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From the National History Center column of the January 2010 issue of Perspectives on History

Center Receives $1.457 Million Mellon Foundation Grant to Continue Decolonization Seminars

NHC Staff, January 2010

Seminar participantsThe National History Center has received a new grant of $1.457 million from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to enable the center to continue through summer 2015 its highly successful international summer seminars focusing on decolonization in the 20th century. The four-week seminars, four of which have been conducted so far (and which, along with a fifth seminar slated to start on July 11, 2010, have all been supported by previous grants from the Mellon Foundation), have been instrumental in creating a new international field of knowledge. This targeted study of the dissolution of the colonial empires and the lasting effects of their transformations has resulted in intensive scholarly exchange among the participants and the seminar leaders, and has produced a new body of scholarship devoted to the subject matter. The new grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, which will help to sustain the historical analysis on this important subject as well as the work and careers of the young historians, is also an implicit testament to the intellectual significance and impact of the seminar series.

The seminars, which are held in collaboration with the Library of Congress and the American Historical Association, will continue to be held in Washington, D.C., in the Library of Congress from summer 2011 through the summer of 2015 and will bring historians from around the world who are at the beginning of their careers to examine the global phenomena of the collapse of the empires and colonial systems.

The seminars provide opportunities for the selected participants both to conduct research in the rich repositories of the Washington, D.C., area and to discuss their evolving research projects with the other participants and the seminar leaders. The participants (who are all selected through a rigorous screening process) receive reimbursement of travel expenses, subsidized accommodation, and a small stipend for daily expenses.

Having just completed the fourth seminar, which ran July 5 through August 1, 2009, Wm. Roger Louis, founding director of the National History Center and faculty leader of the decolonization seminars, stated “The renewal of Mellon Foundation grant is an exhilarating vote of confidence for those who have worked very hard over the last four years to make the decolonization seminar a success, above all the seminar participants themselves. The National History Center is proud to have helped the research and writing of young historians working in an emerging field of historical knowledge.”