On October 5, 2016, NHC director Robert D. Newman delivered a keynote address as a part of the ongoing Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Speaker Series at North Carolina Central University. In his remarks Newman touched on events as seemingly disparate as the workings of the Continental Congress and the social media origins of the Black Lives Matter movement and discussed the ways that the humanities help us understand the world, relate to one another, and come to terms with the most profound experiences and questions — on the nature of beauty, the search for justice, and the meaning of life in the face of horrific violence and our own mortality.
Since its founding over 50 years ago, perceptions of the Black Panther Party have varied widely, often shaped by misinformation—about the Party’s motivations, its relations with other organizations, its influence in the U.S. and around the world. In this conversation, historian Jakobi Williams discusses the challenges facing scholars in reconstructing the history of the Black Panther Party, the common misconceptions that continue to shape views of the movement and its leaders, and the ways that the organization helped inspire resistance groups in other countries.
Shakespeare’s plays are full of the influences of the supernatural—spirits, magic, temptation—haunting the lives of characters and shaping their actions. In this conversation, literary scholar Mary Floyd-Wilson discusses how these demonic representations reflect questions that were very much on the minds of Elizabethan-era theater-goers and offer a valuable perspective on contemporary debates of the period and shifts in thinking about questions of religion, of autonomy, personality, and the mind.
National Humanities Center to Partner with Vietnam National University to Develop Digital Learning Resources
The NHC will partner with Vietnam National University in developing digital instructional resources that allow for a deeper understanding of the American Vietnamese War. This initiative, supported by a $175,000 grant from the Fostering Innovation through Research, Science, and Technology Project for Vietnam, will bring together a team of Vietnamese and American educators, scholars, and technology experts to create digital tools that examine the political, social, cultural, economic, and historical complexities surrounding the conflict.
The National Humanities Center and the Durham Veteran Affairs Health Care System are seeking participants for a new program for military Veterans and their families in eastern North Carolina. “Reading Our Stories: Exploring the Veteran’s Experience through Literature,” will give Veterans an opportunity to more deeply reflect on their service—what it means to them and to the country—by examining and discussing literary texts. Groups will meet in Raleigh, Durham, and Greenville beginning in January 2017.
In a wide-ranging talk to alumni Fellows that incorporated stories about figures as distinct as H. L. Mencken, Georgia O’Keefe, and Mary Oliver, NHC president Robert Newman discussed how the humanities lend perspective to current events, refine our sense of the world and all it contains, and provide wisdom for navigating the future.
This talk explores connections between Shakespeare and freedom dreams in the African Diaspora. It first outlines a tension between the ways that “Shakespeare” and blackness have been valued in the 400 years since Shakespeare’s birth. It then gives examples of the ways that black writers and actors in the early twentieth century used Shakespeare when grappling with constructions of blackness and race in the United States.
Thursday, January 19, 2017 at 6:00 p.m.
Kim Hall, Barnard College
This talk will explore the writings, drawings, paintings, prints, and sculpture produced by African, African American, African Caribbean, and Black British women and men, enslaved and free, living and working across the Black Diaspora over the centuries. Living and dying against a white racist backdrop that sought to destroy Black bodies and souls, they generated alternative art-making traditions and experimental writerly practices that constitute nothing less than “declarations of independence.”
Thursday, February 9, 2017 at 6:00 p.m.
Celeste-Marie Bernier, University of Edinburgh