When we refer to “the international scientific community,” what do we mean? In this Scholar-to-Scholar talk, NHC Fellow Lorraine Daston discusses how scientists began developing international collaborations and organizations in the latter half of the nineteenth century—the era of globe-spanning empire, telegraph networks, steamship lines, and world expositions. This international scientific governance has endured—and has created binding agreements that survived wars, revolutions, decolonization, and radical shifts in research agendas over more than a century.
The National Humanities Center is cosponsoring the 2021 Stowe Prize celebration honoring Princeton University professor Eddie S. Glaude Jr., author of Begin Again: James Baldwin's America and Its Urgent Lessons for Our Own (2020). Dr. Glaude is the seventh recipient of the Stowe Prize, which recognizes the author of a distinguished book of general adult fiction or nonfiction whose written work illuminates a critical social issue in the tradition of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin.
April 7–22, 2021 | Artificial intelligence has infiltrated our daily lives—in the ways we conduct business, govern, provide healthcare and security, and communicate. The large-scale cultural and societal implications of these changes—and the ethical questions they raise—pose a serious challenge as we embrace a future increasingly shaped by the implementation of AI technology. In Our Image included a series of virtual events—presentations, conversations, webinars, film screenings, and an art exhibition—highlighting perspectives from leading humanists, scientists, engineers, artists, writers, and software company executives collectively advancing inquiry into key emerging questions.
What are the reasonable boundaries and expectations that students should expect from their mentors? And what obligations are owed to those who share their knowledge and experience? Looking at traditions from the ancient world to the modern era, these three scholars will discuss the nature of mentorship in different cultural contexts and how the concept of mentorship continues to resonate in contemporary classrooms.
Catherine M. Cole reveals how the voices and visions of artists in South Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo can help us see what otherwise evades perception from the injustices produced by apartheid and colonialism. Examining works by contemporary performing artists Brett Bailey, Faustin Linyekula, Gregory Maqoma, and others, Cole demonstrates how the arts are “helping to conjure, anticipate, and dream a world that is otherwise.”
Offering an expansive vision of what the United States should be, John McGowan combines the thinking of philosophers like John Dewey and William James with the ethos of comedy to imagine what American life could be like if we more fully embraced values such as love, forgiveness, and generosity that are too often left out of our political discourse.
Laura F. Edwards’s compelling book considers the sweeping transformation of American law produced in the wake of the Civil War. Through her analysis of constitutional amendments, Supreme Court decisions, and legal claims espoused by everyone from national politicians to everyday citizens, Edwards demonstrates how the notion of rights became so integral in post-Civil War America, especially in the lives of African Americans, women, and organized laborers.
Joy Connolly argues in her most recent book, The Life of Roman Republicanism that “Cicero, Sallust, and Horace inspire fresh thinking about central concerns of contemporary political thought and action” including the role conflict plays in the political community, the conditions needed to promote an equal and just society, citizens’ interdependence on one another for senses of selfhood, and the uses and dangers of self-sovereignty and fantasy.
February 3–24, 2021 | For centuries, the importance of civility to the health of republics has been widely recognized. Peaceful resolution of conflicts, open debate, and the nurturing of an engaged citizenry are essential to maintaining governments in which power is held by the people. Yet, civility remains elusive. The scholars in this series help us think about ways of encouraging, preserving, and restoring civility—through political and creative expression, in the courts, on the page, and on the screen—from the classical period to the modern era.
Reckoning with the centuries-long toll of treating African Americans as less than their fellow citizens is a challenging task, requiring us to consider not only what has been extracted from and denied the mistreated but the costs borne by all of us. Though these three scholars focus on different periods and places in this country's history with quite different sources, approaches, and questions, their work illuminates the myriad ways that racism and systemic injustice affect us all.