UC Davis Wins $250,000 in History Grants

Topics: Chinese American Experience and Medieval City

Chinatown San Francisco
San Francisco's Chinatown in 1894. A History Project workshop to study Chinese history in California is one of the projects that received an NEH grant. (Getty Images)

Quick Summary

  • The History Project, which provides training to K-12 teachers in California, will develop workshop on the Chinese American experience
  • Art history professor Heghnar Zeitlian Watenpaugh gains additional support for her study of the medieval Armenian “City of 1,000 Churches”: Ani
  • Watenpaugh is grateful for the NEH Public Scholar program in a time of pandemic when question marks loom over the future of the arts and the humanities

The National Endowment for the Humanities recently awarded two grants to the University of California, Davis — one to advance kindergarten-through-12th-grade instruction on the Chinese experience in California history and the other to support an art history professor in her study of a medieval Armenian city.

The NEH announced 238 grants totaling $30 million on July 29, including a total of $250,000 to The History Project, part of the Department of History, and Professor Heghnar Zeitlian Watenpaugh. NEH grants support the preservation of historic collections, humanities exhibitions and documentaries, scholarly research, and educational opportunities for teachers.

The History Project, which brings together scholars and teachers to improve history-social science education, received a $190,000 grant to present a Landmarks of American History and Cultures Workshop. The NEH funded 11 such projects.

Robyn Rodriguea headshot
Stacey Greer headshot

“Building Community in California: The Chinese American Experience” will provide instruction for 72 California schoolteachers. Robyn Rodriguez, professor and chair of the UC Davis Department of Asian American Studies, will serve as academic director and co-director of the workshop project with Stacey Greer, director of The History Project.

With an earlier NEH grant, The History Project provided teacher training on the Transcontinental Railroad and its role in California history, holding a workshop that traveled to Northern California railroad sites.

Watenpaugh received a $60,000 NEH Public Scholar Award — one of only 25 given by the NEH — to support her research for a book about Ani, the "City of 1,000 Churches."

Heghnar Watenpaugh headshot

“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 last year's award-winning 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.”

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 received a Guggenheim Fellowship to support her work on the book.

The History Project is one of several History Projects across the state that are part of the statewide California History-Social Science Project and a member of the larger network of the discipline-specific California Subject Matter Projects commissioned by the state Legislature.

Karen Nikos-Rose contributed to this report.

Media Resources

Jeffrey Day, College of Letters and Science, 530-219-8258, jaaday@ucdavis.edu

Karen Nikos-Rose, News and Media Relations, 530-219-5472, kmnikos@ucdavis.edu

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