Letter from the Director: 2018

WELCOME!

Welcome to the Center for the Humanities and the Public Sphere! We are entering our tenth year of advancing the humanities for the University of Florida and the public sphere of north central Florida. As the Rothman Chair and Director of the Center, I look forward to another year of program building. This year, we have planned a humanities symposium  gand invite you to join us in celebrating our 10th anniversary! 

TEN-YEAR ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION WITH NEH CHAIRMAN JOHN PARRISH PEEDE

We are excited about the upcoming commemoration of the Center’s ten-year anniversary. In honor of our celebration, we are organizing a Symposium around the visit by Dr. John Parrish Peede, Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities. In addition to his lecture, we will showcase scholarship by UF faculty, graduate students, and alumni that engages the humanities for the twenty-first century. 

INTERSECTIONS: ANIMATING CONVERSATIONS WITH THE HUMANITIES GRANT BY THE ANDREW W. MELLON FOUNDATION

Attendees practice how to bring up difficult topics in, and outside, the classroom.

The highlight of the Center’s past academic year was the award of the $400,000 grant Intersections: Animating Conversations with the Humanities from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to the University of Florida for a three-year period. As part of the Intersections grant, this past year, Libby Roderick (University of Alaska Anchorage and Difficult Dialogues National Resource Center) offered a workshop “Controversial Topics and Difficult Dialogues: Effectively Engaging Students in Critical Conversations in the Classrooms” and presented a public lecture at the Alachua County Library District Headquarters, “Let’s Talk: Meaningful Dialogue in Difficult Times.”

The Center awarded Intersections: Research-into-Teaching Grants of $30,000 each to four interdisciplinary and collaborative groups. These four groups engage in scholarship on ethics in the public sphere, global Blackness and Latinx identity, mass incarceration, and technologies of time and space. The groups will organize events and projects over the next two academic years for faculty, graduate and undergraduate students, staff, and the Gainesville community. The four groups will also propose courses for the new Quest general education curriculum to strengthen the humanities. Please visit the new calendar feature on the Center’s new webpage for announcements of our upcoming events!

PUBLIC LECTURES

The Center for the Humanities continues its programming of public lectures, made possible by the generous funding of the Rothman Endowment. Our fall program begins with a timely debate about the role of the humanities in the global public sphere. We look forward to the visit by Inderpal Grewal, Professor and Chair of the Program of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Yale University. 

SUMMER WRITING RESIDENCY AT THE NATIONAL HUMANITIES CENTER

For a second year in a row, the Center will offer a UF faculty member a Summer Fellowship at the National Humanities Center for the month of June. The first Summer Fellowship was supported by the Robert and Margaret Rothman Endowment for the Humanities, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS) and the College of the Arts (COTA). We will announce the call for proposals in fall 2018 with a deadline in spring 2019.

GRANT WRITING SERIES: VISIT BY TANIA MUNZ, VICE PRESIDENT FOR SCHOLARLY PROGRAMS, NATIONAL HUMANITIES CENTER

Our grant writing series, sponsored by the Dean’s Office of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the Office of Research at UF, continues as well. The Center offers a biannual fellowship and grant proposal review. In spring 2019, we will welcome Tania Munz, Vice President for Scholarly Programs at the National Humanities Center (Research Triangle Park, North Carolina), for workshops on national grants for faculty members. 

MEET YOUR NEW COLLEAGUES IN THE HUMANITIES

We will also celebrate the invigoration of the humanities in CLAS and beyond with a welcome event for newly arrived faculty members in the humanities. They will introduce themselves and their research at the event “What are They Working On?: Meet Your New Colleagues in the Humanities” this Fall (Time & Date TBD).

WRITING RETREAT 

In May 2018, forty faculty members and graduate students came together for one intensive week of writing in the serene setting of UF’s Austin Cary Forest. We will offer such a writing retreat for faculty and graduate students again in spring intercession 2019 (May 6-10, 2019) at UF’s Austin Cary Forest.

**WATCH THE 2018 HUMANITIES WRITING RETREAT VIDEO **

UF SYNERGIES: CURRENT SCHOLARSHIP IN THE HUMANITIES 

Our year-long series, “UF Synergies: Current Scholarship in the Humanities,” will showcase the research of the 2018 Rothman Faculty Summer Fellow, the 2018-19 Rothman Doctoral Fellow in the Humanities, and the 2017-18 Tedder Family Doctoral Fellow awards. With the help of the Rothman Endowment, the Center awarded six Rothman Faculty Summer Fellowships to Professor Dr. Margaret Butler (Music), Dr. Roberto Chauca (Spanish and Portuguese Studies), Dr. Jessica Harland-Jacobs (History), Dr. Bryce Henson (African American Studies), Dr. Esther Romeyn (European Studies), and Dr. Vassiliki (Betty) Smocovitis (Biology and History). These grants support a range of topics, including operatic prima donnas, early modern tropical knowledge, the Catholic question in the British Empire, Brazilian hip-hop, Holocaust memory in the Netherlands, and the history of a Japanese American genetics scholar.

UF SynergiesFour doctoral student projects received the Rothman Doctoral Fellowship in the Humanities across a range of fields and disciplines. Elizabeth Currin (Teaching and Learning) conducts an oral history of teaching in the age of accountability; Tameka Samuels-Jones (Sociology and Criminology & Law) studies law in in the Blue Mountains, Jamaica; Matthew Strickland (History) investigates African slavery in Barbados; and, finally, Alexandria Wilson (Political Science) researches feminist anti-trafficking in East Central Europe. The Center was able to award Tedder Family Doctoral Fellowships to Luc Houle (History) and Jodi Shaw (Religion) to advance their dissertation projects on mobility in medieval Europe and the dancing Śiva in Chidambaram, India.

UPCOMING EVENTS SUPPORTED BY SPEAKER SERIES GRANTS

With the support of the Rothman Endowment, the Center also provides support for speaker series, conferences, exhibitions, and symposium in this upcoming academic year. This coming academic year, the interdisciplinary symposium, “The World to Come” at the Harn Museum of Art will explore the significance of the Anthropocene, our contemporary geological epoch defined by human impacts. A conference on Plotting the Garden, organized by Dr. Judith Page (English) and Dr. Victoria Pagán (Classics), as well as the lecture series entitled Un-Making Monuments: How Artists Revisit History assembled by Sergio Vega (Art+Art History) are some of the other events funded by the Rothman Endowment. Finally, the Center contributes to UF’s African American Studies Program’s Fiftieth Anniversary Panel and its celebration and reflection on Sixty Years of Integration at UF. 

LIBRARY ACQUISITIONS

Our library enhancement grant supports access to manga and anime in Japanese and English from the 1950s through the 1980s with a grant awarded to Christopher Smith (Japanese), and the purchase and digitalization of filmed interviews with leaders of the Israeli communist party with a grant awarded to Tamir Sorek (Sociology/Jewish studies).

Humanities and the Sunshine StateHUMANITIES AND THE SUNSHINE STATE 

During the summer of 2018, the Center reprised its Humanities and the Sunshine State programs in partnership with the Florida Humanities Council, organized in collaboration with the UF Center for Precollegiate Education and Training, and with additional support from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Hyatt and Cici Brown Endowment for Florida Archaeology, and the Center for Gender Sexualities, and Women’s Studies Research. “Florida Water Studies” taught high school students how to employ methods of humanities research—archival study, oral history, digital curation, archaeological excavation, ethical critiques, and textual interpretation—to learn collaboratively how water has shaped the past and present in Florida.

“Humanities and the Sunshine State: Teaching Florida’s Climates” introduced K-12 educators across disciplines to strategies to integrate the humanities and sciences into their teaching about climactic variation in Florida.

The Humanities and the Sunshine State summer programs were selected as one of 51 public humanities projects nationwide to be profiled on the new Humanities for All website launched by the National Humanities Alliance to disseminate high-impact projects.

VISIT US!

You are invited to visit us in 200 Walker Hall to take advantage of our programs and resources, make use of our Bookscan Station, and introduce yourself. Feel free to share ideas for future initiatives and provide us with feedback on past events. We look forward to continuing our programming and engaging new challenges. We will update the Center’s annual call for proposals for workshops, colloquia, library enhancement grants, faculty and doctoral fellowships, team-teaching, and public humanities programs, as well as the rolling publication subvention deadline on our website. Our grants and activities are supported by the Robert and Margaret Rothman Endowment for the Humanities, the Yulee Fund, the Humanities Fund (which is supported by public contributions), and partnerships with the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, UF Honors Program, and the College of the Arts.

I look forward to meeting you throughout the year!

Barbara Mennel
Rothman Chair and Director

Center for the Humanities and the Public Sphere
University of Florida

21 August 2017

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