Zsuzsanna Gulácsi, “Art and Religious Instruction in Late Ancient and Medieval Asia”

Beyond their inspirational and devotional power, what other functions do religious works of art serve? From antiquity through the medieval periods, ​​practitioners ​of many religious traditions ​throughout central Asia used ​works of art to teach​ followers religious histories, parables, and central tenets of their faith.​ How does this use inform our appreciation of these works and what can we learn from examining these religious practices?

Tatiana Seijas, “Indigenous Trade in the Early Modern Southwest and Mexico”

For centuries before the arrival of Europeans, trade routes connected the various peoples who lived throughout the American Southwest and Mexico, and trade among these groups remained an important source of economic vitality and cultural exchange even after the Spanish arrived in the sixteenth century. In later years, these routes formed the basis of El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro, connecting merchants and communities from Mexico City to Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Miguel La Serna, “The Rise and Fall of the Shining Path”

Beginning as a small group of intellectual ideologues, the Shining Path grew to become a significant insurgency movement whose violent practices resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of Peruvians in the late twentieth century. However, to understand the Shining Path’s history and its influence, it is important to understand its origins and the motivations of the individuals who formed its leadership.

Robert D. Newman, “Rage and Beauty: Celebrating Complexity, Democracy and the Humanities”

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.

Jakobi Williams, “​The Black Panthers, Here and Abroad”

​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.

Mary Floyd-Wilson, “Demonic Representation on the Shakespearean Stage”

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.

Robert D. Newman, “On a Sense of History, the Salvation of Poetry, and the Power of the Humanities”

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.

Chris Bunin, “Mapping the American Experience”

The use of geospatial technologies allows the interactions of place, space, time, and scale to be more obvious to teachers and students. Often there is an over-emphasis on the chronology of historical events without a strong consideration for their connections to geography. Geospatial technologies allow students to raise the critical ability to answer not only the important question of “where?” but also “why there?” With an emphasis on inquiry-based teaching and learning, Chris Bunin provides insights on the ways that GIS tools contribute to a deeper understanding of the humanities.