National Endowment for the Humanities awards grant to TWU faculty

April 14, 2021 — DENTON — The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) today announced that it awarded a Humanities Connections Grant of $99,426 to Texas Woman’s University. The grant will support the very first interdisciplinary and experiential learning initiative to integrate the history of Quakertown into courses at TWU. It will also enable the future development of a digital humanities archive of Quakertown-related research and reflection, which the project co-directors aim to connect to a public platform that will promote community engagement with Quakertown’s history for decades to come.

The Co-PIs of the project are Dr. Gretchen Busl (English), Dr. Danielle Phillips-Cunningham (Multicultural Women’s and Gender Studies), and Julie Libersat, MFA (Visual Arts). Drs. David Gardner (Mathematics and Computer Science) and Sarah Gamblin (Dance) are key faculty who will also work closely on the grant project.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the dissolution of Quakertown, a thriving Black neighborhood founded in the 1880s as a freedmen community just south of TWU’s campus. In 1921, TWU’s president, alongside local white civic leaders and women’s clubs, led a campaign to pass a bond vote that displaced over sixty families and black-owned businesses to create a municipal park and site for the city hall, civic center, public library, and public pool that remain in Denton to this very day.

The NEH grant will support summer pedagogical workshops with stipends for faculty fellows across academic disciplines. Workshop facilitators will guide faculty fellows in best practices in experiential learning, place-based pedagogy, and arts-based research and in how to responsibly integrate Quakertown’s history into their courses. Students, with guidance from faculty fellows, will document, interpret, and contextualize the events that took place in and around TWU’s campus one hundred years ago and connect them to our current social climate. In student-led town hall forums, the university and larger Denton communities and policymakers will engage in dialogue about the history of Quakertown and pathways for addressing its impact on community members today.

Stories like those of Quakertown are especially critical in this unique moment when the country and the world are steeped in significant conversations about past racial injustices that continue to influence the present. Support from the NEH Humanities Connections Grant will increase the visibility of Quakertown’s history and its important lessons for today.

The call for faculty fellows is forthcoming.

For more information, read the NEH’s official press release and view the complete list of 2021 NEH Humanities Connections Grant recipients.

About the National Endowment for the Humanities

Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at:

Media Contact

Staff Reporter

Page last updated 4:24 PM, April 19, 2021