1. Astonishing things happen when people join together to accomplish visionary goals. At the National Humanities Center, new insights and knowledge are developing constantly as people from a wide range of disciplines and life experience work together to discover ways to transform the world around us. Join us in the important work by making a donation to the Center today!

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  2. The banjo links disparate musical and cultural traditions — from Africa to the Caribbean to the United States — and its history is deeply interwoven with the history of those places. Recently, National Humanities Center Fellow Laurent Dubois and musician Joe Newberry participated in a "musical conversation" exploring this fascinating history and performed songs for NHC trustees, Fellows and special guests.

    Laurent Dubois is Marcello Lotti Professor of Romance Studies and History and faculty director of the Forum for Scholars and Publics at Duke University. He is a specialist on the history and culture of the Atlantic world, with a focus on the Caribbean and particularly Haiti and has written, edited, or translated seventeen volumes on these topics. He wrote his most recent book, "The Banjo: America’s African Instrument," while he was a Fellow at the National Humanities Center in 2008–09.

    Joe Newberry is known throughout the folk and bluegrass world as a gifted musician and award-winning songwriter who has delighted audiences for over 30 years with his innovative banjo playing, as well as his skills with the guitar and fiddle. He’s been a frequent guest on Garrison Keillor’s "A Prairie Home Companion" and regularly appears at camps and festivals around the country where he teaches traditional music and song.

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  3. Among all the classic Broadway shows of the 1930s, a fair number stand out by engaging directly with the New Deal politics of a turbulent decade. Why did the likes of George and Ira Gershwin, Irving Berlin, and Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart take this leftist turn, and how should one read the great American songs that emerged?

    Tim Carter is David G. Frey Distinguished Professor of Music at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His diverse research interests include the music of late Renaissance and early Baroque Italy; Mozart’s Italian operas; and American musical theater in the mid-twentieth century. He is the author of nine books on these topics, including most recently (with Richard Goldthwaite) "Orpheus in the Marketplace: Jacopo Peri and the Economy of Late Renaissance Florence" (2013) and "'Oklahoma!' The Making of an American Musical" (2007). He has also edited four additional volumes and translated two others. Prior to coming to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2001, he taught in the United Kingdom at the Universities of Leicester and Lancaster, and at Royal Holloway and Bedford New College, University of London. As the 2015–16 Kent R. Mullikin Fellow at the National Humanities Center, he is working on a new book on political musical theater in the U.S. during the Great Depression.

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  4. On March 31, 2016, William "Bro" Adams, Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, spoke at length to Fellows and Trustees of the National Humanities Center about the state of humanities research, teaching, and public engagement in the United States. Reflecting on the NEH's founding in 1965 and the work it has supported ever since, he also discussed the challenges facing humanists and the liberal arts, in general, in the twenty-first century.

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  5. On Tuesday, February 9, National Humanities Center president and director Robert Newman joined Lloyd Kramer from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Victoria Gallagher from North Carolina State University to discuss the humanities’ future as part of a town hall meeting. The event, held at Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh, NC, and moderated by retired philosophy professor Clay Stalnaker, drew an engaged crowd who challenged the participants about the role of the humanities in an environment that has become increasingly concerned with financial outcomes from academic activities, technologically-focused, and oriented toward the concerns of the individual rather than the common good. Drawing on examples from the writings of Thucydides, the sermons of Martin Luther King, Jr., the plays of Samuel Beckett and many, many others, Newman, Kramer, and Gallagher insisted on the humanities importance for addressing the complex challenges of the twenty-first century, for preparing students for life regardless of their academic interests and professional aspirations, and especially for leaders and citizens in a democratic society.

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