Learn, Explore, and Discover the Humanities

Boundless curiosity about the human experience is the driving force of the humanities—inspiring scholars as they pursue their research, teachers at work with their students, and all of us as we navigate the challenging world we live in.

Discover how that curiosity is expressed in the work of NHC Fellows, in innovative resources for educators, and how it speaks to all of us in the features included below. You can learn more about these topics by clicking on any of the items or by creating your own search of Center resources.

Explore Previous Features

Between the Covers: Fellows Discuss Their Recent Work

Rural Inventions: The French Countryside after 1945

Sarah Farmer (Fellow, 2008–09)

Rural France did not vanish in the sweeping transformations of the 1950s and 1960s. The French devised new ways of inhabiting the countryside, making it a site of change and adaptation.

V. S. Naipaul’s Journeys: From Periphery to Center

Sanjay Krishnan (Fellow, 2012–13)

Krishnan offers new perspectives on Naipaul’s writing, as well as his shortcomings, trajectory, and complicated legacy, and challenges the binaries that have dominated discussions of his writing.

Our Gigantic Zoo: A German Quest to Save the Serengeti

Thomas M. Lekan (Fellow, 2009–10; 2010–11)

This book examines the troubled relationship between Europe’s greatest wildlife conservationist, Bernhard Grzimek, and the landscape he saw as a “gigantic zoo” for the earth’s last great mammals: the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania.

Administrations of Lunacy: Racism and the Haunting of American Psychiatry at the Milledgeville Asylum

Mab Segrest (Fellow, 2017–18)

Segrest reveals how modern psychiatric practice was forged in the traumas of slavery, the Civil War, Reconstruction, and Jim Crow, and shows how a single asylum helped set the stage for the persistent racial ideologies of our own times.

Singing to the Lyre in Renaissance Italy: Memory, Performance, and Oral Poetry

Blake Wilson (Fellow, 2016–17)

In Renaissance Italy, singing and improvising verse to the accompaniment of a stringed instrument was a practice cultivated by performers ranging from popes and princes, to professionals of both mercantile and humanist background.

Old Lands: A Chorography of the Eastern Peloponnese

Christopher Witmore (Fellow, 2014–15)

This book offers an original account of a region in twenty-seven segments and fulfills a longstanding ambition within archaeology to generate a polychronic narrative that stands as a complement and alternative to diachronic history.

Discover More Books by Fellows

The National Humanities Center’s Virtual Book Club


The War Before the War: Fugitive Slaves and the Struggle for America’s Soul from the Revolution to the Civil War

Andrew Delbanco (Fellow, 2013–14)

Delbanco’s masterful examination of the fugitive slave story illuminates what brought us to war with ourselves and the terrible legacies of slavery that are with us still.


Toward A More Perfect Union: The American Experiment

September 30–October 28, 2020

This series explores if and how the framers’ vision of humanistic values in American principles has been sustained as well as the aspirations and fallibilities inherent in the continuous struggle for “the soul of America.”


Race and Injustice

July 15–August 19, 2020

This 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.


Loss and Upheaval

April 22–May 27, 2020

This series spotlights leading humanists and authors discussing their work, and explores 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.

Watch More Videos

Examining the Unvarnished Truth of Race-Based Violence