Public Programs and Events | National Humanities Center

Public Programs and Events

The Center promotes understanding of the humanities and highlights their vital role in a vibrant, democratic society through a variety of public programs and initiatives, podcasts, and events.

Public Events

The Center hosts an ongoing slate of events designed to explore important topics, showcase the work of scholars, and foster greater appreciation for the value of the humanities in our lives.

“Being Human” Festival

April 15–29, 2024

The inaugural US edition of the “Being Human” Festival involved events in eight locations across the country, highlighting the incredible breadth of the humanities and demonstrating the innumerable ways that they add depth and meaning to our lives, help us understand ourselves and one another, and provide context for the complex world around us.

An Evening with Jane Ferguson

September 21, 2023

Join the National Humanities Center, the Hussman School of Journalism and Media, and UNC Global Affairs to enjoy an evening of conversation with award-winning journalist Jane Ferguson, reflecting on her career and sharing insights from her memoir.


Restoring Our Vitality: The Heart of the Matter and the Future of the Humanities

February–April 2023

In the wake of a global pandemic, amid festering social and political divisions, and with trust in higher education and other institutions ebbing, how might the humanities meaningfully improve life in twenty-first-century America?


A Crisis of Caring: The Humanities and Our Health

April 11–14, 2022

This interdisciplinary conference considers the ways that knowledge drawn from humanities disciplines and methodologies can help identify the symptoms and causes of our malaise while guiding us toward a healthier, more caring future.


In Our Image: Artificial Intelligence and the Humanities

April 7–22, 2021

This conference examines issues surrounding the integration of AI through a series of virtual events highlighting perspectives from leading humanists, scientists, engineers, artists, writers, and executives collectively advancing inquiry into key emerging questions.

See Previous Events


Many of the Center’s public events are made available via video streaming, and recordings may be found on the Center’s channels on YouTube and Vimeo along with other Center-produced content.

VIDEO Conversation with Robert D. Newman

UNC-TV’s “Conversation”: An Interview with Robert D. Newman

From the Director

National Humanities Center​ ​President and Director Robert D. Newman discusses the significance of the humanities in everyday life, the enduring importance of humanities scholarship, and the mission of the Center to advance humanities research, teaching, and public engagement.


Making Negro Literature: Literary Workspaces at the Margins of Print Culture

Public Events

Elizabeth McHenry (NHC Fellow, 1998–99) has been focusing on African American bibliographies, which emerged as experimental knowledge structures that provided ways of mapping and making sense of an emerging and rapidly evolving canon of “Negro literature.”


The Pre-History—and Likely Sequels—of the Insurrection at the U.S. Capitol

Scholar-to-Scholar Talk

The attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, was the most violent assault on democracy in modern American history. Nancy MacLean (NHC Fellow, 2008–09; 2021–22) explains how it was the product of decades of intentional cultivation.


An Evening with Seymour Hersh

Public Events

Seymour “Sy” Hersh, one of our nation’s most important investigative journalists, discusses his most recent book, Reporter: A Memoir.

Watch More


Center podcasts explore a range of fascinating topics and feature conversations with scholars discussing their work—the questions that intrigue and perplex them, the passion that drives them, and how their scholarship may change the ways we think about the world around us.

PODCAST contemporary theater actors on stage

Activism and Resistance in Contemporary Latinx Theater

Elena Machado Sáez (NHC Fellow, 2022–23)

Sáez analyzes the ways that Latinx theater in the United States depicts forms of activism and resistance while building shared archives and communities.


The Zealy Daguerreotypes: Confronting Images of Enslavement

Gregg A. Hecimovich (NHC Fellow, 2022–23)

Some of the best-known pre-Civil War images of enslaved African Americans, these photographs tell us about legacies of white supremacy and enslavement in the United States.


Discovery and Inspiration

Podcast Series

What makes scholars so passionate about the subjects they pursue? What is it like for them to make a new discovery? To answer a confounding question? And what can we learn by taking the time to ask scholars about the research they are doing?


Nerds in the Woods

Podcast Series

A series of virtual audio journeys through the intellectual woods, surveying some of the compelling topics being studied by historians and philosophers, scholars of literature, art, and other fields who come to the Center from all over the world.

Listen Now

Humanities Moments

The Humanities Moments project is an effort to gather and share personal accounts of the ways the humanities illuminate our lives, help us better understand ourselves and each other, and allow us to more fully appreciate where we came from and where we are going.

Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage & the Humanities

May marks Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. This exhibit captures some of the many ways in which members of the Asian Pacific diaspora have left their indelible imprint on American history and culture.

Asian American Dreams

“Helen Zia’s Asian American Dreams was the first Asian American studies book I’d ever read and it inspired me to pursue my MA in Asian American studies at UCLA and my PhD in cultural studies at UC–Davis.”

How Korean Fan Dancing Helped Me Connect with My Adopted Son

“As a middle-aged American Caucasian woman with an adopted son from South Korea, I had a longing to understand my son’s heritage and feel more connected to him.”

Wabi-Sabi: The Perfectly Imperfect

“As part of my undergraduate degree in Asian studies, I took a class on Haiku, a traditional form of Japanese poetry. In analyzing and understanding the magic of these three-lines poems, we talked a lot about the traditional Japanese aesthetics on which they are based.”

Read More Moments

Humanities in Action

humanities in action

The Center’s Humanities in Action initiative highlights perspectives from leading humanists on compelling issues; provides ​​information about public policies affecting humanities research, education, and public programs; and supports humanities advocacy with a variety of tools and resources.

Individual Rights vs. Social Responsibilities in a Pandemic

In a pluralistic society committed to personal freedom, how can the humanities help us take action to ensure the common good?

Healing Rifts and Restoring Civility

What role do the humanities play in resolving conflicts, establishing justice, and fostering unity?

Addressing Structural Racism in the Academy

We must pay attention to those whose experiences of the academy have been shaped by encounters with racial bias if we are to have hope of correcting it.

Pursuing Justice and Preserving Open Debate

How do we balance our pursuit of a more just and equitable society with our desire to protect freedom of expression?

Get Involved

Follow and Share

NHC entrance at night

For additional news and information about the Center as well as other things happening in the humanities, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. We also encourage you to share what you find here with others and help us draw attention to the value of the humanities for everyone.