Va. Tech, VFH Partnership Will Lead Effort
New Regional Humanities
Center Will Aim To Preserve South Atlantic Regions Colorful
February 26, 2002-- The University
of Virginia, Virginia Tech, and the Virginia Foundation for the
Humanities are joining forces to establish a center that has the
potential to preserve the South Atlantic region's colorful heritage
while also promoting tourism and economic development. The Southeastern
region-wide cultural consortium will aim to engage hundreds of communities,
universities, schools, private organizations, and governments in
preserving and celebrating local and regional identities and educating
the public about them. The presidents of the three institutions
announced details of the effort today.
the same chain stores and fast-food outlets dotting the landscape,
the same Hollywood movies playing in every town, and the same national
television programs in every home, the South Atlantic Regional Humanities
Center (SARHC) will work to keep the historic and diverse southeastern
United States from losing its distinctiveness.
by the National Endowment for the Humanities and governed by a region-wide
advisory board, SARHC will serve Florida, Georgia, North Carolina,
Puerto Rico, South Carolina, the Virgin Islands and Virginia with
a wide range of programs that focus on the promotion of regional
history and the study of regional cultures, said Virginia Tech President
Charles W. Steger. "This collaboration between the Virginia Foundation
for the Humanities, the University of Virginia, and Virginia Tech
will serve as a model for the rest of the region and the nation
as we pool resources to further the appreciation and knowledge of
the South Atlantic," he said.
center will be headquartered in Charlottesville, under management
by VFH, U.Va. and Virginia Tech, who were jointly awarded a grant
of $379,000 from NEH to establish the center after two-and-a-half
years of intensive planning and a competitive application process.
The grant must be matched by triple the amount in three years, with
80 percent earmarked for a permanent endowment.
South Atlantic, the region of our countrys earliest settlement,
holds a central place in our continuing national story," said
U.Va. President John T. Casteen III. "But the distinctiveness
of regional identity across the country seems to be receding everywhere.
To fail to recognize the very real influences of region in our lives
is to admit gaps in our knowledge of ourselves."
of eight regional centers being established around the country by
NEH, the South Atlantic center will use the regions extensive
cultural resources to develop a range of programs, publications,
and digital libraries for Internet research, said VFH president
Robert C. Vaughan, who will direct the center. "These will
address the history, folkways, languages and literature, archaeology
and architecture, arts and culture, and the technology and economy
of the region. Programs will be aimed at students of all ages and
teachers of all levels, as well travelers interested in cultural
tourism and anyone interested in the humanities and the region."
regional and local identities should also have economic benefits
by encouraging tourism and emphasizing the regions distinctive
qualities, Vaughan said.
of the three founding institutions is contributing faculty and staff,
fundraising, libraries, research centers and technology.
initial programs and research, as a result of ideas proposed in
planning forums that have already been held throughout the region,
will be on the following themes: settlement and migration; race
and identity; cultures and traditions; technology and social change;
economy and power; and landscape and environment. The center will
explore the encounter between Native Americans and Europeans, the
roots of the African slave trade, and the effects of various wars
including the Civil War, as well as the regions future as
a dynamic new economic and cultural center.
South Atlantic is farms and businesses, people and troubles brought
together by trade, the accidents of history, and the confluence
of oceans and mountains," said Andrew S. Chancey, the consortiums
assistant director and one of its chief organizers. "It overlaps
but is distinct from the South, the Chesapeake, the Caribbean and
Appalachia," he said, pointing out that it holds the coastline
of one of the countrys first place of European and African
settlement. The South Atlantic also links the North American continent
with the Caribbean islands and with centuries of trade and migration
with Europe, Africa and South America.
a world continually drawn together by travel, telecommunications,
mobility and a global economy, it is easy to overlook the importance
of local experiences to our heritage and daily lives," Chancey
said. "The South Atlantic Regional Humanities Center will aim
to keep this heritage vital and strong."
more information see the SARHC Web site under development at http://scholar.lib.vt.edu/SARHC/
Sheryl B. Hayes, (434) 924-3296