Welcome to the Center for the Humanities and the Public Sphere! We had a busy and exciting last academic year with much to report. We in the Humanities Center look forward to another stimulating year of conversations and collaborations to advance the humanities at the University of Florida and in North Central Florida. As the Rothman Chair and Director, I am happy to share past successes and future plans in this annual letter.
NEW AND RETURNING COLLEAGUES IN THE CENTER FOR THE HUMANITIES AND THE PUBLIC SPHERE
We are excited to welcome two new colleagues and our first graduate student intern. Alexandra Cenatus will be joining us as the incoming Assistant Director for Programming and Public Engagement, and Assistant Director for Graduate Engagement Dr. Kristen Galvin will oversee efforts to renew graduate education in the humanities. The Center also welcomes its first graduate intern, Nancy Pinzon from the graduate internship program in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese Studies, for the fall 2019 semester. Please welcome Alexandra,
Kristen, and Nancy when you meet them! We are also fortunate that Luc Houle, PhD student in the Department of History and a 2018-19 Tedder Family Doctoral Fellow, is our Program Coordinator for the academic year 2019-20. History MA student Danielle Barrientos will continue as the Intersections Program Coordinator and English PhD student Lauren Cox will continue as the Intersections Public Relations Coordinator.
For those who are new to UF in general and the humanities in particular, our team is rounded out by Dr. Sophia Acord, Associate Director of the Humanities Center, who is celebrating her ten-year anniversary at UF and will be on a professional development leave in spring 2020.
LOOKING BACK AT AN EVENTFUL ACADEMIC YEAR
VISIT BY JON PARRISH PEEDE, CHAIRMAN OF THE NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE HUMANITIES
The highlight of our busy year was the April 5, 2019 celebration of the ten-year anniversary of the launch of Humanities Center with a visit by Chairman Jon Parrish Peede of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and Executive Director Steve Seibert of the Florida Humanities Council. Chairman Peede met with undergraduates and UF awardees of NEH fellowships and grants, and gave the keynote address at the anniversary celebration that also showcased public humanities projects. The day-long event included a workshop on NEH funding led by Jeff Hardwick, Deputy Director for Public Programs of the NEH, and individual meetings with doctoral students, faculty, and staff members to discuss potential proposals.
VISIT BY TANIA MUNZ, VICE PRESIDENT OF ACADEMIC PROGRAMS AT THE NATIONAL HUMANITIES CENTER
Also, in April 2019, Dr. Tania Munz visited UF. As the Vice President of Academic Programs at the National Humanities Center, she offered workshops about the National Humanities Center, with an emphasis on how to apply for year-long residential humanities fellowships. The Dean’s Office of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS) and the UF Office of Research supported her visit as well as the Center’s annual fellowship and grant proposal reviews.
INTERSECTIONS SCHOLARS IN THE HUMANITIES SUPPORTED BY THE ANDREW W. MELLON FOUNDATION
The four Intersections groups, Ethics in the Public Sphere, Global Blackness and Latinx Identity, Mass Incarceration, and Imagineering and the Technosphere, have been busy. Cumulatively, they have organized seventeen public programs during the academic year 2018-19, developed an app, a board game, and a teaching curricula for ethics and dialogue.
The Intersections Group on Ethics in the Public Sphere offered its first Quest course in spring semester 2019. You can learn more and find other courses on the Intersections website.
In the Summer 2019 semester, the Intersections Scholars program launched, which invites UF undergraduate students from any major to participate in courses and special events related to the Intersections Group grand-challenge questions. Intersections Scholars has three dedicated advisors (Brandyn Jordan, Dylan King, and Laura Beth Lancaster), and is eagerly awaiting the first Intersections Scholars Symposium at the conclusion of the spring semester 2020. There, the first cohort of undergraduate Intersections Scholars will be recognized and receive certificates of completion.
COASTS, CLIMATES, THE HUMANITIES, AND THE ENVIRONMENT CONSORTIUM (CCHEC)
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation awarded a consortium planning grant to the University of Georgia in collaboration with the University of Florida, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, and Louisiana State University entitled “Coasts, Climates, the Humanities, and the Environment Consortium (CCHEC).” In addition to Barbara Mennel, participating faculty at UF include Terry Harpold (English), Jack Davis (History), Ken Sassaman (Anthropology), and Cynthia Barnett (Journalism). You find the press release here.
SUMMER RESIDENCIES AT THE NATIONAL HUMANITIES CENTER
The Humanities Center offered a second competitive Summer Residency, supported by the Rothman Endowment and CLAS, at the National Humanities Center for the month of June. Trysh Travis (Center for Gender, Sexualities, and Women’s Studies Research) advanced her project “‘Lee was a Gentleman’: Understanding Women’s Polite Racism in the Confederate Monument Controversy.”
Funded by Prof. Barbara Mennel’s Waldo W. Neikirk Professorship, CHPS also launched a pilot program that enabled one doctoral student to participate in a
two-week residency “Objects and Places in an Inquiry-Based Classroom: Teaching, Learning, and Research in the Humanities” at the National Humanities Center. Doctoral students worked in teams on instructional challenges, developed teaching materials, and received feedback on writing for the public. The Center’s Advisory Board selected Luc Houle (History) based on his dissertation project “On the Margins of Medieval Power: Ramon Berenguer V and Mobility.”
Trysh Travis and Luc Houle will present on their research and residency in the Humanities Center’s Synergies series during this upcoming academic year. Both summer residencies will continue in 2020.
LOOKING FORWARD TO AN EXCITING NEW ACADEMIC YEAR
MEET YOUR NEW COLLEAGUES IN THE HUMANITIES
We will continue to celebrate the invigoration of the humanities in CLAS and beyond with our welcome event for newly arrived faculty members. Keep your eyes open for: “What are They Working On?: Meet Your New Colleagues in the Humanities,” which will be coming up soon.
In May 2019, 40 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 the writing retreat for faculty and graduate students again in spring intercession 2020 (May 4-8, 2020) funded in full by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
UF SYNERGIES: CURRENT SCHOLARSHIP IN THE HUMANITIES
Our year-long series, “UF Synergies: Current Scholarship in the Humanities,” will showcase the research of the 2019 Rothman Faculty Summer Fellow, the 2019-20 Rothman Doctoral Fellows, and the 2019-20 Tedder Family Doctoral Fellow. With the ongoing support from the Rothman Endowment, CHPS awarded four Rothman Summer Faculty Fellowships for summer 2019 to Drs. Nina Caputo (History), Delia Steverson (English), Rae Yan (English), and Velvet Yates (Classics). Their research projects address a range of topics, including the figure of the medieval religious convert, Black critical disability studies, anatomy in Victorian literature, and the ‘chain-saw’ in archaic Greek quarries.
The Rothman Endowment also supported doctoral fellowships for Arianne Boileau (Anthropology), Mark Hodge (Art + Art History), Mary Ibarrola (Anthropology), Madison Cates (History), Daniel Fernández (History), Meagan Frenzer (History), Oren Okhovat (History), and Clemens Ottenhausen (Art + Art History) on scholarship on topics ranging across regions and time periods. Finally, with the generous support of the Tedder Family Endowment, the Center supported the research by Kaitlyn Muchnok (History) on female juvenile delinquency in mid-twentieth century Florida and Kyra Rietveld (Art and Art History) on the cult of Artemis in the Greek classical and imperial periods. We look forward to their presentations of this exciting research!
UPCOMING EVENTS SUPPORTED BY SPEAKER SERIES GRANTS
With the support of the Rothman Endowment, the Yulee Fund, and the Humanities Fund, the Center is supporting a rich program of lectures, conferences, and workshops this upcoming academic year: the XII Florida Cervantes Symposium in October (Prof. Shifra Armon, Spanish and Portuguese Studies); lecture series “Language, Gender, and Identity in the Arab World” in spring semester 2020 (Prof. Youssef Haddad, Languages, Literatures, and Cultures), “Print, Power, and Parable in Premodern Japan” (Profs. Chris Smith and Matthieu Felt, Languages, Literatures, and Cultures), and “Revisiting the Color Line: Race and Racism in International Politics” (Profs. Aida Hozic and Benjamin Smith, Political Science); workshops “Refashioning Worlds: Nature, Science, and the Human Thought of Hannah Arendt” (Profs. Steven Klein, Brenda Chalfin, and Leslie Thiele, Political Science and Anthropology) and “Decolonizing Knowledge: Indigenous Theories in Latin American and U.S. Empire Studies” (Profs. Malini Schueller, Raúl Sanchez, Apollo Amoko, Leah Rosenberg, Rae Yan, Paul Ortiz, Maria Rogal, Maya Stanfield-Mazzi, Robin Wright and Joel Correa in English, Religion, Art History, History, and Center for Latin American Studies); and the multi-faceted project “Inscriptions of the Self in the French and Francophone World” (Prof. Hélène Blondeau, Languages, Literatures, and Cultures).
Our library enhancement grant this year is supporting the digitalization of materials related to “Bridging Caribbean and Victorian Studies: The Morant Bay Rebellion as Boundary Object” (Profs. Leah Rosenberg, Pamela Gilbert, Rae Yan, and Jessica Harland-Jacobs, English and History) and acquisitions in Hindu Studies (Drs. Vasudha Narayanan, Jonathan Edelman, and Megan Daly, Religion and Smathers Libraries).
HUMANITIES AND THE SUNSHINE STATE
During the summer of 2019, 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 CLAS, Hyatt and Cici Brown Endowment for Florida Archaeology, the Bob Graham Center for Public Service, the Center for Gender Sexualities, and Women’s Studies Research, and the Citrus County Historical Society. “Florida Water Studies” taught 29 high school students how to employ methods of humanities research—archival study, oral history, digital curation, archaeological excavation, ethical critiques, and textual interpretation—to explore collaboratively how water has shaped the past and present in Florida.
In its fourth year, “Humanities and the Sunshine State: Teaching Florida’s Climates” introduced 29 K-12, lifelong learning, and informal educators across disciplines to strategies from the humanities and sciences to integrate teaching about climate change into their lessons. The 2019 workshop focused in particular on the theme of optimism, teaching educators and students the tools of resilience, adaptation, and hope for effective change. From combining oral history and environmental studies, to studying Native American shell mounds as inspiration for natural resource management, they produced a variety of exciting classroom plans available here.
The summer of 2019 saw the publication of two books supported by the publication subvention funded by the Rothman Endowment and CLAS: Emily Hind’s (Spanish) Dude Lit: Mexican Men Writing and Performing Competence, 1955-2012 (University of Arizona Press) and James Essegbey’s (Languages, Literatures, and Cultures) co-edited volume The Grammar of Verbs and their Argument—a Cross-linguistic Perspective (Rüdiger Köppe Publishing House).
UPCOMING LECTURE SERIES
In the academic year 2019-2020, the Center for the Humanities will renew its speaker series and begin a multi-year lecture program that rethinks the public
sphere for the twenty-first century. Taking stock of the many challenges to public debate, both historical and contemporary, the series hopes to offer the possibility of conversations around timely issues that strain our institutions, public culture, and civic engagement. We begin the multi-year exploration with a focus on race and the public sphere. Professors Ana-Lucia Araujo (Howard University, History), Chris Lebron (Johns Hopkins University, Philosophy), and Leigh Ann Wheeler (Binghamton University, History) will address the framing of slavery in museums, the Black Lives Matter movement, and voting rights in the era of Black Power, respectively. I look forward to meeting you throughout the year at these and other events!
Please visit us in 200 Walker Hall, introduce yourself, and share ideas for future initiatives. Our grants and activities receive support from the Robert and Margaret Rothman Endowment for the Humanities, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Yulee Fund, the Humanities Fund (which is supported by public contributions), the Tedder Family Fund, Prof. Barbara Mennel’s Waldo W. Neikirk Professorship, and partnerships with the UF Honors Program, the UF Office of Research, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the College of the Arts, and the Office of the Provost. Soon we will publish our call for proposals for fellowships, grants, and public programs taking place in summer 2020-summer 2021.
Our diverse programs promise to make this another engaging year, and we look forward to meeting you and having you join us at the Humanities Center’s events!
Rothman Chair and Director
Center for the Humanities and the Public Sphere
University of Florida
August 16, 2019
Previous Letters from the Director: