Submitted by syntaxfactory on September 14, 2010 - 3:45pm
This weekend, I completed 1,500 words to evaluate a "Killam" grant. This is my second time reviewing for a Canadian grant (the first was for SSHRC), and so I thought I'd share a few thoughts.
Killam Grants are among the many grants coordinated by the Canada Council for the Arts (http://www.canadacouncil.ca/prizes/killam/jp127222986790937500.htm and http://www.killamtrusts.ca/). They are an endowed program:
"Mr. Killam was one of the most successful Canadian business and financial figures of the first half of the 20th century. Having no children, Mr. Killam and his wife Dorothy planned to devote the greater part of their wealth to higher education in Canada. An astute business person in her own right, Mrs. Killam continued to build the Killam fortune. When she died in 1965, her lifetime gifts together with her testamentary bequests to higher education in Canada amounted to some $100 million. Today, the market value of the Killam Trusts approaches $400 million. The Canada Council for the Arts also received Killam funds, now valued at about $65 million."
$65 million dollars to endow research grants in the arts -- can you imagine it? Then, imagine it on a scale in Canada. 33 million people vs the 250 million in the US. In the US, we have around 5,000 four-year institutions -- about 115 per state, on average, I am told by Wikipedia. Canada has between 83 and 95 4-year institutions by two sources (I looked it up in two placed because the disparity is incredible). At worst, then, we have 50x as many 4 year schools. A proportional endowment here would be worth $3 billion dollars?
Canadian scholars in the arts and humanities, then, are eligible for up to $70,000 in research support via this program.
"The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) is the federal agency that promotes and supports university-based research and training in the humanities and social sciences. Through its programs and policies, SSHRC enables the highest levels of research excellence in Canada, and facilitates knowledge-sharing and collaboration across research disciplines, universities and all sectors of society. Created by an act of Canada’s Parliament in 1977, SSHRC is governed by a council that reports to Parliament through the Minister of Industry."
I described the SSHRC to colleagues as "the NEH if we were really committed to funding the humanities. Again, the number of scholars able to be supported via this system is amazing.
Duluth is close to Canada, but it is not in Canada. I'm not sure why I get asked to review these things. Web presence, maybe, would account for some; so might meeting some of the best among Canada's intellectuals via my most recent excursions. Or maybe it's like voting: once you vote (register for a Canadian conference), you become eligible for jury duty (the review of SSHRC and Killam proposals).
What I do know is this: If Canada is the model, the United States is a thoroughly hobbled system for the support of research in the humanities.
If you know something about grant opportunities for scholars in rhetoric, email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org