NEH Summer Seminars and Institutes Announced

It’s been a very busy fall for me. Since I learned that my NEH seminar on Arendt will again be offered in the summer of 2012, I have been working on revising the program. One challenge has been to fit what I used to have six weeks to discuss into five weeks, the maximum number of weeks now allowed for a seminar. The seminars have now been officially announced on the NEH site, so please visit, and tell your colleagues to apply!!

In preparation for next summer, my assistant, Simone Arias, and I attended the NEH directors’ meeting in Washington D.C. in October. There we met all the other seminar and institute directors to discuss how to plan and implement an effective program. And while I was in the area, one of the summer scholars who was a member of my seminar last year, Dr. Pat Dingle, invited me to appear on her television program, “An Educational Moment.”

Pat interviewed me about the NEH seminars, my seminar in particular, and also about the career path to university teaching. I enjoyed our conversation. You can watch the video here:

After the NEH meeting ended, I met with my program officer to fine tune my seminar for next year. Then, I headed to the Boston area and the Schlesinger Library, to research in the archives on subjects related to Hannah Arendt. The collection I was most interested in was the Papers of Elzbieta Ettinger, who wrote a book about the relationship between Hannah Arendt and Martin Heidegger. The relationship itself caused a scandal when it became widely known, and Ettinger’s book, Hannah Arendt and Martin Heidegger, contributed to that phenomenon. I spent four days–too few–in the archives reviewing materials that Ettinger had collected for the longer biography she was in the process of writing. She only published a portion of that work, the section on Arendt and Heidegger, and was still in the process of revising her longer and incomplete work when she died in 2005.

The archives proved a valuable resource for me as I revise my own book, Diving for Pearls: A Thinking Journey with Hannah Arendt. Suffice it to say that my research at the Schlesinger this fall will have a major impact on the final form of my book and, I think, have a major impact on the field of Arendt research in general.

From Boston I traveled (through a blizzard!!) to Bard College and the fourth annual Hannah Arendt conference. The theme of this year’s conference was Truthtelling: Democracy in an Age without Facts. It was an exciting event, and soon you will be able to see all the lectures at Bard’s Arendt Center for Politics and the Humanities’ web site.

Along the Taconic/October Storm

As the conference was ending, the snow returned with a fury. I spent an unexpected extra night at the motel in Red Hook, heading back to NYC by a very slow road the following day with a car load of people who had been stranded by the storm. Leading a tour through New York’s boroughs, I dropped off the last passenger, a grandparent of a Bard student, at La Guardia, and then drove myself to JFK to catch a flight back to the west coast.

After a few days home, I headed to Chicago, where four NEH summer scholars from Arendt seminars (Alicia Harris, Eric Carlson, Heather Nordstrom, and Chris Zegar) past were presenting their curriculum projects on a panel I led at the National Association of Multicultural Education.

As I said, a busy fall.

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