Public Events

Fresh Off the Press: NHC Fellows Discuss New and Intriguing Work

October 28, 2021

November 17, 2021–May 17, 2022

The National Humanities Center is pleased to present monthly virtual talks featuring recently published books by NHC Fellows. This engaging series, exploring a wide range of topics, is offered free of charge via YouTube Live. To participate in discussions during the talk, you will need to sign into YouTube with your Google/Gmail account. If you do not have a Google account, you can create one here.


Furnace Creek: A Novel

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  Tuesday, May 17, 2022      7:00pm ET

  Joseph Allen Boone (NHC Fellow, 2009–10), Gender Studies Professor in Media and Gender and Professor of English, Comparative Literature and Gender Studies, University of Southern California
  Host: Matthew Morse Booker (NHC Fellow, 2016–17), Vice President for Scholarly Programs, National Humanities Center

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.

Watch the Recording


Freedomville: The Story of a 21st Century Slave Revolt

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  Tuesday, April 19, 2022      7:00pm ET

  Laura T. Murphy (NHC Fellow, 2017–18), Professor of Human Rights and Contemporary Slavery, Sheffield Hallam University
  Host: Robert D. Newman, President and Director, National Humanities Center

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, 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.

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Science under Fire: Challenges to Scientific Authority in Modern America

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  Tuesday, March 8, 2022      7:00pm ET

  Andrew Jewett (NHC Fellow, 2013–14), Elizabeth D. Rockwell Visiting Professor of Ethics and Leadership, University of Houston
  Host: Matthew Morse Booker (NHC Fellow, 2016–17), Vice President for Scholarly Programs, National Humanities Center

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.

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Traveling Black: A Story of Race and Resistance

  Tuesday, January 11, 2022      7:00pm ET

  Mia Bay (NHC Fellow, 2009–10), Roy F. and Jeannette P. Nichols Chair in American History, University of Pennsylvania
  Host: Matthew Morse Booker (NHC Fellow, 2016–17), Vice President for Scholarly Programs, National Humanities Center

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.

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Mother Tongues: Poems

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  Tuesday, December 7, 2021      7:00pm ET

  Tsitsi Ella Jaji (NHC Fellow, 2017–18), Associate Professor of English, Duke University
  Host: Robert D. Newman, President and Director, National Humanities Center

Zimbabwean poet and scholar Tsitsi Ella Jaji will discuss and read 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.

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Our Gigantic Zoo: A German Quest to Save the Serengeti

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  Wednesday, November 17, 2021      7:00pm ET

  Thomas M. Lekan (NHC Fellow, 2009–10; 2010–11), Professor of History, University of South Carolina
  Host: Matthew Morse Booker (NHC Fellow, 2016–17), Vice President for Scholarly Programs, National Humanities Center

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.

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Thanks to Our Sponsors

We are also grateful to the National Humanities Center’s institutional sponsors, whose ongoing support makes programs like this possible.


The National Humanities Center seeks to provide a safe and welcoming space for all and offers a variety of accommodations for Center visitors and event attendees with disabilities. If you need assistance planning your visit or have questions about accessibility, please contact Heidi Camp.