Carroll College Receives Prestigious NEH Grant

April 8, 2016

HELENA – The National Endowment for the Humanities has awarded funding to Carroll College through their highly selective Enduring Questions grant program.

Carroll faculty members, Dr. Soumitree Gupta, assistant professor of English, and Dr. Gerardo Rodriguez, assistant professor of theology, are the co-recipients of the grant. Their Enduring Questions: Pilot Course Grant will be used to develop a course over the next two years on race and identity, combining literary and theological narratives.

Images of Dr. Soumitree Gupta and Dr. Gerardo Rodriguez

Dr. Soumitree Gupta and Dr. Gerardo Rodriguez

The NEH Enduring Questions grant program, as explained in the grant application, “supports faculty members in the preparation of a new course on a fundamental concern of human life as addressed by the humanities. The course should encourage undergraduates and professors “to join together in a deep and sustained program of reading in order to encounter influential ideas, works, and thinkers over the centuries.”

“The intent of our course is to examine representations of race in U.S. and global contexts from literary and theological perspectives, with the goal of engaging students to consider how the worldviews of oppressor and oppressed impact relationships between racial and ethnic communities in ancient, colonial, and post-colonial contexts,” explained Dr. Gupta.

“We are very excited to explore the ways in which our disciplines of literature and theology intersect on a pressing issue of today's society and provide greater depth into topics of race that are integral to both disciplines. This is a great opportunity to explore pedagogical methods that can successfully guide students to participate in the dialogue on race and identity in ethical, creative and meaningful ways,” said Dr. Rodriguez.

The National Endowment for the Humanities, an independent federal agency created in 1965, is one of the largest funders of humanities programs in the United States. The Endowment awards grants to top-rated proposals examined by panels of independent, external reviewers. Typically, NEH funds only 8%-15% of the proposals submitted. The $28,000 grant is the first NEH grant awarded directly to faculty of Carroll College.

“NEH grants are highly competitive and involve a rigorous peer-review and selection process to ensure that the projects represent the highest level of humanities research and public engagement,” said William D. Adams, chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

“We are extremely proud of Drs. Rodriguez and Gupta’s achievement in securing this funding from such a a prestigious organization as the National Endowment for the Humanities,” said Dr. Colin Irvine, vice president of academic affairs. “The work this grant represents further fosters the college’s desire to take a leadership role in supporting scholarly study among our students and promoting civil and sustained dialogue in our community about contemporary issues that impact our town, our state, and our region,” continued Irvine. 


Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at: