UCSC awarded three NEH grants for Humanities projects

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Karen Bassi (Photo by Melanie Wylie)
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John Jordan (Photo by Carolyn Lagattuta)

UC Santa Cruz has received three grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to support humanities projects in the Literature Department.

The campus awards are part of $33 million in grants for 173 humanities projects that the NEH has funded this year.

Literature Professor Karen Bassi received $200,000 to support a four-week National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute for 25 college and university faculty to investigate the history of mortality in ancient Greek culture.

The Institute is designed to bring college and university teachers together with graduate students and experts in relevant fields to examine material from a broad range of ancient Greek literary sources, visual and archaeological remains, and historical periods.
 
The goal of the Institute is to collectively develop a multi-disciplinary history of mortality in ancient Greece, as the prospects of fearing, facing, and evading death can be found in scholarship throughout ancient Greek culture--including literature, philosophy, religion, art history, the history of medicine, and archaeology.

The project will take place in Athens, Greece during the summer of 2014.

Bassi received her BA in Classics from UCSC in 1980 and her Ph.D. in Classics from Brown University in 1987. She has taught at UCSC since 1989 as professor of Classics and Literature. Bassi also served as chair of the Literature Department from 2008 to 2012, director of the Classics program, and director of the Educational Abroad Program in the Netherlands.

Literature professor and Dickens Project director John Jordan received NEH grants for two seminars that will take place prior to the 2014 Dickens Universe, the annual UCSC literary celebration of the works of Charles Dickens.

He was awarded $118,912 for a four-week NEH seminar for 16 college and university faculty to explore two of Charles Dickens's novels and their theatrical and cinematic adaptations.

Titled “Performing Dickens: The Theatrical Context of Oliver Twist and Great Expectations on Page, Stage and Screen,” this seminar will be led by Professor Sharon Weltman of Louisiana State University.

The seminar will examine two of Dickens’s most often taught and most frequently adapted novels, along with a range of major film, television, and dramatic adaptations from 1837 to 2012.

“The seminar will place Dickens in a theatrical context, discussing his many connections to the stage,” said Jordan. “It will explore both the theater’s profound effect on his art (he wrote while acting out his characters in front of a mirror) and his vital effect on Victorian performance practice (through collaboration with playwrights and wildly successful reading tours).” 

“College and university teachers of literature, theater, film, performance, and adaptation studies will benefit from this seminar on performing Dickens as they work on their own related projects,” he added.

Jordan also was awarded $112,594 for a four-week seminar for 16 elementary, middle and high school teachers on the literary and film adaptations of Charles Dickens's novels Great Expectations and A Christmas Carol

Focused on a cluster of films and narrative rewritings of these two major novels, the "Great Adaptations" seminar will explore the enduring influence of Dickens on the modern imagination.

"A major goal of the seminar will be to help teachers identify new ways to use adaptation in the classroom in order to engage students actively in thinking and writing about literature. Examples will be drawn from a variety of genres, including fiction, film, and drama,” Jordan noted. 

Titled “Great Adaptations: Dickens in Literature and Film,” this seminar will be led by Professor Marty Gould of the University of South Florida.