Coming Spring 2023 | The National Humanities Center, in partnership with the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, presents a series of events reflecting on the legacy of the Heart of the Matter report and envisioning how the humanities can impact our society over the next decade.
Presented as part of the Consortium of Humanities Centers & Institutes 2022 Conference
Taking its inspiration from Great Expectations, Furnace Creek teases us with the question of what Pip might have been like had he grown up in the American South of the 1960s and 1970s and faced the explosive social issues—racial injustice, a war abroad, women’s and gay rights, class struggle—that galvanized the world in those decades. Deftly combining elements of coming-of-age story, novel of erotic discovery, Southern Gothic fiction, and detection-mystery thriller, Furnace Creek offers a contemporary meditation on the perils of desire, ambition, love, loss, and family.
Freedomville is the story of a small group of enslaved villagers in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, who founded their own town of Azad Nagar—Freedomville—after staging a rebellion against their slaveholders. But Laura T. Murphy (NHC Fellow, 2017–18), a leading scholar of contemporary global slavery, who spent years researching and teaching about Freedomville, found that whispers and deflections suggested that there was something troubling about Azad Nagar’s success.
April 11–14, 2022 | This four-day virtual conference sought to consider the ways that knowledge drawn from humanities disciplines and methodologies can inform and help address the ongoing crisis in healthcare. Recognizing that healthcare is predicated on human beings caring for other human beings, A Crisis of Caring explored how humanistic approaches can help identify the symptoms and causes of our malaise while guiding us toward a healthier, more caring future.
Science under Fire reconstructs a century of battles over the cultural implications of science in the United States, showing how suspicion of scientific methods and motivation has played a major role in American politics and culture since the 1920s with profound repercussions that continue to affect everyday life in the current moment.
Scholar-to-Scholar Talk: Nancy MacLean, “The Pre-History—and Likely Sequels—of the Insurrection at the U.S. Capitol”
The attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, was the most violent assault on democracy in modern American history, with three rings of activity: a large outer circle of avid supporters who believed the Big Lie, a smaller number of resolute white-power radicals, and a suited inner circle that strategized to overthrow the election, exploiting federalism to achieve its ends. In this virtual event, Nancy MacLean (NHC Fellow, 2008–09; 2021–22) explains how each of these three elements is the product of decades of intentional cultivation.
From stagecoaches and trains to buses, cars, and planes, Traveling Black explores when, how, and why racial restrictions took shape and brilliantly portrays what it was like to live with them. It also recounts the many forms of resistance deployed in the prolonged fight for freedom of movement across the United States.
Zimbabwean poet and scholar Tsitsi Ella Jaji (NHC Fellow, 2017–18) discusses and reads selections from Mother Tongues: Poems, her award-winning second book of verse, in which she explores our relationships with language, from the first words we learn to the vows we swear, examining how generations of love and loss are inscribed in our every utterance.
Demonstrating the conflicts between international conservation, nature tourism, decolonization, and national sovereignty, Our Gigantic Zoo explores the legacy of Bernhard Grzimek, Europe’s greatest wildlife conservationist, who portrayed himself as a second Noah, called on a sacred mission to protect the last vestiges of paradise for all humankind.