American Studies Institute Grant
BiNational Fulbright Commission—Egypt
Ideals and Realities
of Civil Society in the U.S.A.
Please note: This grant now has its own home page, hosted by the oIP, located at:
In 2004, the Office of International
Programs was awarded a grant from the Binational Fulbright Commission in Egypt to carry out an American Studies
Institute in Cairo this winter. With the participation of JMU faculty members Philip Bigler, Mark Facknitz, Howard Lubert and Stephen Reich, as well as Elizabeth Chew from the Monticello Foundation, Principal Investigator Lee Sternberger and Project Director Lorie Merrow from the oIP developed the proposal, which includes online work before and after the week-long Insitute in Cairo.
Ideals and Realities of Civil Society in the U.S.A. provides students the opportunity to examine the ideals of the founding fathers in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, and how those ideals have worked in, with and on American society over time. We moved from the founding era to focus on the breadth of the twentieth century, bringing out relevant contemporary issues. Our sub-themes will consider social effects of war, alternative voices in a pluralistic society, injustice, conservatism, and American art and architecture.
Our faculty reinforced the subject matter by modeling various teaching methodologies, and engaging in commentary on each Part in order to emphasize the perspectives of their different disciplines. Our faculty also represent differing teaching philosophies which were discussed with the Institute students. James Madison University is a leader in teacher training and trains teachers through many units of the university. Within our faculty team we had three members with substantial experience in teacher training, including the 1998 (secondary level) National Teacher of the Year in the United States. We also brought tremendous online resources and knowledge of those resources to this project. The James Madison Center and Monticello host web sites containing plentiful teacher resources. James Madison University also hosts the Madison Digital Image Database (MDID), which contains thousands of images in all art media and will be available to Institute students. Our art history faculty member used this, orienting our students to its use, as well. In addition, we designed a follow-on program to provide support to, and maintain communication with, our students after the Institute.
This project was administered through the Office of International Programs, which seeks to widen the availability of international experiences to our faculty. Our team of Institute faculty were willing to take on this project for the opportunity to travel and the challenge of teaching overseas to a different student population and in a new format. The Office of International Programs will provide the support that makes it possible to carry out an excellent project. The dedication of our faculty and the resources of the oIP and James Madison University create an excellent prospect for a very successful American Studies Institute in Cairo.