Each year, National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) offers tuition-free opportunities for educators to study a variety of humanities topics. Among the 2013 offerings is a three-week institute, Power of Place: Land and People’s In Appalachia, from July 8 to July 26, at the University of North Carolina at Asheville in Asheville, North Carolina. Our NEH Summer Institute will use insights from the study of environmental history to examine the role of landscape in the shaping of culture and history, with the Southern Appalachians as a powerful case study. Using the experience of Appalachia, we will see how environmental history presents new questions to interrogate past events, encourages an interdisciplinary approach to history, and presents an excellent opportunity for team teaching in the classroom. The format of the experience will include becoming a member of a vibrant and engaged learning community. You will attend lectures by leading scholars and readings by some of the region’s most accomplished authors, participate in classroom discussions, analyze primary sources, complete reading assignments, watch documentary films, visit historic sites, and develop curricular materials using the materials, ideas and approaches explored in the institute.
The institute is organized chronologically into three one-week sessions exploring different human societies in the Appalachians and their relationships to the mountains. We look at how each of the peoples who came to the region were shaped by the land they encountered and, in turn, how their cultural assumptions and their technological tools influenced the life they made for themselves. Participants will consider the Appalachian Mountains as they come under successive groups of human societies—each with different ideas about the relationship of humans to nature and what constitutes the best use of the land. Weekdays will include faculty presentations, guest speakers including noted authors including Crystal Wilkinson, Ron Rash, John Inscoe, and other renowned experts, field trips, small group seminars and group sharing sessions. A 2011 participant commented, “… helped me see power of using primary sources in my classrooms … a veritable who’s who in Appalachian studies … one of the best experiences I have had since becoming a teacher”.
Additional information on the workshop can be found at the following websites: http://appalachiafilm.org/neh/home , http://www.appalachiafilm.org/NEHInstitute  and http://www.neh.gov/divisions/education/other-opportunities/the-power-pla...  . Completed application materials must be postmarked no later than March 1, 2013. Applicants will be notified of the outcome by April 1, 2013.