Frequently Asked Questions

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  • Do I receive credit for participating in an NEH summer program?
    No, the NEH does not provide or arrange for such credits. On completion of an NEH Summer Seminar or Institute, NEH Summer Scholars will receive a certificate indicating their participation.
  • What is the goal of this project?
    This seminar seeks to provide a vital intellectual framework for educators from across the nation – especially those who do not live and/or work in urban centers – seeking to challenge their students to think critically around how questions of literary and cinematic form and genre are related to the particulars of identity, place, and migration. We intend for the seminar to provide important professional development for instructors who are seeking to ensure that their knowledge and resources reflect ongoing demographic and literary/cinematic transformations in twenty-first century America. The seminar will provide both a rigorous interdisciplinary framework for how to consider the complex political, social, cultural and economic dynamics that define contemporary Asian America, as well as an introduction to many literary and moving image texts – both canonical and contemporary – which use narrative, story and character to illustrate them. Through engaged discussions, site visits, artists talks, dialogues with community organizers and multi-disciplinary projects which capture the possibilities of how creativity can function in the classroom, we hope to create a dynamic, open-ended conversation for thinking about race, culture and community, which will be sustained as an online resource for others with an interest in teaching or learning more about this subject.


  • Is there a stipend provided?
    Teachers selected to participate as NEH Summer Scholars in two-week projects will receive $2,100. Stipends are intended to help cover travel expenses to and from the project location, research expenses, and “ordinary” living expenses (housing and food). Stipends are taxable. The first check (1/2 of the stipend) will be waiting for participants when they arrive. The second check will come in the second half of the project. Please be aware that the cost of living in New York City is extremely high. Applicants to all projects should note that supplements will not be given in cases where the stipend is insufficient to cover all expenses. We suggest you apply for supplemental outside funding from school districts, unions, professional organizations, or the like.
  • Is housing provided?
    IMPORTANT NOTE: Because of the scarcity of affordable short-term housing in the city, we will this winter be required to place a sizable non-refundable deposit to secure space for our scholars, so we will need to know as soon as feasible if accepted applicants will require housing. Working closely with universities in the area we are in the process of locating relatively affordable housing for our Summer Scholars, most likely dormitories that meet our standards of cleanliness, convenience, and safety. We will try to ensure that all participants’ housing provides for kitchen facilities. Any housing we select will provide air conditioning, since July can be a hot and humid time in the city. Summer Scholars will most likely be required to provide their own sheets and towels, and should be prepared for the fact that they may share a floor or building with other, non-NEH groups, including undergraduates, graduate students, and non-students who may be in New York for summer school, conferences, or any kind of co-curricular or non-academic activity. Note that we cannot provide housing any earlier than Sunday, July 5, or any later than Saturday, July 18, 2015. New York offers a challenging but dynamic and richly rewarding experience. Please be prepared that dormitories may be small, expensive when compared to comparable housing in your region, and not completely insulated from street noise. Summer Scholars may be required to take public transportation to/from their housing, the Hunter College campus, and any off-campus seminar sites (e.g. the Museum of Chinese in America, the Asian American Writer’s Workshop, Jackson Heights, etc.). MetroCards, which afford each participant unlimited access to the city’s 24-hour subway and bus system, will be provided to each Summer Scholar.
  • Is food provided?
    Short answer: No. Longer answer: Light snacks and beverages may be provided during some of the seminar meetings. Additionally, some of the planned group meals that are part of the seminar curriculum will be funded by the organizers. Participants must handle all other meals on their own. Dining out in New York City can be expensive. A suggested daily lunch budget is $10-15. Dinner entrees range from about $13 at a takeout joint to $15-30 at a casual restaurant and $30+ for finer dining. In Manhattan, even national chain restaurants (e.g., McDonald’s, Olive Garden) often have higher prices than elsewhere in the country. Cooking facilities in the dormitories should allow participants to prepare light lunches to bring to some, but not all, seminar meetings. Please inform us immediately upon acceptance if you have any food allergies and/or dietary restrictions we should be aware of.
  • Is transportation provided?
    No, you will need to arrange your own transportation to/from NYC and to/from the airport or train/bus station and your housing: transportation costs should be calculated based on your $2,100 stipend and weighed against the possibility that housing for two weeks could run quite high. As mentioned in #3, above, an unlimited MetroCard will be provided for you to use during your stay. This non-refundable card will allow you to ride NYC’s 24-hour subway and bus system. Please keep in mind that the underground subway system requires taking many staircases (escalators are frequently out of order); it is often not easy to navigate for those with injuries or physical disabilities. A note on getting around in NYC: The American Podiatric Medical Association and Prevention magazine voted New York City the BEST WALKING CITY, 2006, and we hope you will all take the opportunity to enjoy the city streets, parks, and open squares. Hunter is located two cross-town blocks from Central Park, an ideal area to relax and observe New York life when time/weather permits. As a group, we will conduct walking tours of select NYC neighborhoods, and we strongly encourage participants to bring very comfortable clothes and walking shoes, a refillable water bottle, sunblock, and umbrellas/rain jackets. While the streets can be hot, the subways and other indoor spaces are occasionally freezing (the trains are air-conditioned) so please bring a light layer that may come to use indoors.
  • Do I need to purchase the readings?
    No. Including the seminar’s three novels, all assigned readings will be made available to participants in advance of the start of the seminar, on a password-protected site and in hard-copy readers sent to them.
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