The History Project and Art History Professor Win National Endowment for the Humanities Grants

San Francisco's Chinatown
San Francisco's Chinatown is part of California's rich Chinese American history.

UC Davis’ The History Project and art history professor Heghnar Zeitlian Watenpaugh both received awards from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). The awards are two of 238 given to humanities projects nationwide, totaling $30 million.

The History Project provides professional learning for teachers in the greater Sacramento region by bringing together scholars and teachers to improve history-social science education. The project received a NEH grant of $190,000 to present a Landmarks of American History and Cultures Workshop titled, “Building Community in California: The Chinese American Experience,” for 72 California school teachers. Robyn Rodriguez, professor and chair of Asian American studies, will serve as academic director and co-director of the workshop project with Stacey Greer, director of The History Project.

Watenpaugh has been awarded a $60,000 NEH Public Scholar Award to support her research for a book about the medieval Armenian city of Ani. The Public Scholar program supports the creation of well-researched nonfiction books in the humanities written for the broad public. 

"This has been my goal for many years — to publish scholarship that is engaging and readable and that reaches multiple publics," said Watenpaugh, author of the award-winning 2019 book, The Missing Pages: The Modern Life of a Medieval Manuscript, from Genocide to Justice.. "At a time of pandemic when question marks loom over the future of the arts and the humanities, it is all the more important for the NEH Public Scholar program to support the publication of books that connect the most advanced research with the broad public."

Called the “City of 1,001 Churches,” Ani was one of the world’s largest cities between the 10th and 13th centuries, with many architecturally significant buildings. The book will expand upon Watenpaugh’s 2014 article, “Preserving the Medieval City of Ani: Cultural Heritage Between Contest and Reconciliation.” Earlier this year, Watenpaugh also received a Guggenheim Fellowship to support her work on the book.

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