Maryland's divergent cultural heritage will be the subject of a three-day conference next week at Frostburg State College in Western Maryland.

The conference, which will begin Nov. 6, is a response to a call from the National Endowment for the Humanities for forums to emphasize the unique traditions and life styles within regions of the United States. Much of the funding for the conference came from a $7,800 grant from the Maryland Humanities Council, according to Cindy Stacy, a spokeswoman for Frostburg State.

"We are hoping to give Maryland a sense of unity and identity" through the 12 different sessions planned as part of the conference, she said. The presentations will deal with topics ranging from life in Baltimore, history of women and blacks in the state, the Eastern Shore life style, and the influence of religion on the state.

The conference will feature a number of prominent Maryland historians and writers, including Carl Bode, professor emeritus at the University of Maryland; National Book Award novelist John Barth; Pulitzer Prize winner William Warner; Gilbert Gude, a former representative from Montgomery County who now heads the Congressional Research Service at the Library of Congress; former Baltimore Sun editor Brad Jacobs, and Washington Post reporter Eugene L. Meyer.