Photo of old books lined up on a shelf

Participate in Cleveland Humanities Collaborative’s summer seminars

The Cleveland Humanities Collaborative invites Case Western Reserve University faculty, staff and graduate students to take part in its two, weeklong, intensive seminars.

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.

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.

Seminar Format

The seminars this year will center on the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award winner for nonfiction, Of Fear and Strangers: A History of Xenophobia, by George Makari. In addition to discussing how this book engages race/ethnicity and history, seminar participants will examine how we teach and have productive dialogue about our history and complex social issues. Seminar meetings will take place every day for five hours, with the opportunity for groups to continue working together through the year. 

Books and supplemental readings will be distributed in advance. Participants are encouraged to develop and suggest additional readings to supplement their discussions of the text, which the administrators will help distribute.

All participants will be required to submit an evaluation of their seminar experience upon completion. Participants in the seminar are invited to attend the Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards and Cleveland Book Week events. The Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards are scheduled to take place Thursday, Sept. 15.

Each participant will:

  1. read the assigned text(s) prior to the seminar meeting week, and be prepared to discuss.
  2. agree to adhere to the community standards for engagement. 
  3. attend and participate in each of the daily meetings. 

Participant Eligibility

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.

How to Apply

To apply, please complete the 2022 Anisfield-Wolf Seminar Application by June 1. Space is limited to 15 participants per seminar.  Selected participants will be notified by June 15.  

If you have questions about the seminar, please contact the CHC’s Administrative Manager, Lisa Nielson, at

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.