Umass Professor Tapped For Humanities Board

Dartmouth, MA- The University of Massachusetts announced today that Dr. Frank F. Sousa, Associate Professor of Portuguese and Director of the Center for Portuguese Studies and Culture at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, has been elected to serve a three-year term on the board of directors of the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities.

UMASS PROFESSOR TAPPED FOR HUMANITIES BOARD 

Dartmouth, MA – The University of Massachusetts announced today that Dr. Frank F. Sousa, Associate Professor of Portuguese and Director of the Center for Portuguese Studies and Culture at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, has been elected to serve a three-year term on the board of directors of the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities. 

Dr. Sousa was the first chairperson and founder of the UMass Dartmouth Department of Portuguese. He is the author of O Segredo de Eça: ideologia e ambiguidade (1996), and has received numerous awards and fellowships, including two Fulbrights awards and special recognition from the Government of Portugal for the promotion of Portuguese language and culture in the United States. Dr, Sousa is also the director of the academic journal, Portuguese Literary & Culltural Studies and the General Editor of Portuguese in the America Series. 

UMass Dartmouth Chancellor Jean F. MacCormack said, “ The entire campus takes pride in Dr. Sousa’s election to the board of directors of the prestigious Foundation for the Humanities. His personal involvement with the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities demonstrates how the faculty at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth dedicate their intellectual resources for the betterment of our society.” 

The Foundation for the Humanities is the state-based affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, a federal agency created by Congress in 1964 to foster and support scholarly research, education, preservation and public engagement with the humanities. 

Its board consists of 25 members drawn from across the state. Approximately half the members are professional humanists – scholars in the humanities, educators or administrators at cultural institutions in the state. The remaining members are broadly representative of business, government, and community life. 

The Foundation’s mandate is to increase public understanding, appreciation and use of the humanities in Massachusetts. In the language of the authorizing legislation, the Foundation was created to “demonstrate the relevance of the humanities to the current conditions of our national life.” The Foundation for the Humanities does this primarily by conducting programs and providing grants and services in support of community-based projects that bring the perspectives of history, literature, philosophy and the other disciplines in the humanities to bear on topics of interest to the residents of Massachusetts. 

Project formats include public conferences, lecture series and panel discussions; library reading and discussion programs; oral history projects; museum exhibitions; film series and theatre productions; summer institutes for public school teachers; and radio, television and film productions. 

With an annual budget of $1.2 million, the Foundation sponsors and provides grant support for a wide variety of humanities programs across the Commonwealth. In southeastern Massachusetts, recent grants have been awarded to ArtWorks! in New Bedford for a multidisciplinary project exploring the character of Acushnet Avenue in New Bedford’s North End, to the Martha’s Vineyard Historical Society in Edgartown for an oral history project involving elderly Vineyard residents, and to Plimoth Plantation for a brochure to accompany a new exhibition on the history of Thanksgiving. 

In April of 2002, the Foundation for the Humanities and the Center for Portuguese Studies and Culture organized and co-sponsored a day-long symposium at the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston entitled “A Tribute to José Saramago: Contemporary Literature from the Portuguese-speaking World.” The program brought Nobel Prize-winning novelist José Saramago to Boston for the first time. 

With help from the United Way of Massachusetts Bay, the Foundation sponsors “Understanding Islam,” a reading and discussion program which offers the general reader an opportunity to explore the roots of Islam and some of the most important issues facing Muslims across the world today. The Fall River Public Library will host “Understanding Islam,” beginning in November. 

The Humanities Foundation, which also receives significant funding from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, maintains offices in Northampton and Watertown, and can be reached at (413) 584-8440 or on the web at www.mfh.org. 


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