Christopher Moore, “Sôphrosunê and Self-Knowledge: An Ancient Greek Virtue and the Modern Condition”

Scholars have traditionally translated the ancient Greek virtue of Sôphrosunê as “temperance” or “chastity,” implicitly suggesting that it is concerned with forms of self-control in the face of desire or dramatic bodily sensations. As a result, this concept has often been downplayed and relegated to the forgotten corners of philosophical inquiry. In this podcast, Christopher Moore, associate professor of philosophy and classics at The Pennsylvania State University, restores and explains the complexities of Sôphrosunê for a contemporary audience.

Rachel Watson, “Evidence and Racial Discourse in Segregation-Era Literature”

When we read most novels, we assume that characters are the most important components of a story. However, in noteworthy American literature of the segregation era, it is often forms of evidence that structure novelistic worlds, making us recognize and question the ways that details of ordinary life can take on particular significance. In this podcast episode, Rachel Watson assistant professor of American literature at Howard University, considers how the treatment of evidence in literature can help us to illuminate the simultaneous development of discourses around race, criminology, and crime science.

Ryan E. Emanuel, “Water in the Lumbee World: Indigenous Rights and the Transformation of Home”

Though debates about water usage and environmental justice are often conducted in the future tense—with one eye trained on impending catastrophes—the causes are usually rooted in past injustices. For this reason, attempts to understand and avert these crises necessarily involve attending to the voices of those who have suffered them in the past—including the indigenous people of North Carolina. In this podcast, Ryan E. Emanuel, professor of forestry and environmental resources at North Carolina State University, discusses how members of the Lumbee tribe can provide important insights into both the conservation and protection of the river that bears their name.

Molly Worthen, “From St. Paul to Populist Politics: The Evolution of Charismatic Leadership”

Charisma is a concept we typically use to refer to individuals who fascinate, attract, and captivate us in some way. The word’s modern usage, however, obscures its origins in Christian doctrine. In such contexts, charismatic figures were understood to have a kind of divinely ordained authority and spiritual influence. In this podcast episode, Molly Worthen, associate professor of history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, explores the evolution of charisma in the popular consciousness and its role in various historical epochs and movements.

National Humanities Center Announces 2021–22 Fellows

The National Humanities Center is pleased to announce the appointment of 36 Fellows for the academic year 2021–22. These leading scholars will come to the Center from universities and colleges in 16 U.S. states as well as from Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Nigeria, and Taiwan. Chosen from 638 applicants, each Fellow will work on an individual research project and will have the opportunity to share ideas in seminars, lectures, and conferences at the Center.

Virtual Book Club: Independence Lost: Lives on the Edge of the American Revolution

Over the last decade, award-winning historian Kathleen DuVal has revitalized the study of early America’s marginalized voices. Now, in Independence Lost, she recounts an untold story as rich and significant as that of the Founding Fathers: the history of the Revolutionary Era as experienced by slaves, American Indians, women, and British loyalists living on Florida’s Gulf Coast.

Katherine Mellen Charron, “Activism Beyond the City: Women, Rural Communities, and the Struggle for Black Freedom”

When mapping the struggle for Black freedom and racial justice, historians have often emphasized the events and organizational efforts that occurred in urban areas, largely led by men. However, in rural American communities, the voices and leadership of women were extremely influential. In this podcast, Katherine Mellen Charron, associate professor of history at North Carolina State University, discusses her research into the legacies of local, community-based, rural Black women’s activism in North Carolina.

Jennifer D. Williams, “The Poetry and Prose of Precarious Living: Black Women Writers and the Legacy of Segregated Urban Spaces”

Between the 1930s and the 1970s, racialized legislation and subsequent migrations of Black Americans combined to drive explosive population growth in urban centers, which in turn gave rise to the creation of segregated districts and public housing projects. The experience of life in these spaces, which required residents to navigate precarious conditions where distinctions between public and private collapsed, was chronicled by Black women writers of the era. In this podcast, Jennifer D. Williams, assistant professor of English at Howard University, discusses her research into urban spaces, racial politics, and Black womanhood in the twentieth century.

NHC Virtual Book Club Series: Race and Injustice

July 15–August 19, 2020 | This installment in our virtual book club series features six gifted scholars whose work helps illuminate the long history, bitter realities, and complex dynamics surrounding racial oppression in the United States. Over these six events, we look to consider both the breadth of human suffering propagated by entrenched racial bias and the heroic efforts required to correct systemic injustice.