From the Director Archives | National Humanities Center

From the Director


Robert D. Newman, “What Will the Humanities Look Like in a Decade?”

In this short essay from Inside Higher Ed, Robert D. Newman argues that to “manifest their relevance and preserve their viability” the humanities “...need to make alliances with and contributions to multidisciplinary initiatives focused on the numerous crises in humanity, not humanities. Resolutions to seemingly intractable problems require comprehensive approaches, including a humanities perspective.”


Robert D. Newman, “Time Out with Bill Hendrickson”

Time Out with Bill Hendrickson is a weekly radio program on WCOM–LP 103.5 FM, community radio for Chapel Hill and Carrboro, NC. The show features in-depth interviews with interesting figures from education, business, sports, entertainment, and other arenas of public life. In this episode, host Bill Hendrickson interviews Robert D. Newman, president and director of the National Humanities Center.


NHC Director Robert D. Newman Named Distinguished Alumnus at Penn State and UNC-Chapel Hill

On October 12, 2019, National Humanities Center President and Director Robert D. Newman will be honored as a distinguished alumnus of The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he received his Ph.D. in English. This follows closely on the heels of another honor Newman received in April when he was the inaugural recipient of a distinguished alumnus award from the Humanities Institute at Penn State.

woman reading alone

Robert D. Newman, “The Humanities in the Age of Loneliness”

In this essay from the Los Angeles Review of Books, Robert D. Newman writes, “The principles grounded in the humanities—notions of character, responsibility, civility, empathy, inquiry, collaboration, the public good, the heroic, beauty, and truth—are also at the center of the revolutionary idealism which forged our Constitution. While the antidote to the Age of Loneliness is not easily conjured, it needs a political as well as scientific response—that is, it will need the lessons we can learn through the humanities.”


“Environmental Humanities at the Crossroads of Climate Change”: A Panel Moderated by Robert D. Newman

This scholarly roundtable, featuring Center Fellows in conversation with NHC President and Director Robert D. Newman, explored the important role for humanists in ongoing public discourse about climate change. Touching on topics such as environmental justice and indigenous peoples, the economic history and lasting legacies of deforestation in Latin America, and the shift in demand for fossil fuels to support global military conflicts, these scholars discussed how the human element must be accounted for as we struggle to shape climate policies for the twenty-first century.

Benjamin Franklin

Robert D. Newman, “Saving the Humanities and Ben Franklin’s Ass”

How should humanities institutions and practitioners respond to ongoing challenges to their value and significance? In this opinion piece for Inside Higher Ed, Robert D. Newman revisits a fable from Benjamin Franklin's "Apology for Printers" to argue that humanists should be wary of responding defensively to critics lest we see "a continued dwindling of the imaginative, interrogative and empathetic impulses core to the humanities."

Conversation with Robert D. Newman

UNC-TV’s “Conversation”: An Interview with Robert D. Newman

In this wide-ranging interview with ​​Conversation host Mitchell Lewis, National Humanities Center​ ​President Robert D. Newman discusses the significance of the humanities in everyday life, the enduring importance of humanities scholarship, and the mission of the National Humanities Center to advance humanities research, teaching, and public engagement. This program originally aired on UNC-TV’s NC Channel on June 27, 2017.