the state. Mercer is affiliated with two teaching hospitals — Memorial University Medical Center in Savannah and the Medical Center of Central Georgia in Macon, and has educational partnerships with Warner Robins Air Logistics Center in Warner Robins and Piedmont Healthcare in Atlanta. The University operates an academic press and a performing arts center in Macon and an engineering research center in Warner Robins. Mercer is the only private university in Georgia to field an NCAA Division I athletic program. For more information, visit
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