Public Events

Shakesplish book cover

Shakesplish: How We Read Shakespeare’s Language


When Paula Blank passed away suddenly in 2016, three members of the English Department at William & Mary honored their friend and colleague's memory by ushering her unfinished manuscript through publication. On Shakespeare’s 456th birthday, Elizabeth Barnes, Erin Minear, and Erin Webster will remember their friend and talk about what it was like to bring her work to publication.

Virtual Book Club: In a Dark Wood: What Dante Taught Me About Grief, Healing, and the Mysteries of Love

In an instant, Joseph Luzzi became both a widower and a first-time father. In the aftermath of unthinkable tragedy, Luzzi relied on the support of his Italian immigrant family to grieve and care for his infant daughter. But it wasn’t until he turned to the Divine Comedy—a poem he had devoted his life to studying and teaching—that he learned how to resurrect his life, passing from his own grief-stricken Inferno through the Purgatory of healing, and ultimately stepping into the Paradise of rediscovered love.

The U.S. Constitution Then and Now


For over 230 years, the U.S. Constitution has served as the central document shaping life and law in the United States. Originally consisting of seven articles, the Constitution has been amended 27 times to meet the changing needs of the country and its citizens. Interpretation of its provisions and the intent of its framers has been debated throughout our country's history.

NHC Virtual Book Club Series: Loss and Upheaval

April and May, 2020

This extraordinary pop-up series spotlights leading humanists and authors discussing their work. In addition to learning about the featured book directly from the author, participants in these sessions will explore important and timeless questions about the human experience in all its complexities—from how we face personal tragedy to the ways we think about the afterlife, how we assign guilt or define greatness.

For Ourselves and Our Posterity: The U.S. Constitution, Then and Now

During the 2020 Discovery and Inspiration: Conversations with Scholars series, we will explore the United States Constitution through the lens of the humanities. National Humanities Center Fellows from the fields of African American studies, economics, history, law, literature, and philosophy will discuss how their work informs our understanding of our nation’s founding document and our attempts to form a more perfect union.

Ice Queens by Cache Owens

Artists’ Reception: Reclaiming My Time

Reclaiming My Time recognizes the creations of female artists working in the regional South. The artists in this exhibit bring a range of practices to the fore, challenging and asking difficult questions of their social, political, and natural environment. Join us for a reception and to meet the artists.

The Trial of Lizzie Borden

Cara Robertson (Fellow 2004–05; 2005–06) discusses one of the most famous trials in American history, offering not only a detailed account of events but providing a window into life in America’s Gilded Age, showcasing its most deeply held convictions and its most troubling social anxieties.

Coastal Thinking: A Conversation

The NHC hosted a public conversation on Coastal Thinking led by four leading scholars of environmental humanities and science in a discussion of coastlines and cultures in context of climate breakdown, with a focus on their experiences of the diversity of humanities and science approaches to engaging with the histories and futures of communities shaped by water.

addressing environmental change

Beyond Despair: Theory and Practice in Environmental Humanities

This unique three-day summit of scholars and experts from across the country featured a dynamic intersection between discussion, presentations, and exhibitions, grounded with practical site excursions. Beyond Despair intended to foster cooperation, impact the field of environmental humanities, and launch dialogue that has the potential to change how environmental issues are taught.

“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.