Enduring Questions

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Enduring Questions
National Endowment for the Humanities
CFDA No. 45.163

Application Deadline: Sept. 12, 2013

The NEH Enduring Questions grant program supports faculty members in the teaching and development of a new course that will foster intellectual community through the study of an enduring question. This question-driven course will encourage undergraduates and teachers to grapple with a fundamental concern of human life addressed by the humanities, and to join together in a deep and sustained program of reading in order to encounter influential thinkers over the centuries and into the present day.

What is an enduring question? The following list is neither prescriptive nor exhaustive but serves to illustrate. What is good government? Can war be just? What is friendship? What is evil? Are there universals in human nature? What are the origins of the universe?

In addition, please also consider the questions raised in the sample funded projects, which are available on the program resource page. You can find sample syllabi from funded courses here.Enduring questions are questions to which no discipline, field, or profession can lay an exclusive claim. In many cases they predate the formation of the academic disciplines themselves. Enduring questions can be tackled by reflective individuals regardless of their chosen vocations, areas of expertise, or personal backgrounds. They are questions that have more than one plausible or compelling answer. They have long held interest for young people, and they allow for a special, intense dialogue across generations.

The Enduring Questions grant program will help promote such dialogue in today’s undergraduate environment.The course is to be developed by one or more (up to four) faculty members at a single institution, but not team taught. Enduring Questions courses must be taught from a common syllabus and must be offered during the grant period at least twice by each faculty member involved in developing the course. The grant supports the work of faculty members in designing, preparing, and assessing the new course. It may also be used for ancillary activities that enhance faculty-student intellectual community, such as visits to museums and artistic or cultural events. An Enduring Questions course may be taught by faculty from any department or discipline in the humanities or by faculty outside the humanities (for example, astronomy, biology, economics, law, mathematics, medicine, or psychology), so long as humanities sources are central to the course.