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The Heart of the Matter: The Humanities and Social Sciences for a vibrant, competitive, and secure nation, the report of the American Academy’s Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences, called on “parents, teachers, scholars, the media, and the public at large to join a cohesive and constructive national discussion” about the importance of the humanities and social sciences in American life. This document is proof that such a discussion has taken root and indeed has grown in communities and institutions across the nation.
It is also proof of the extraordinary commitment of the members of the Humanities Commission (see pages 9–10 for the complete list of members). This entire effort was propelled by their ideas, their enthusiasm, and their willingness to do the hard work of spreading the Commission’s message. And the Academy gives special thanks to Cochairs Richard H. Brodhead, President of Duke University, and John W. Rowe, retired Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Exelon Corporation, for their steadfast leadership.
We also thank the members of Congress who recognized the need for a new conversation about the humanities and social sciences and called upon the American Academy to organize the Commission: Senators Lamar Alexander (R-Tennessee) and Mark Warner (D-Virginia) and Representatives Tom Petri (R-Wisconsin) and David Price (D-North Carolina).
Listed in the pages that follow are dozens of organizations that dedicated time and resources to The Heart of the Matter and its mission. We are grateful for their interest and collaboration, and we hope they have been as encouraged by the results as we have been. Several key partners have been essential to our efforts: the Association of American Universities, the Federation of State Humanities Councils, the state humanities councils, the National Humanities Alliance, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
Many Academy staff have assisted in this important effort, including John Tessitore, Peter Kardon, Hilary Dobel, Erin O’Brien, Judith Polgar, Phyllis Bendell, and Nathan Wolff. I also note the contributions of Leslie Berlowitz, who initiated this work.
Finally, the Academy gratefully acknowledges the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation—the primary funder of the Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences—and Carnegie Corporation of New York.
Jonathan F. Fanton
President, American Academy of Arts and Sciences