SOU receives NEH grant to preserve “common heritage” histories

sou-logo-hz-186-pos

NEWS RELEASE (online at https://goo.gl/sHH5QE)

(Ashland, Ore.) — The National Endowment for the Humanities has awarded Southern Oregon University a $12,000 Common Heritage grant to collect and preserve agricultural and logging family histories in Jackson and Josephine Counties.

horsedrawn-plow-hillcrest-circa-1910 Co-investigators Maureen Battistella (assistant professor affiliate and research anthropologist at SOU) and Victoria Sturtevant, Ph.D. (SOU sociology professor emerita) will work with SOU students, the OSU Southern Oregon Research and Extension Center, local libraries, historical societies and youth groups to identify heritage families for the project.

“This project is important because it helps Southern Oregon’s largely rural communities trace, preserve and share their heritage,” Battistella says. “It will document how and why population growth, economic development and new agricultural opportunities have affected Southern Oregon’s heritage industries.”

loggingnearbuttefalls-circa-1940Stories, photographs and memorabilia discovered during heritage day events will be digitized and made available to the public thanks to the expertise of SOU librarians and the Southern Oregon Digital Archives (SODA) at Southern Oregon University’s Hannon Library. Retired U.S. Forest Service archaeologist Jeff LaLande, Ph.D., is a consulting historian on the project; his papers and photographs are already in the SOU SODA collection.

Southern Oregon’s landscape has changed dramatically over the past 100 years. Historical family farms have yielded to housing developments, pear trees have been pulled out to plant vineyards, and timber is nearly played out.

The Legacy Labor project is designed to document a way of life that is nearly lost to memory because of cultural, political and economic pressures. It is intended to increase awareness of heritage agriculture and timber occupations and draw attention to the importance of preserving and sharing community values. The project will build upon and extend the heritage preservation model developed for earlier grants awarded to SOU by the Oregon Heritage Commission, the Rogue Valley Winegrowers Association and the Erath Family Foundation.

For more information about the NEH Common Heritage award to SOU and the Legacy Labor project, contact Maureen Flanagan Battistella at (541) 552-0743 or battistem@sou.edu.

-SOU-

About Southern Oregon University
As a public liberal arts university, SOU focuses on student learning, accessibility and civic engagement that enriches both the community and bioregion. The university is recognized for fostering intellectual creativity, for quality and innovation in its connected learning programs, and for the educational benefits of its unique geographic location. SOU was the first university in Oregon—and one of the first in the nation—to offset 100 percent of its energy use with clean, renewable power, and it is the first university in the nation to balance 100% of its water consumption. Visit sou.edu.

About the National Endowment for the Humanities
Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at: www.neh.gov.