LEH Humanities Awards

Since 1985, the LEH has honored Louisianans who have made outstanding contributions to the study and understanding of the humanities.

The “humanities,” as defined by Congress, include the study of literature, history, philosophy, modern and classical languages, linguistics, archaeology, jurisprudence, art history and criticism, ethics, comparative religion, and those disciplines of the social sciences employing historical or philosophical approaches such as cultural anthropology or social theory.

2019 Humanist of the Year, Darrell Bourque. Photo by Akasha Rabut.

Award Categories

Lifetime Contributions
Honors individuals who have supported and been involved in public appreciation of issues central to the humanities.

Michael P. Smith Documentary Photography
Honors documentary photographers whose subject matter exemplifies Louisiana topics and aesthetics. Nominations may be for a complete body of work or for a single project.

Humanities Documentary Film of the Year
Awarded to the documentary film released in the previous calendar year (2019) that best exemplifies scholarship on Louisiana topics or by Louisiana documentary filmmakers.

Humanities Book of the Year
Awarded to the book published between November 1, 2018, and October 1, 2019, that best exemplifies scholarship on Louisiana topics or by Louisiana writers.

Light Up for Literacy
Honors individuals who have made significant and lasting contributions to literacy efforts in the state. The award is presented in partnership with the State Library of Louisiana’s Center for the Book.

Museum Exhibition of the Year
Recognizes an exhibition held during the prior calendar year (2019) that brought new insights to our understanding of the state, its artists, and/or its history.

Nominations for 2020

Individuals, institutions, or organizations may submit nominations. Individuals, however, may not nominate themselves. Letters of nomination should not exceed two pages and should detail specific accomplishments that qualify the nominee for the award, in particular, their contributions to our understanding of the state and the humanities. Whenever possible, curriculum vitae for the nominee and other letters of support should accompany the letter of nomination.

Additional Requirements

Humanities Book of the Year
Include three copies of the book in the nomination packet.

Humanities Documentary Film of the Year
Include a screening link.

Michael P. Smith Documentary Photography Award
Include digital or print samples of the artist’s work as well as a list of exhibitions and/or publications in which the work has appeared.

Book of the year nominations and supporting materials are due by 5 p.m. on October 1, 2019.
Documentary film nominations are due by 5 p.m on October 28, 2019.
Nominations for all other categories must be received no later than 5 p.m. on October 15, 2019.

All nominations should be addressed to

Humanities Awards Committee
Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities
938 Lafayette Street, Suite 300
New Orleans, Louisiana 70113

Nominations also may be emailed to greenwald@leh.org.

The Humanities Awards Committee will select nominees that best exemplify one or more of the above categories. No single humanities area will receive primary consideration, but the nominees’ activities must reflect one or more disciplines in the humanities. For additional information about the annual LEH Humanities Awards, contact LEH Vice President of Content Erin Greenwald at greenwald@leh.org or visit the LEH website www.leh.org.