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National Humanities Center Doctoral Institutes and Residencies

Beginning in 2019, The Center for the Humanities and the Public Sphere — with the support of the Director Barbara Mennel’s Waldo W. Neikirk Professorship — supports Ph.D. students in UF’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences for intensive one-week themed residencies and institutes at the National Humanities Center that focus on practical teaching, research, and professionalization skills.


Summer 2020 – National Humanities Center PhD Student – Passionate Teaching in the Research Environment: Creative Narrative in the Accessible Classroom

Samantha Baugus (Ph.D. Candidate, English)

“Passionate Teaching in the Research Environment: Creative Narrative in the Accessible Classroom”

As a scholar I want to engage with the public and as a teacher I want to train my students to do the same. I always emphasize that the writing skills developed and the subject matters covered in my classroom are applicable to and significant in work and life. The NHC Summer Residency is the perfect fit for my goals as a scholar and a teacher in terms of sharing my research, building a team and community of fellow academics committed to excellence in teaching, developing new skills and tools to enhance my pedagogy, and bringing my research to the classroom and beyond.

Victoria Machado (Ph.D. Candidate, Religion)

“Passionate Teaching in the Research Environment: Creative Narrative in the Accessible Classroom”

Ground zero for climate change, Floridians are battling everything from sea level rise to cyanobacteria. Drawing from such human-nature interactions, my research examines the motivations for environmental action, providing insight into the human dimension of Florida’s environmental movement. More specifically, I investigate the religious and spiritual efforts of environmentalists passionately advocating for conservation, preservation, and sustainable solutions to the impending water crisis. In doing this, I explore everyday ethics and values that drive environmental change.

Kimberly Williams (Ph.D. Student, English)

“Passionate Teaching in the Research Environment: Creative Narrative in the Accessible Classroom”

My current research interests include sound studies, Afro-Pessimism, and Black feminist studies. This includes a research praxis on studying Black healing, love, and joy through aural sensory. I want to study the sound of The Clearing–Toni Morrison’s healing gathering for formerly enslaved people in her novel Beloved. I want to explore questions like: How does the sound of water in artist Calida Garcia Rawles’ work simultaneously interrogate the erotic and ressurection? What is the sound of queer afterlife in Danez Smith’s Don’t Call Us Dead: Poems?

Summer 2020 – National Humanities Center Regional Institute for Graduate Students – Podcasting the Humanities: Creating Digital Stories for the Public

Lauren Cox (Ph.D. Candidate, English)

“Podcasting the Humanities: Creating Digital Stories for the Public”

My dissertation project focuses on archival films, footage that lives in an archive and is not widely circulated, and how they activate and engage with the archive of film history. Some of the films reconstruct historical events through archival film footage, while other films experiment and create new films from film fragments found in archives. I argue that archival films do not just activate the film archive, they reactivate the film archive through new films out of the archival footage. Thus, the films awaken the dormant film reels of the archive through a transformation. Reactivating archival materials changes our understanding of the archive and history. The films I explore in my project range from films that remaster footage for a large theatrical release, films that use long-lost and marginalized film fragments to illuminate film histories, and the films of a director re-examining and reflecting on her oeuvre.


Luc Houle (Ph.D. Candidate, History)

“Objects and Places in an Inquiry-Based Classroom: Teaching, Learning, and Research in the Humanities”

Luc’s dissertation research tracks the movements of a thirteenth-century Count of Provence to open new avenues of inquiry into understandings of medieval power.  At this residency, he learned to use ArcGIS mapping software to bring these movements into focus in ways that are visual, digital, and shareable.  In addition, he learned specific techniques to use primary sources, such as archives, objects, and maps, to spark curiosity among students in the classroom, empowering them to ask and answer questions for themselves.