WMU faculty win NEH grant to host national summer institute

Contact: Jana Schulman

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Two Western Michigan University faculty members have been awarded a prestigious National Endowment for the Humanities—NEH—grant to host a seminar program this summer for higher education faculty and graduate students. It was one of 11 grants chosen nationwide, totaling $1.9 million.

The more than $169,000 grant allocated to Western will fund a four-weeklong institute for university and college faculty participants from around the country. This virtual program hosted by WMU's Medieval Institute, like other NEH institutes, will provide ongoing education for faculty and advanced graduate students to learn about specialized areas of knowledge, led by nationally recognized experts in their fields.

The "Law and Culture in Medieval England" institute will examine law through various perspectives using legal, literary and historical texts. This includes famous documents, such as the Magna Carta, as well as lesser-known sources, some appearing in English translation for the first time. The institute will be interdisciplinary, involving visiting scholars and participants from many fields. 

WMU's Dr. Robert Berkhofer III, associate professor of history, and Dr. Jana Schulman, director of the Medieval Institute, will co-direct the program from June 21 to July 16, 2021Berkhofer is a historian of the central Middle Ages, whose research examines literacy and uses of writing in England and France. Schulman is a specialist in Old English and Old Norse language and literature, focusing on women and the law. In addition to Berkhofer and Schulman, instructors will include six experts in history, English, law and medieval studies from the U.S. and Britain. 

The co-directors and visiting scholars of the institute will choose 25 applicants whose teaching responsibilities are in the humanities or social sciences, including those who are not medievalists. Participants may apply beginning Dec. 1. To learn more, visit the Law and Culture in Medieval England website.

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