Gay scholars join in attack on the NEH

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Other historians are joining Marc Stein's attack on the fairness of the National Endowment for the Humanities, claiming that the NEH discriminates against queer studies scholarship.

Stein's attack published on HNN and presented as a paper at the American Historical Association this past weekend was widely discussed at the history meeting, with other gay scholars saying that he had demonstrated that their work was being unfairly evaluated and excluded.

“It’s absolutely appalling,” said Leisa D. Meyer, chair of the AHA’s Committee on Gay and Lesbian History and a professor of history and women’s studies at the College of William and Mary. “It’s really dangerous the way the NEH is held hostage.”

In an interview Sunday, Erik Lokkesmoe, a spokesman for the endowment, said that Stein’s assumptions were incorrect and that there was no bias against work in gay studies. “The only litmus test we have is excellence,” he said, adding that he would encourage gay studies scholars to apply for NEH grants. His message to these scholars: “Please call our program officers. We welcome your applications. They will get full consideration.”

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