Mississippi Humanities Council funds two grants

The Office of Institutional Grants is pleased to announce two grant awards from the Mississippi Humanities Council that will fund programs offered through Delta State University’s College of Arts and Sciences. Both awards will provide funding support for upcoming projects this semester.

Dr. Charles Westmoreland, assistant professor of history, collaborated with Jen Waller, director of the Coahoma County Higher Education Center, to submit a proposal to fund the Civil War Sesquicentennial Lecture Series to be held at CCHEC beginning in September.

Separately, Dr. Garry Jennings, professor of political sciences, and Michael Ewing, instructor of communication studies and theatre arts, successfully submitted a proposal to the MHC to fund the presentation “The British and American Constitutions: Uncommon Notions, Common Ties,” featuring the Honorable David Lammy, member of the British Parliament. Lammy will be hosted during The Madison Center’s Constitution Week at Delta State in September.

The Civil War Sesquicentennial lecture series will extend from the fall of 2014 through spring 2015. Delta State and CCHEC will host four lectures — two in the fall and two in the spring — featuring Civil War scholars from the University of Mississippi, Mississippi State University and the University of Memphis.

The series will explore various aspects of the Civil War and will begin on Sept. 18 at the Cutrer Mansion (CCHEC) with a lecture by Dr. Susan O’Donovan, associate professor of history at the University of Memphis. O’Donovan will be speaking on the origins of the Civil War.

On Nov. 6 at the Cutrer Mansion, Dr. John Marszalek from Mississippi State University and the Ulysses S. Grant Association, will examine the relationship between President Abraham Lincoln and the military. Following Marszalek’s talk, there will be a signing for his new book, “Lincoln and the Military.”

Each lecture will have a Q&A session following the main presentation. Two more lectures will follow in the spring semester.

“Delta State and the Coahoma County Higher Education Center are extremely grateful for the MHC’s support of our Civil War Sesquicentennial Lecture Series,” said Westmoreland.  “Their generosity has enabled us to bring in an accomplished, diverse group of Civil War historians.

“The four speakers we have assembled will present on a wide variety of topics and will challenge audiences to think in new ways about that historic conflict. I look forward to seeing these top-notch scholars interacting with enthusiastic, engaged audiences.”

Waller is also excited to bring the lecturers to CCHEC.

“We are thrilled to be offering this lecture series on the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War at the Coahoma County Higher Education Center in Clarksdale,” said Waller. “We are especially grateful to the Mississippi Humanities Council for its financial support, and to Dr. Chuck Westmoreland at Delta State University for putting it together. It will be an outstanding program, and I hope the community and region at large will take advantage of this wonderful opportunity.”

During the Madison Center’s annual Constitution Week, Sept. 15-19, the center will fulfill its federal statutory obligation to educate the campus, especially students, about the U.S. Constitution.

The center will host Lammy for several days of lectures and discussions on constitutionalism. The highlight of these sessions will be Lammy’s public lecture on Sept. 15. He will discuss the British and American constitutions and the similarities and differences between them. Lammy will also appear in Jennings’ American Constitutional Theory course on Sept. 16.

“Every year The Madison Center offers a series of lectures on problems focused on our constitutional republic,” said Jennings. “Having Mr. David Lammy here to compare our constitutions is important in at least two ways. We will have a chance to return to the earliest debates about the nature of constitutions. And Mr. Lammy will have a chance to provide a perspective on the U.S. Constitution that we so rarely have.

“Finally, what we will be discussing on Sept. 15, will be at the heart of any debate on constitutions — what do they mean, why do we have them and are they effective?”

Robin Boyles, director of the Office of Institutional Grants at Delta State, said the university is grateful for the MHC’s support of these two projects.

“The MHC supports several of the university’s projects each year and makes it possible for Delta State to provide humanities programming targeting both students and the community at large,” said Boyles.

MHC is a private nonprofit corporation, funded by Congress through the National Endowment for the Humanities, to provide public programs in traditional liberal arts disciplines to serve nonprofit groups in Mississippi.

MHC sponsors, supports and conducts a wide range of programs designed to promote understanding of cultural heritage, interpret experiences, foster critical thinking, encourage reasonable public discourse, strengthen the sense of community, and thus empower Mississippi’s people with a vision for the future.

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