July 1, 2010

The Role of the Humanities

Host Marcia Franklin talks with Jim Leach, the chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, about civility in our national discourse and the importance of studying the humanities.

President Obama appointed Leach to his post in July, 2009. The former 15-term Republican congressman from Iowa has made a 50-state "civility tour" a priority, saying that he's concerned about the tone and tenor of political debate over such issues as health care reform.

In addition to the issue of civility, Chairman Leach and Franklin discuss his views on why it's important for Americans to study the humanities, which are often the first courses that institutions of higher learning cut as they trim budgets.

The NEH, an independent federal agency established in 1965, has an appropriation of more than $160 million dollars for the current budget year.

Most of that funding is distributed as grants to state humanities councils, scholars, schools, museums and libraries.