Humanist William Joyce at the 2017 Bright Lights Awards Dinner in Baton Rouge.

LEH Calls for Nominations for 2018 Humanities Awards

Do you know a person or organization working to sustain, study, or reinvent the humanities in Louisiana? The Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities is now accepting public nominations for the 2018 Humanities Awards. Since 1985, the LEH has honored Louisianans who have made outstanding contributions to the study and understanding of the humanities. Awardees will be honored at the April 2018 Bright Lights Awards Dinner in New Orleans.

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.

Nominations must be received in the LEH office no later than 5 p.m. December 15, and should be addressed to: Humanities Awards Committee, Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, 938 Lafayette St., Suite 300, New Orleans, LA  70113. Nominations also may be faxed to LEH (attention to Chair, Humanities Awards Committee) at 504-529-2358 or emailed to restovic@leh.org.

Award categories include:

  • Lifetime Contribution to the Humanities
  • Humanities Documentary Film of the Year
  • Michael P. Smith Documentary Photography
  • Humanities Book of the Year
  • Museum Exhibition of the Year
  • “Light Up for Literacy”

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.

The Humanities Awards Committee will select nominees who 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.

Awards criteria include:

  • Lifetime Contributions: Honors citizens who have supported and been involved in public appreciation of issues central to the humanities. The 2017 winner of this award was Susan Tucker of Tulane University, an author, editor, and archivist who has produced and supported a breadth of scholarship that has broadened the rich history and literature of Louisiana.
  • 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. The 2017 winner was photographer Eric Waters of New Orleans.
  • Humanities Documentary Film of the Year: Awarded to the documentary film that best exemplifies scholarship on Louisiana topics or by Louisiana documentary filmmakers. Last year, this award went to Small Town Rage, by David Hylan and Raydra Hall of Shreveport.
  • Humanities Book of the Year: Awarded to the book that best exemplifies scholarship on Louisiana topics or by Louisiana writers. Receiving awards in 2017 were Teche: A History of Louisiana’s Most Famous Bayou by Shane K. Bernard, an extraordinary engagement with the colorful history of a storied Louisiana inland waterway; and Hard Scrabble to Hallelujah, Volume 1: Legacies of Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana by Christopher Everette Cenac with Claire Domangue Joller. Books must be published between December 15, 2016 and December 15, 2017.
  • 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 Louisiana Center for the Book in the State Library of Louisiana and the Library of Congress. The 2017 award went to Richard Louth, professor of English at Southeastern Louisiana University and Founding Director of the Southeastern Louisiana Writing Project.
  • Museum Exhibition of the Year: This is the first year for this award, which will recognize an exhibition held during calendar year 2017 that brought new insights to our understanding of the state, its artists, and/or its history.

For additional information about the annual humanities awards, contact LEH President Miranda Restovic at restovic@leh.org.

View a list of awardees since 1985