NEH Summer Programs in Philosophy

There are a few National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) summer institutes and seminars in philosophy now accepting applications.

They are:

  • Emmanuel Levinas: Ethics of Democracy
    (Summer Seminar for College & University Teachers)
    A week-long Seminar of intensive text-based examination and discussion of politics and democracy viewed from the perspectives of the ethics of responsibility elaborated by the philosopher Emmanuel Levinas (1906-1995).  Opposing the war and suppression of human-wolves of Hobbesian ‘realpolitik’, on the one hand, and the isolated individualism of the liberalism of Lockean propertied freedom, on the other, Levinas roots the political in the radical imperatives inter-personal obligation and ethical responsibility – for each other and for all others – which is to say, in the quest for social justice.  Such a perspective, binding the political to the ethical, to morality and to justice, makes democracy not one regime among others but the best regime, the ideal of politics.
    Project Directors: Richard Cohen; James McLachlan
    Grantee Institution: The University at Buffalo, Buffalo, New York
    Dates: August 10 – 14, 2020 (1 week)
  • David Hume in the 21st Century: Perpetuating the Enlightenment
    (Summer Institute for College & University Teachers)
    This Institute is designed to study multidisciplinary perspectives on the work of eighteenth-century Enlightenment giant, David Hume. It features a rotating faculty of twelve eminent scholars. While we will explore Hume’s impact in epistemology, ethics, history, and economics, a notable feature is its focus on the implication of Hume’s thought in non-traditional areas. Faculty will address Hume’s approach in relation to Eastern thought, the status of women (including early modern woman philosophers’ responses to Hume), race, the status of animals, and the environment. Participants will also have opportunities for small group discussions with faculty while enjoying the environs of beautiful Portland, Oregon.
    Project Directors: Angela Coventry, Elizabeth Radcliffe
    Grantee Institution: Portland State University, Portland, Oregon
    Dates:  July 13 – August 7, 2020 (4 Weeks)

  • What We Teach and Why: Philosophers of Education from the Enlightenment to the Present
    (Summer Seminar for School Teachers)
    The overarching goals of this Seminar will be to introduce Summer Scholars to debates among significant philosophers of education, to understand connections among their ideas, and to articulate ways their theories can be made accessible and relevant to K-12 educators today. It will explore works of philosophers ranging from John Locke to Howard Gardner, from W. E. B. Du Bois to Pedro Noguera, from Mary Wollstonecraft to Diane Ravitch. It will also consider their relevance to current controversies in education: charter schools, Common Core Standards, the achievement gap, teacher evaluation, and the standards accountability reform movement.
    Project Director: Peter Gibbon
    Grantee Institution: Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts
    Dates: July 12 – July 31, 2020 (3 weeks)

The application deadline for these is March 1, 2020.

The number of NEH summer programs in philosophy is down from a few years ago. In the summer of 2016 there 7 programs in philosophy, and in the summer of 2017 there were 6. Unfortunately, I do not have ready access to information about the number of summer programs in 2018 or 2019.

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Ethan Mills
4 years ago

Should this list include this seminar? It’s inter-disciplinary, but one of the disciplines is philosophy.

The Imagination and Imaginal Worlds in Buddhism

Our world is facing unprecedented ecological and social challenges. In Buddhism, as in other religions, imaginal worlds—worlds deliberately accessed through the imagination—are primary sources for personal healing, inspiration, and insight, as well as for social, cultural, and political transformation. This Institute invites scholars to reflect on the critical roles our imaginations play in creating (and potentially) transforming our world by examining how these worlds are deployed in Buddhist literature, ritual, meditation, and art; Buddhist philosophical theories on the creative dynamic between mind, action, and world; and contemporary theories on the imagination (from philosophy, psychology, cognitive science, anthropology, and religious studies).

Project Director(s) Karin Meyers, William Stone Waldron
Grantee institution: Mangalam Centers, Berkeley, CA
Dates: June 14-June 26, 2020

Elizabeth S. Radcliffe
4 years ago

Thank you for spreading the word, Justin! I want to mention that some Institutes for College and University teachers will accept applications from advanced graduate students as well and are allowed to admit up to three. The Hume Institute is one of those.