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Letter from the Director Regarding Proposal to Defund NEH

March 17, 2017

Senator Diane Feinstein            Senator Kamala D. Harris            Congresswoman Anna G. Eshoo
United States Senate                  United States Senate                    United States Congress
331 Hart Senate Office Bld.      331 Hart Senate Office Bld.         241 Cannon Building
Washington, DC 20510                Washington, DC 20510                 Washington, DC 20515

Dear Senator Feinstein, Senator Harris, Congresswoman Eshoo:

I am writing as the Director of the Stanford Humanities Center, one of the two largest humanities centers in the world, to object to President Trump’s proposal to defund the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Defunding the NEH would be a national tragedy, and I urge you to raise your voice in opposition. Research funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities over the last half century has yielded incalculable benefits to our society, from the blockbuster King Tut exhibition in 1976 to the moving Civil War documentary of Ken Burns to the revival of American Indian languages that are in danger of extinction.

The humanities nourish the soul of our nation. Now, more than ever, we must embrace the many qualities we share as human beings and as American citizens. By shining a light on our past, and by giving us a voice to talk to one another in the present, the humanities help us to explore who we are as a people, to know where we came from, and to chart where we might go in the future. They help us to understand who we are as unique individuals, but also who we are as a collective people. The humanities are essential to the fabric of our lives as Americans.

Sincerely yours,

Caroline Winterer

Director &
Anthony P. Meier Family Professor in the Humanities 
Stanford Humanities Center
Professor of History and, by courtesy, of Classics
424 Santa Teresa St.
Stanford University
Stanford, CA 94305 
(650) 723-3052