Newsletter, 8 August 2014

Cultural Agents Initiative: Arts and Humanities in Civic Engagement

Cardboard books made by teachers from the Hokmah International School in Shenzhen, China as part of a Pre-Texts teacher-training workshop. 2014.

8 August 2014
Dear Friends,
We hope you enjoy this weekly update, which highlights some of our recent activities and the work of other cultural agents. Please see our websites for more information and news: and we hope to support your work as a cultural agent too, please send your news to us at

To all of our supporters, “texters” (tejedores, tecelões), and collaborators throughout the world, thank you!

With many thanks,
The Cultural Agents Team

Our SHARP fellows Josh Stallings and Jesse Shulman will formally present their research to their peers on August 11, 2014. In this presentation, they will profile several public humanities programs, and unveil their digital map of public humanities hotspots. The map will be made available on our Cultural Agents website in the coming months. As it represents an ongoing project, please continue to monitor its development. While William Leong and Joel Ostdiek will not participate in the presentation, it is important to acknowledge their contributions to this project.

Harvard University PhD Candidate and Cultural Agents collaborator, Amy Fish, is halfway through her time at the Instituto de Historia de Nicaragua y Centroamérica (IHNCA) at the Universidad Centroamericana (UCA) in Managua. She is continuing her survey of early twentieth-century literary and cultural magazines from Nicaragua. She has located a number of treasures, including the original publications and collaborations of many great Nicaraguan poets and the feminist editorials of Josefa Toledo de Aguerri. The digitalization of these resources by the IHNCA will be a gift to scholars. In addition, Amy is gathering valuable information that will support her analysis of June Jordan’s literary solidarity with Sandinista Nicaragua in the 1980s.

This week concludes Literature Out Loud (Pre-Texts) training with teachers from the Hokmah International School in Shenzhen. In the picture below, teachers act out scenes related to their interpretations of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s ‘How Do I Love Thee (Sonnet 43).’  This text was selected in honor of Chinese Valentine’s Day, which was last Saturday!

The teachers who participated in the Pre-Texts workshops in Saltillo in June began to use Pre-Texts in their classrooms this week! In honor of the continued support of the Universidad Autónoma de Coahuila’s Rector Blas José Flores Dávila, his administration, and a great local team, here is a photograph of the Rector and some of his administrators performing a song based on Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s The Little Prince during a Pre-Texts celebration.

With the support of María Paz Domínquez and Integra_Lab, Pre-Texts will be introduced to visitors as part of a series of workshops on teacher training at the 7 Salón Internacional de la Educación in Santiago. For more on this event, which will be held at the Centro Cultural Estación Mapocho on August 21 and 22, 2014, see:

United States
On Friday, August 29, 2014, an optional Pre-Texts training workshop for Romance Languages and Literature students with graduate students from Comparative Literature will begin at the Bok Center as part of the Bok Center’s Great Teachers Series. This initial planning session will be held in room 317, from 2:30-5pm.The Great Teachers Series profiles nominated faculty members at Harvard, offering a portrait of his or her work through a selection of interrelated videos. For more information, see:

Other Active Cultural Agents 

Venezuela and Beyond
El Sistema is a musical education program that was founded in Venezuela in 1975 by the economist and musician José Antonio Abreu. It has since spread to many parts of the world, including the United States. El Sistema is an intensive music program that uses ensemble music and the pursuit of musical excellence as a means to support productive experimentation, risk-taking, and collaboration.
For more information on the ongoing work of El Sistema, see:

The Cultural Agents Initiative recognizes the arts and humanities as vital resources for positive social change. Working from a long humanistic tradition dedicated to civic development, we focus on identifying artists, educators, and leaders who have developed creative practices and respond to the role of art in building civil society and confronting its challenges.
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Caminos de Paz Cases for Culture Cultural Agents Opportunities Partners Pre-Texts Rennaisance Now
August 8, 2014
by Rodriguez