Row of colorful paperback books

Cleveland Humanities Collaborative’s summer seminar dates announced

The Cleveland Humanities Collaborative will host two offerings of its weeklong, intensive seminar for faculty, staff and graduate students. Alumni from prior cohorts will lead this year’s seminars, each of which will be centered on a text selected from the 2022 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award winners.

The seminars are expected to be held at Case Western Reserve University (but may become virtual if necessary); the first seminar will be held Monday, July 18, through Friday, July 22, and the second from Monday, Aug. 1, through Friday, Aug. 6.

Last year’s seminars focused on Natasha Trewethey’s haunting memoir Memorial Drive, and seminars this year will again spotlight a specific text selected from the class of 2022 winners. The seminar emphasizes dialogue and creates space for collaborative discussion of strategies for using Anisfield-Wolf texts in teaching, educational outreach, and community engagement. Seminar meetings will take place every day for five hours, with the opportunity for groups to continue working together through the year.

Each seminar will have two leaders from the following experts: 

  • Barbara Harris Combs, associate professor of sociology and criminal justice at Clark Atlanta University;
  • Michelle Rankins, assistant professor of English at Cuyahoga Community College;
  • Denise A. Harrison, professor of English and African Studies, Kent State University; and
  • Amanda D. King, founder and creative director of Shooting Without Bullets.

Participants may include:

  • Faculty from educational institutions in Northeast Ohio and from CWRU’s North Star Award Institutional Partners;
  • Advanced PhD students in Ohio and from North Star Institutional Partners; and
  • Full-time staff from Northeast Ohio educational, arts, and culture institutions.

Detailed information about how to apply to these seminars, the award-winning books, and participant expectations will be circulated in April, shortly after the Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards winners are announced. 

Application information will also be posted to the Cleveland Humanities Collaborative site at There is a $1,000 participation award.

About the Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards

In 1935, Edith Anisfield Wolf established what she initially called the John Anisfield Book Award to honor nonfiction books that furthered the cause of “race relations” (as she later wrote in her will), deepened our understanding of racism, and enhanced our appreciation of the rich diversity of human cultures.

At its founding, the prize took “race relations” to mean relations among Black, White and Jewish Americans. Yet, the award quickly broadened, recognizing books about immigrants and Native American histories.

Winners have included Nobel Laureates Ralph Bunche, Toni Morrison, Derek Walcott, Nadine Gordimer, Gunnar Myrdal and Wole Soyinka, along with other major literary figures such as Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston. Nobel Peace Prize winner Martin Luther King Jr. was recognized in 1959 for his book Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story, well before he became a national figure. Recent honorees have included Marlon James, Margot Lee Shetterly, the poets Marilyn Chin and Tracy K. Smith, and Lifetime Achievement winners Sonia Sanchez and Samuel Delaney.

More than 85 years later, the Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards continue to honor writers who expand our grasp not only of race, but diversities of disability, religion, ethnicity, and gender, drawing from a variety of disciplinary perspectives in the humanities.