The Henry Luce Foundation is pleased to announce 31 new grants totaling slightly more than $14 million. Awarded in five program areas, these grants demonstrate the Foundation's commitment to enriching public discourse by supporting innovative scholarship, leadership development, and collaboration across geographic, disciplinary, and ideological boundaries.
The Asia Program makes its first grants through the Luce Initiative on Southeast Asia (LuceSEA) to three institutions whose multi-institutional and interdisciplinary collaborations will result in the development of scholarly resources and the creation of field-building opportunities. The Program also awards five responsive grants to support China studies scholars and to foster greater understanding of China.
Seven grants from the American Art Program provide funding for permanent collection projects at museums across the US, while the Higher Education Program's three grants promote public engagement, support innovative scholarship in the humanities, and foster women's leadership in the field of engineering.
The Henry R. Luce Initiative on Religion in International Affairs is funding seven projects that enhance public understanding of religion in global affairs on topics including migration, humanitarianism, sectarianism, and the transformation of religious institutions. The Theology program also emphasizes public engagement and support for emerging scholars of religion, evident in the six grants awarded to research universities.
The grants awarded by the Foundation’s programs are described in more detail below.
The American Art Program awarded grants to seven institutions for work and programming related to permanent collections, including three ambitious efforts to place permanent holdings at the forefront of public-facing work. A grant to the Gilcrease Museum will support collection-study projects in preparation for major exhibitions of its Native American narrative paintings and works by the artists Thomas Moran and Mary Nimmo Moran, while the Phillips Collection will present an exhibition of its post-2000 acquisitions as the centerpiece of its centennial celebration in 2021. The Whitney Museum of American Art will embark on a multi-year critical study of its collection and collecting trajectory that will result in two collection-based exhibitions and a reinvigorated acquisitions strategy.
Grants to the Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art and Manitoga/Russel Wright Design Center will fund the creation of permanent galleries for works by American ceramic artist George Ohr and industrial designer Russel Wright, respectively. The Cornell Fine Arts Museum at Rollins College will prepare its American art holdings for installation and use as educational resources, while the Amon Carter Museum will complete a reinterpretation and reinstallation of its permanent collection.
The Luce Foundation is pleased to announce the first three grants awarded through the Luce Initiative on Southeast Asia (LuceSEA). LuceSEA, a multi-year grants competition, aims to strengthen the study of Southeast Asia in American higher education by providing resources for the creation of models, strategies and partnerships that both bolster existing program structures and take them in new directions, contributing in the process to institution- and field-building.
Two of the awards support multi-institutional collaborations to develop scholarly infrastructure and resources. The first, to Ohio University on behalf of the Committee on Research Materials on Southeast Asia, is for the Southeast Asia Digital Library. The second, to the University of Wisconsin Foundation on behalf of the Southeast Asian Language Council, will fund a series of activities to professionalize language teaching through training workshops for instructors and materials development projects. The third award, to the University of California, Santa Cruz, will support SEACOAST: The Southeast Asian Coastal Interactions Initiative. Drawing on UCSC’s strengths in coastal studies and interdisciplinary work, the program will seed a new faculty position in environmental history, foster research collaborations among humanists, social scientists, and natural scientists to explore the histories and ongoing transformations of Southeast Asian coastal land and seascapes, and expand curricular offerings on the region.
The three grants awarded through LuceSEA are accompanied by five Responsive Grants on topics ranging from the deep past to current events, with particular attention to China. The Asia Program’s emphasis on Asia-focused teaching and research can be seen in grants to the University of Washington for the publication of state-of-the-art translations of foundational texts of Chinese civilization; to Duke University in support of two conferences that will gather junior and senior scholars to examine issues of concern to the field of Chinese political science; and to the American Council of Learned Societies for the eighth year of the Program in China Studies, which provides grants and fellowships to promote and sustain excellence in research on China.
A grant to the Asia Society will renew support for the online magazine ChinaFile, which contributes to informed public conversation about China through original reporting and analysis. Finally, during a period of rising tensions and uncertainty in U.S.-Asia relations, the National Committee on American Foreign Policy will continue policy dialogues among U.S. and Asian policy specialists through a grant for the Forum on Asia Pacific Security.
The Higher Education Program awarded two grants that reflect its commitment to innovative, community-engaged scholarship. In partnership with the American Museum of Natural History, the University of Connecticut will organize an exhibition and public education initiative that encourages audiences to consider how they evaluate and assert claims about what is true. A project at Colorado State University’s Public Lands History Center seeks to research, collect, and share the untold stories of the United States’ national parks and other public lands.
Finally, a third grant to the Society of Women Engineers will provide renewed support for the Academic Leadership for Women in Engineering (ALWE) programs, which introduce women engineers to potential careers in academic leadership through skills development and mentorship opportunities.
Examining a wide range of issues and geographic regions, the seven projects awarded grants by the Henry R. Luce Initiative on Religion in International Affairs demonstrate an ongoing dedication to bringing more nuanced, contextualized understandings of religion to wider publics.
A project at the London School of Economics will examine the impact of the sectarian quota system adopted in Iraq after the fall of Saddam Hussein, in which senior political offices are allocated on the basis of religious and ethnic identities. The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace will investigate the transformations of Islamic institutions including mosques, universities, charities and media outlets, both in authoritarian regimes, which are exerting control over their clerical establishments, and in countries wracked by civil war and conflict, where Islamic institutions have become increasingly politicized, militarized, and captured by rival sectarian groups.
Two grants support research on migration: the International Crisis Group will study Russian Muslim migration in several countries in Europe and Turkey, and a project at American University will examine the role of religion in environmental displacement and migration in Latin America and the Caribbean.
To foster connections across scholarly and media communities, a grant to the American Council of Learned Societies will fund collaborations between scholars of religion and journalists through institutional grants and fellowships. The University of California, Irvine will expand a project on critical perspectives on religion and humanitarianism in Africa by building an online education platform for aid workers and hosting workshops to encourage exchange among scholars, NGOs, and the media. Finally, American Abroad Media will produce a series of podcasts and radio documentaries on the religious journey of Muhammad Ali, perhaps the most famous Muslim in American history.
Through an annual competition, the Theology Program awards grants to research universities for projects that advance public scholarship on religion and theology. This year’s six grant recipients reflect the Program’s emphases on promoting public engagement and supporting the next generation of scholars, teachers, and public intellectuals.
Employing theology as a tool for critical reflection and analysis, Arizona State University will establish a collaborative space in which scholars and journalists can jointly deliberate and sharpen their abilities to speak publicly about truth. A project at Rice University aims to amplify the voices of women in public conversations about theology, while a grant to the University of California, Riverside will support a collaborative, interdisciplinary project on religion and sexual abuse.
The University of Alabama will organize an annual working group for early-career scholars of religion in America that focuses on research, teaching, and public scholarship. A grant to the University of Texas will support a collaboration among faculty, students, and community partners to explore and document the religious diversity of Texas, and a project based at Villanova University will support a network of scholars working at the intersection of religion and politics.