The Henry Luce Foundation is pleased to announce $12,600,000 in grants to 26 organizations across six of its grantmaking programs. Supported projects advance the Foundation’s mission—enriching public discourse, fostering innovative scholarship, and creating new knowledge. They also reflect an emphasis on responding to the needs of communities impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and reimagining the world in its aftermath.
The American Art Program’s eight grants will support presentations of works by Black artists and collections of Native American art. The Asia Program made three grants for projects that promote American understanding of East and Southeast Asia, as well as four grants through the Luce Initiative on Southeast Asia (LuceSEA) competition that fund collaborative efforts in the field of Southeast Asian Studies.
Four Theology grants address the intersection of religion and theology with spiritual care, racial diversity, democracy, and technology; while a Public Policy grant will seed the creation of a policy blueprint to counter white supremacy. The Henry R. Luce Initiative on Religion in International Affairs (HRLI) awarded five grants for scholarship on the relationship between religion and politics, including one emergency grant that will help provide aid to undocumented immigrants in New York City.
Finally, the Higher Education Program awarded grants to three organizations, including a cross-program, Foundation-wide contribution to the American Council of Learned Societies that will aid humanities and social science scholars impacted by the pandemic.
The grants awarded by the Foundation’s programs are described in more detail below, with links to the full list of grantees.
The American Art Program's eight grants advance the Program’s recent areas of emphasis: collection-based exhibitions, Native American art, and academic museums and galleries.
A grant to the Studio Museum in Harlem—dedicated to showing and collecting works by artists of African descent—will fund preparations for the inaugural collection exhibitions with which the museum will open its new home in 2023. The presentations will feature more than 200 works representing two centuries of Black artistic production. Two grants will fund a major reinstallation of the Denver Art Museum's Native American holdings and the American Museum of Natural History's first gallery of contemporary Native Northwest Coast art, while grants to Tougaloo College and Western Kentucky University Museum will further the development of their collections as resources for collaborative research and interdisciplinary teaching. The High Museum will mount a collection-based exhibition exploring photography of the South—its people, landscape, and culture—and two grants will provide continued support for the Historic Artists’ Homes and Studios group and its member sites.
The Luce Initiative on Southeast Asia (LuceSEA) competition awarded four grants in support of collaborative, interdisciplinary projects. In a field that tends to be marginalized and under-resourced, these efforts will help create new capacity and resources to inform the shape of work and study in and on Southeast Asia.
Two projects bring the humanities and social sciences into conversation with the sciences. Scholars at Michigan State University will examine how cultural, social, economic, and environmental changes affect livelihoods and food security in the Lower Mekong Basin by analyzing quantitative data alongside direct accounts from indigenous and local community members. At the University of Hawaii at Manoa, researchers will collaborate with early-career, Southeast-Asia-based scholars and civil society practitioners on the study of agrarian and urban transformations in the region.
Through the lens of critical archival studies, a project on authoritarianism at the University of Washington will partner with Southeast Asian colleagues to examine the legacies of violence and dislocation both in Southeast Asia and on heritage communities in the U.S.—and in the process reflect on the histories of Americans in the region and of Southeast Asians in the U.S. Grant funds will also seed a tenure-track line in the Asian Languages & Literatures Department and fund needed training in SEA librarianship.
Finally, Graduate Education and Training in Southeast Asia Studies (GETSEA)—a consortium headquartered at Cornell University—will use a grant to explore strategies for strengthening graduate education by bridging institutional divides and developing new mechanisms for sharing expertise and resources.
In addition to the four LuceSEA grants, the Asia Program made three Responsive Grants that support the development of resources and expertise and enhance American understanding of East and Southeast Asia.
The American Council of Learned Societies will continue its fellowship program for early-career scholars of China and conduct an assessment of its Program in China Studies within the context of the current state of the field, higher education, and U.S.–China relations. A grant to Minnesota Public Radio | American Public Media will provide renewed support for the Marketplace Asia Desk, which produces programming on how the global economy is shaping and being shaped by Asia, with a present focus on the impact of the pandemic on the Chinese and U.S. economies. The Asia Program also made an emergency grant to the Association for Asian Studies to support the needs of the Asian Studies community affected by COVID-19 by assisting with the development of new content and resources for teaching and outreach.
A Higher Education grant to the University of California, Merced will provide renewed support for a program that enables doctoral students in the humanities to pursue community-based research—in collaboration with external partners—while working on projects that benefit the greater community. The American Association for the Advancement of Science was awarded a grant to advance the goals of the Foundation’s Clare Boothe Luce Program: the grant will help launch a new initiative that will encourage the diversification of science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine at U.S. colleges and universities.
A third grant from the Higher Education Program to the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) is a Foundation-wide effort to aid humanists and social scientists who are suffering as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. ACLS will launch an initiative to provide recent PhDs—many of whom are unemployed or working as contingent faculty—with fellowships to conduct public-facing research and will also offer them professional development support in preparation for work outside academia. While addressing these immediate needs, the project also aims to stimulate new thinking about the structure of the humanities PhD and how it might be redesigned to prepare students for a wider range of positions and ensure that the perspectives of the humanities and social sciences are well-represented in public discourse.
A single grant from the Public Policy Program will support the Center for American Progress, working with the McCain Institute for International Leadership, to develop and promote an actionable policy blueprint to counter white supremacy in the U.S. and abroad. The project seeks to include the voices of impacted communities in policy debates; unite progressives and moderates around a bipartisan policy agenda; create disincentives for political leaders to use rhetoric known to inspire violence; and decrease the number of violent incidents by supporting prevention programs that address risk factors before individuals resort to violence.
The Henry R. Luce Initiative on Religion in International Affairs (HRLI) awarded five grants that reflect its commitment to enhancing public understanding of complex issues at the intersection of religion, politics, and policy.
Three grants support research on the relationship between religion and politics. The Century Foundation will focus on the transformation of religious politics in the Middle East, with special attention to Iraq and Egypt. A project at Hitotsubashi University in Japan will examine the Chinese state's promotion of Chinese Buddhism abroad, and its reception in a number of countries in Asia and the West. And a grant to the Baker Institute at Rice University will support research on how Muslim communities in five countries—in Asia and the Middle East—are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The American Council of Learned Societies will continue administration of a fellowship program that fosters public scholarship on religion in international affairs by supporting scholars and their efforts to share their knowledge and expertise through media engagement. The program also provides institutional grants to universities to build connections across schools of journalism, communications, and arts and sciences.
Finally, an emergency grant to New York University’s Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics, whose “Ecologies of Migrant Care” project documented the migrant crisis from Central America to the U.S., will work with a network of churches and local organizations in New York City to provide food and medical care to undocumented communities. The project will also document the experiences of those communities and the people who care for them, and will create a video archive to be housed on the "Ecologies of Migrant Care" website. This grant was made in collaboration with the Foundation’s Theology Program.
The Theology Program is dedicated to advancing scholarly and public understanding of religion and theology, and each of its four grants addresses one of the Program’s recent priorities—chaplaincy and spiritual care, religious and racial diversity, democracy and public theology, and ethics and technology—as well as issues that have emerged from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Chaplaincy Innovation Lab at Brandeis University will support spiritual care providers—many of whom have been called upon to provide care on the frontlines of the pandemic—by developing webinars, educational materials, and other resources that will also help prepare them for future crises. A grant to Columbia University’s Center on African-American Religion, Sexual Politics and Social Justice will fund an interdisciplinary project that seeks to bring Black studies and the study of religion into dialogue with one another to better understand the meaning of “Black Faith” today. A project at the University of California, Berkeley’s Center for the Study of Religion will examine how theology has influenced, and continues to influence, democratic practices. It aims to adopt a pluralistic understanding of theology that can better respond to the breadth and diversity of democratic societies in the world today. And the Center for Humanities at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University will engage in new research on ethics, human identity, and technology to tackle the question of what it means to be human in a technological age.