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Center For Africana Studies

NEH Summer Seminars and Institutes for College and University Teachers 2009

“Slaves, Soldiers, Rebels: Currents Of Black Resistance in the Tropical Atlantic, 1760 – 1888”

Where: Johns Hopkins University, Baltiimore, MD
When: July 6 - August 7, 2009

Application Information

Application Deadline: postmarked no later than March 2, 2009

Images courtesy of, sponsored by the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities and the University of Virginia Library

Dear Colleague:

It is a great pleasure to announce the NEH Summer Institute “Slaves, Soldiers, Rebels:  Currents Of Black Resistance In The Tropical Atlantic, 1760 – 1888”, which will take place at The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, between July 6 and August 7, 2009. The Center for Africana Studies will be the host for the program. We enthusiastically invite applications from persons wishing to participate in the Institute. Participation is supported by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. All participants will receive housing and travel expenses to and from Baltimore. Transportation to off-site program activities will also be provided as a part of the grant.

The purpose of the institute is to expose people teaching history at the college and university levels that may or may not be specialists in the history of the black Atlantic, to new scholarship in the field. The Institute will feature presentations from leading historians specializing in the black Atlantic, speaking about their research. Participants will meet with scholars in seminar-style settings, visit nearby research facilities and sites related to the black experience in the mid-Atlantic region, and have access to the library and facilities of Johns Hopkins University. A detailed list of Institute presenters, the topics of their presentations, and additional application information appears in the portions of the website found below.

The Johns Hopkins University is a very prominent center for the study of the black Atlantic. A succession of well-known scholars in the field in the faculty has built an impressive collection at the Eisenhower Library on the Johns Hopkins campus. The National Archives in College Park, Maryland, and Washington, DC are about an hour away. The city of Baltimore was home to an important black community during the era of slavery in the United States, and the larger mid-Atlantic region was the site of important incidents in black resistance. Institute participants will be travelling to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Richmond, Virginia to visit sites associated with the abolition movement and with Gabriel’s Rebellion in Virginia.

Institute staff will begin considering applications to be among the group of 25 participants starting March 2nd, 2009. Applicants must have the Ph.D. in a discipline related to Atlantic history (including, but not limited to history, anthropology, sociology, political science, cultural studies or literature) in hand by the time the institute begins. Preference will be given to applicants who hold teaching positions at the college, community college, or university levels. The purpose of the institute is to serve faculty who teach classes related to the black Atlantic or who wish to expand the range of their teaching to include this field.

Applicants should submit a statement of interests and qualifications, a transcript from the institution that granted them the Ph.D., and three letters of recommendation from colleagues or former instructors.

Best regards,

Stewart King
Ben Vinson III
Natalie Zacek
Institute Co-Directors

Application Information

Application Deadline: Completed applications should be submitted to the project director and should be postmarked no later than March 2, 2009.

Summer Seminars and Institutes for College and University Teachers are offered by the National Endowment for the Humanities to provide college and university faculty members and independent scholars with an opportunity to enrich and revitalize their understanding of significant humanities ideas, texts, and topics. These study opportunities are especially designed for this program and are not intended to duplicate courses normally offered by graduate programs, nor will graduate credit be given for them. Prior to completing an application, please review the enclosed letter/prospectus from the project director (or letter/prospectus downloaded from the director's website, if available) and consider carefully what is expected in terms of residence and attendance, reading and writing requirements, and general participation in the work of the project.

Each seminar includes 15 participants working in collaboration with one or two leading scholars. Participants will have access to a major library collection, with time reserved to pursue individual research and study projects. Institutes are for 25 participants, and provide intensive collaborative study of texts, topics, and ideas central to undergraduate teaching in the humanities under the guidance of faculties distinguished in their fields of scholarship. Institutes aim to prepare participants to return to their classrooms with a deeper knowledge of current scholarship in key fields of the humanities. Please note: The use of the words "seminar" or "institute" in this document is precise and is intended to convey differences between the two project types.


These projects are designed primarily for teachers of American undergraduate students. Qualified independent scholars and those employed by museums, libraries, historical societies, and other organizations may be eligible to compete provided they can effectively advance the teaching and research goals of the seminar or institute. Applicants must be United States citizens, residents of U.S. jurisdictions, or foreign nationals who have been residing in the United States or its territories for at least the three years immediately preceding the application deadline. Foreign nationals teaching abroad at non-U.S. chartered institutions are not eligible to apply.

Applicants must complete the NEH application cover sheet and provide all of the information requested below to be considered eligible. Candidates for degrees are only eligible to apply if they are employed by an institution other than the one at which they are degree candidates and if their participation is intended to enhance their teaching of American undergraduates. Degree candidates can never use their participation in an NEH seminar or institute to meet a degree requirement, including work on masters' theses or doctoral dissertations. An applicant need not have an advanced degree in order to qualify. Adjunct and part-time lecturers are eligible to apply. Individuals may not apply to study with a director of a seminar or institute who is a current colleague or a family member. Individuals must not apply to seminars directed by scholars with whom they have previously studied. Institute selection committees are advised that only under the most compelling and exceptional circumstances may an individual participate in an institute with a director or a lead faculty member who has previously guided that individual's research or in whose previous institute or seminar he or she has participated. An individual may apply to no more than two projects in any one year.


A selection committee reads and evaluates all properly completed applications in order to select the most promising applicants and to identify a small number of alternates. (Seminar selection committees consist of the project director and two colleagues. Institute selection committees consist of three to five members, usually drawn from the institute faculty and staff members.) While recent participants are eligible to apply, selection committees are charged to give first consideration to applicants who have not participated in an NEH-supported seminar or institute in the last three years (2006, 2007, 2008). Recent participation in NEH's Landmarks of American History and Culture Program does not negatively affect eligibility or competitiveness.

The most important consideration in the selection of participants is the likelihood that an applicant will benefit professionally. This is determined by committee members from the conjunction of several factors, each of which should be addressed in the application essay. These factors include:
1. quality and commitment as a teacher, scholar, and interpreter of the humanities;
2. intellectual interests, both generally and as they relate to the work of the seminar or institute;
3. special perspectives, skills, or experiences that would contribute to the seminar or institute;
4. commitment to participate fully in the formal and informal collegial life of the seminar or institute;
5. the likelihood that the experience will enhance the applicant's teaching and scholarship; and
6. for seminars, the conception and organization of the applicant's independent project and its
potential contribution to the seminar.

When choices must be made among equally qualified candidates, several additional factors are considered: Preference is given to applicants who have not previously participated in an NEH seminar or institute, or who would significantly contribute to the diversity of the seminar or institute.


Individuals selected to participate in six-week long projects will receive a stipend of $4,400; those in five-week projects will receive $3,800; those in four-week projects will receive $3,200; those in three-week projects will receive $2,600; and those in two-week projects will receive $2,000. Stipends are intended to help cover travel expenses to and from the project location, books and other research expenses, and living expenses for the duration of the period spent in residence. Stipends are taxable. Applicants to all projects, especially those held abroad, should note that supplements will not be given in cases where the stipend is insufficient to cover all expenses.

Seminar and institute participants are required to attend all meetings and to engage fully in the work of the project. During the project's tenure, they may not undertake teaching assignments or any other professional activities unrelated to their participation in the project. Participants who, for any reason, do not complete the full tenure of the project must refund a pro-rata portion of the stipend.

At the end of the project's residential period, participants will be asked to submit online evaluations in which they review their work during the summer and assess its value to their personal and professional development. These evaluations will become part of the project's grant file and may become part of an application to repeat the seminar or institute.


These general application instructions from the NEH should be accompanied by a "Dear Colleague Letter" from the project director that contains detailed information about the topic under study; project requirements and expectations of the participants; the academic and institutional setting; and specific provisions for lodging, subsistence, and extracurricular activities. If you do not have such a letter/prospectus, please request one from the director of the project in which you are interested before you attempt to complete and submit an application. In some cases, directors have websites for their projects and the "Dear Colleague Letter" may be downloaded from their website. All application materials must be sent to the project director. Application materials sent to the Endowment will not be reviewed.


A completed application consists of three copies of the following collated items:

  • "Dear Colleague Letter"
  • the completed application cover sheet,
  • a detailed resume, and
  • an application essay as outlined below.
    In addition, it must include two letters of recommendation as described below.

The application cover sheet

The application cover sheet must be filled out online at this address: fill it out online as directed by the prompts. When you are finished, be sure to click on the "submit" button. Print out the cover sheet and add it to your application package. At this point you will be asked if you want to apply to another project. If you do, follow the prompts and select another project and then print out the cover sheet for that project. Note that filling out a cover sheet is not the same as applying, so there is no penalty for changing your mind and filling out cover sheets for several projects. A full application consists of the items listed above, as sent to a project director.


Please include a detailed resume (not to exceed five pages).

The Application Essay

The application essay should be no more than four double spaced pages. This essay should include any relevant personal and academic information. It should address reasons for applying; the applicant's interest, both academic and personal, in the subject to be studied; qualifications and experiences that equip the applicant to do the work of the seminar or institute and to make a contribution to a learning community; a statement of what the applicant wants to accomplish by participating; and the relation of the project to the applicant's professional responsibilities. Applicants to seminars should be sure to discuss any independent study project that is proposed beyond the common work of the seminar. Applicants to institutes may need to elaborate on the relationship between institute activities and their responsibilities for teaching and curricular development.

Reference Letters

The two referees should be chosen carefully. They should be familiar with the applicant's professional accomplishments or promise, interests, and ability to contribute to and benefit from participation in the seminar or institute. They should specifically address these issues in their recommendations. Letters from colleagues who know the applicant's teaching and from those outside the applicant's institution who know his or her scholarship can be particularly useful. Referees should be provided with the director's description of the seminar or institute and the applicant's essay. If an applicant has previously participated in an NEH summer seminar or institute, a recommendation from the director or lead scholar of that program would be useful. Please ask each of your referees to sign their name across the seal on the back of the envelope containing their letter, and enclose the letters with your application.


Completed applications should be submitted to the project director and should be postmarked no later than March 2, 2009.

The mailing address is:

The NEH Summer Institute 2009
Center for Africana Studies
The Greenhouse, Room 118
The Johns Hopkins University
3400 North Charles Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21218

Please address your questions to the following email address:  Applications and supporting materials may be emailed to this address.

Successful applicants will be notified of their selection on April 1, 2009, and they will have until April 15 to accept or decline the offer. Applicants who will not be home during the notification period are advised to provide an address and phone number where they can be reached. No information on the status of applications will be available prior to the official notification period.




Endowment programs do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, or age. For further information, write to the Equal Opportunity Officer, National Endowment for the Humanities, 1100 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20506. TDD: 202/606 8282 (this is a special telephone device for the Deaf).



Christopher L Brown
Trevor Burnard
Sherwin Bryant
Laurent Dubois
Douglas Egerton
Sylvia Frey
John Garrigus
Marjoleine Kars
Herbert S. Klein
Jane Landers
Gary Nash
Marcus Rediker
Stuart Schwartz
James Sidbury


*This is a tentative structure for the Institute

Week 1. Atlantic Connections
Topics include:

Theoretical and Analytical Frameworks:
Africa: Societies, Encounters, Creolization
The Transatlantic Slave Trade
Atlantic Economies:
Slave Cultures and Religions in the Diaspora:
The Place of Memory in the Afro-Atlantic Diaspora
Subjects, Slaves, and Subversives
Slave Resistance and the Slave Trade
White Power in Jamaica
Physical and Spiritual Terror
Tacky's Revolt, Jamaica 1823
The Demerara Slave Rebellion and 1831-32
The Baptist War, Jamaica

Week 2: English and Dutch Caribbean
Topics Include:
Seaborne Resistance: Slave Ship Rebellions, Piracy, and other Maritime Labor Struggles
The Dutch in the Americas
Maroons and Slave Resistance in Surinam
Slave Resistance in Dutch Guyana
Rebellion in (formerly Dutch) Demerara

Week 3: The Haitian Revolution
Topics will include:
The Haitian Revolution:
A Tangled Web: Free people of color and slaves
Arming free people of color in Saint-Domingue
The impact of Haiti in the US and elsewhere

Week 4: The United States
Topics will include:
Free Blacks in the American Revolution
The Revolutionary Slave Rebellion
Fighting for Freedom in the Early Republic: Philadelphia as a Case Study
Fighting for Freedom in the Early Republic: New York City as a Case Study
Africa and Black Identities in North America
Gabriel’s Conspiracy and Black Identity
The Urban Environment and Slave Resistance
Patterns of Resistance:

Week 5: Iberian Americas
Black Loyalists
Free Blacks and resistance in Colonial & Imperial Brazil
Free and Black Resistance in the Kingdom of Quito
Understanding South America

For More Information,


(410) 516-6385


Maroon Chief

A Bush Negro (Maroon) Chief, Surinam, 1839