Race and Mental Health in History and Literature: An NEH Summer Seminar for Schoolteachers

Matt Heaton's picture
Summer Program
July 10, 2016
Virginia, United States
Subject Fields: 
World History / Studies, Health and Health Care, African American History / Studies, African History / Studies, American History / Studies

Race and Mental Health in History and Literature, a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Seminar for Schoolteachers.

 Location: Blacksburg, VA & Washington, DC

Dates: July 10-30, 2016.

Application deadline: March 1, 2016

For more information, please visit the seminar website: https://raceandmentalhealthseminar.wordpress.com/

This three-week seminar examines the question of how the political, social, and scientific relationship between race and mental health has been articulated in its historical, literary, and medical contexts in both the United States and Africa since the late nineteenth century. Focusing specifically on African and African-American contexts and experiences, we will examine the ways that political, social, and cultural processes have been intertwined with the development of psychology and psychiatry, and vice versa.

We will read and discuss four core texts: W.E.B Dubois’s Souls of Black Folk and Richard Wright’s Native Son, as well as Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, and Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart. In addition, Summer Scholars will have access to studies by historians, anthropologists, literary theorists, psychologists, and psychiatrists to complement the issues raised by the core texts. Summer Scholars will also have the opportunity to interact with several internationally renowned experts in the study of the historical, sociological, and literary intersections of race and mental health to discuss core texts as well as their own research interests. Summer Scholars will also have time and guidance to develop their own interests in the seminar theme, whether that be in the form of developing classroom lesson plans, engaging in personal scholarly research, or other efforts to integrate the seminar themes with their professional goals.

The seminar will take place for two weeks on the campus of Virginia Tech, in beautiful Blacksburg, Virginia. For one week the seminar will relocate to Washington, DC where participants will meet with specialists at the National Library of Medicine, the Library of Congress, and the National Archives. As part of this trip, Summer Scholars will also receive a tour of St. Elizabeths Hospital, which served a large African American population in the years after the Civil War and which still functions as a psychiatric hospital today.

Only K-12 teachers are eligible for this seminar. Please visit the seminar website above for more information about eligibility and application details. Any questions can be directed to the Program Director, Dr. Matthew M. Heaton at mheaton@vt.edu.

Contact Info: 

Matthew M. Heaton

Associate Professor

Department of History

Virginia Tech

Blacksburg, VA 24061

Contact Email: