Advocating for History and the Humanities

National Humanities AllianceThe National Humanities Alliance has extended its deadline to register for the 2009 Conference and Humanities Advocacy Day to this Friday (February 6). This annual event in Washington D.C. (held this year on March 10-11) brings together leaders and faculty in higher education, teachers, and others working in a wide range of humanities-related employment to promote our interests on Capitol Hill.

This year’s meeting seems particularly important. Given the growing economic pressures on humanities activities, NHA staff advise that “The humanities community cannot afford to make anything less than a strong first impression on the new Administration and Congress as they formulate a policy agenda for the next 4-8 years, and beyond.” The day’s events combine practical advice on “making the case for the humanities,” a reception on Capitol Hill, and visits with representatives and senators to make the case directly.

Members who can come a day earlier can also sign up for a pre-conference event hosted by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences on “Humanities and Culture in a Civil Society” (held the evening of March 9). The discussion, tied to the Humanities Indicators Project discussed yesterday, will feature historians Ed Ayers (now serving as president of the University of Richmond) and Francis Oakley (Williams College), as well as Patricia Q. Stonesifer (chair of the Smithsonian Institution), Don Michael Randel (president, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation) and David Souter (associate justice, U.S. Supreme Court). The focus will be on the role the humanities play in public policy.

There is a small ($50) fee to attend the conference, but that fee includes costs for the lunch on March 10th, briefing materials, and the Capitol Hill reception. There is no charge for the American Academy’s event on the 9th. You can register online at the NHA web site until this Friday, February 6.

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