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Wintersession at Dumbarton Oaks

Culture and Philanthropy in America

Philanthropy has always played an important role in the American public sphere, and the present moment is no exception. Few cities have had their cultural landscape shaped by philanthropy to the extent seen by the nation’s capital, which thus provides a stimulating space for reflection on philanthropy’s goals and impact. This nine-day course will offer students historical and contemporary perspectives on the history and influence of philanthropy in America, with an emphasis on the domains of art, culture, and civil society. Daily seminars will be complemented by guest lectures and trips to museums and cultural institutions in Washington, DC.

The course will feature guest seminars by Stanley Katz (Professor, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University) and John Wetenhall (Associate Professor of Museum Studies at George Washington University and Director of the George Washington University Museum). In addition, students will have the opportunity to participate in behind-the-scenes tours of the city’s unparalleled museums. All course participants will contribute to a flagship digital humanities initiative at Dumbarton Oaks by researching and writing an entry for the Mapping Cultural Philanthropy project.

Wintersession enrollment is limited to eight students. Both students at the beginning of their college careers who are interested in exploring new fields, and more advanced students contemplating future careers in the cultural, humanities, and nonprofit sectors, are encouraged to apply. All students will be expected to complete course readings and submit a final entry for the Mapping Cultural Philanthropy project. Interested candidates should send (1) a résumé and (2) a one-page statement of interest to by November 1, 2018.

Dumbarton Oaks will reimburse travel costs (economy round-trip airfare or equivalent up to a maximum of $400), cover course materials and class trips, and provide accommodations and weekday lunch for the duration of the course. Students will be expected to arrive at Dumbarton Oaks by 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, January 9, 2019, and will depart after 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, January 17.