Application Deadline Approaching: NEH Summer Seminar: What Did Independence Mean for Women? 1776 - 1876

Clarissa Lowry's picture
Summer Program
February 3, 2017 to March 1, 2017
Pennsylvania, United States
Subject Fields: 
Women's & Gender History / Studies, Humanities, Colonial and Post-Colonial History / Studies, American History / Studies

For more information go to NEH Summer Seminars and Institutes for School Teachers

Project Director, Professor Lori Ginzberg (

This three-week NEH summer seminar will bring together sixteen K-12 school teachers for a close study of primary documents, scholarly readings, and historic sites to address the question, “What Did Independence Mean for Women? 1776-1876.”   The seminar will explore both the different meanings of independence for women than for men and how women’s experiences in the first century of the nation’s founding were shaped by their racial, legal, and class identities and statuses.  Drawing from scholarship at the intersections of women’s, African-American, social, and intellectual histories, the seminar will focus particular attention on the contrasting experiences of white and black women, seeing hierarchies of sex and race as the central challenges that a nation committed to the rhetoric of independence confronted.  As they address white and black women’s experiences and think critically about the concept of independence, seminar participants will work on individual projects that will contribute to their own classroom practice. 


The host site, the Library Company of Philadelphia, has a successful track record of running seminars for K-12 educators and serves as an ideal place for a close study of women’s history.  Established by Benjamin Franklin in 1731, the Library Company is an internationally-renowned research library used by scholars, students, and teachers interested in the early Republic and Civil War eras.  The Library Company’s documents in women’s and African American history are especially strong, and its Program in Women’s History, established in 2014,  capitalizes on unsurpassed collections in the history of women’s education, work, religious activities, and participation in reform movements.  With vibrant public programs, fellowship opportunities, and teacher resources, the Library Company, and the City of Philadelphia itself, are ideal places to enhance participants’ understanding of women’s history and to suggest ways to incorporate their knowledge in their own classrooms.


The seminar will be directed by Lori Ginzberg, Professor of History and Women’s Studies at Penn State University, and a respected scholar, lecturer, and teacher of 19th-century U.S. women’s social and intellectual history.  Prof. Ginzberg has worked with undergraduates, graduate students, K-12 educators, and public audiences on a range of historical projects. She welcomes the opportunity to direct a seminar that will bring complex and nuanced scholarship in women’s history to teachers who are well-positioned to make that history accessible and meaningful for students of all ages.




Please review the eligibility criteria for participation in Summer Seminars and Institutes at:

Summer Seminars and Institutes for School Teachers are offered by the National Endowment for the Humanities to provide teachers an opportunity for substantive study of significant humanities ideas and texts.  These study opportunities are especially designed for this program and are not intended to duplicate courses normally offered by graduate programs.  On completion of an NEH Summer Seminar or Institute, NEH Summer Scholars will receive a certificate indicating their participation.

Prior to completing an application to a specific seminar or institute, please review the project website 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.




A selection committee will read and evaluate all properly completed applications in order to select the most promising applicants and to identify a number of alternates.  Our seminar selection committees will consist of the seminar director, a school teacher, and a curator at the Library Company.  Institute selection committees typically consist of three to five members, usually drawn from the institute faculty and staff members.

Special consideration is given to the likelihood that an applicant will benefit professionally and personally from the seminar/institute experience.  It is important, therefore, to address each of the following factors in your application essay:

  1. your effectiveness and commitment as a teacher/educator;

  2. your intellectual interests, in general and specifically as they relate to the work of this project;

  3. your special perspectives, skills, or experiences that would contribute to the seminar or institute;

  1. the likelihood that the experience will enhance your teaching.

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, institute, or workshop in the last three years (2014, 2015, 2016). Additionally, preference is given to applicants who would significantly contribute to the diversity of the program.



Teachers selected to participate in three-week projects will receive $2,700.  Stipends are intended to help cover travel expenses to and from the project location, and ordinary living expenses.  Our seminar participants will be housed at International House at a cost of $750 per person, which will be deducted with your consent from your stipend. Stipends are taxable.  Applicants to all projects 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 as professionals 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 will receive a reduced stipend. While some people may opt to find alternative housing we strongly urge participants to stay at International House since much of the seminar experience often takes place outside of the sessions themselves.

At the end of the project’s residential period, NEH Summer Scholars 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.



Before you attempt to complete an application, please study the project website, which 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 and subsistence.


Applications can be either electronic or mailed as hard copies.

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

  • the completed application cover sheet,

  • a résumé or brief biography with contact information for two professional references, and

  • an application essay as outlined below.

The Application Cover Sheet (to the NEH)

The application cover sheet must be filled out online at this address:

Please follow the prompts.  Before you click the “submit” button, print out the cover sheet and add it to your application package.  Then click “submit.”  At this point you will be asked if you want to fill out a cover sheet for another project.  If you do, follow the prompts to select the other project and repeat the process.

Do not use the same cover sheet for different projects. You must submit a separate cover sheet online for each project to which you are applying in order to generate a unique tracking number for each application.

Résumé and References

Please include a résumé or brief biography detailing your educational qualifications and professional experience. Be sure the résumé provides the name, title, phone number, and e-mail address of two professional references.

The Application Essay

The application essay should be no more than four double‑spaced pages.  It should address your interest, both academic and personal, in the subject to be studied; qualifications and experiences that equip you to do the work of the seminar or institute and to make a contribution to a learning community; a statement of what you want to accomplish by participating; and the relation of the project to the applicant’s professional responsibilities.



Completed applications should be submitted to the project director, not the NEH, and should be emailed or postmarked no later than March 1, 2017.  Application materials sent to the NEH will not be reviewed.

Email your application to:

or Mail your application to:
The Library Company of Philadelphia
C/O Lori D. Ginzberg
1314 Locust Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107

Successful applicants will be notified of their selection on Friday, March 31, 2017, and they will have until Friday, April 7 to accept or decline the offer. You will then have until April 24, 2017 to accept or decline housing.

Note: Once you have accepted an offer to attend any NEH Summer Program (NEH Summer Seminar, Institute or Landmarks Workshop), you may not accept an additional offer or withdraw in order to accept a different offer.



Endowment programs do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability, or age.  For further information, write to NEH Equal Opportunity Officer, 400 7th Street, SW, Washington, DC 20024.  TDD:  202/606‑8282 (this is a special telephone device for the Deaf).