Pennsylvania Humanities Council celebrates playwright August Wilson in new initiative

October 7, 2021
Dr. Brittany Levingston, one of the 41 newest Leading Edge Fellows.

Pennsylvania Humanities Council (PHC) is pleased to announce its partnership with Dr. Brittany Levingston, one of the 41 newest Leading Edge Fellows, who will develop a series of statewide programs centered on the renowned works of Pennsylvania playwright August Wilson. 

The Leading Edge Fellowship is an initiative of the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) that aims to demonstrate the potential of people with advanced degrees in the humanities and humanistic social sciences to solve problems outside the academy. It recently underwent a major expansion with the support of a $3.6 million grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

The fellowship program features outstanding PhDs in the humanities that have been placed with nonprofits to support initiatives advancing social justice and equity in communities across the United States. Fellows receive an annual stipend, as well as health insurance and professional development support.

“As we look forward with hope to our emergence from the pandemic, we also feel a sense of urgency in helping humanistic scholars work with others to create a better, more inclusive future,” said ACLS President Joy Connolly. “This impressive group reflects our commitment to supporting early-career scholars and recognizing the power humanistic knowledge and inquiry have to help shape the world beyond campus.”

Levingston’s work will focus on the ten plays of August Wilson’s Century Cycle, which chronicles the collective memory, history, and dreams of African American families across the twentieth century. She will collaborate with PHC on a slate of community engagement programs exploring themes from the plays in conjunction with the rich history of African American communities across the state.

“I am overjoyed to be working with PHC on this exciting project that will celebrate the work of August Wilson and the stories of African American communities in Pennsylvania,” said Levingston. “I look forward to collaborating with partners across the state to bring inspiring and engaging programming to local communities.”

Levingston recently received a PhD in English and African American Studies from Yale University. She began her work with the Pennsylvania Humanities Council as a Leading Edge Fellow in September, 2021. Public programs are expected to be announced in Summer 2022.

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