The Humanities Institute

Founded in 1986, the Humanities Institute presents a thematic program each semester pursuing a topic related to the humanities. As part of Scripps’ tradition of interdisciplinary education, these programs include conferences, lectures, exhibitions, and film series that bring together prominent and younger cutting-edge scholars.

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Latest Program: Silence

Is silence the absence of sound? Is it the space between words, a pause between heart­beats? Is silence a refusal to speak — or to respond? Is silence collaborative, complicit? Is it pleasant, peaceful? Contemplative? Is meditation a form of silence? Does silence signify absence? Does it entail presence? Does silence make you nervous? Is silence menacing? In fall 2014, the Humanities Institute explores the theory and practice of silence: voluntary and coerced, solitary and communal, literal and metaphoric. What are the politics of silence? How has silence been mandated and inflicted across historical periods and in a range of cultures and geographic locations? How are silence and gender related? Can silence be palpable, visual, deafening, architectural, dynamic? Hush. Let’s think about it.


Coming Soon: "Prison Obscura" exhibition Sept. 2 through Oct. 17

September 2, 2014
Clark Humanities Museum, Scripps College
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Prison Obscura presents rarely seen vernacular, surveillance, evidentiary, and prisoner-made photographs, shedding light on the prison industrial complex. It builds the case that Americans must face these images to grasp the proliferation of the U.S.  prison system and to connect with those it confines. It encourages visitors to ask why tax-paying, prison-funding citizens rarely get the chance to see such images and to consider what roles such pictures play for those within the system. For more on the exhibition and its curator, please visit Prison ObscuraThe New York TimesYouTube, and the LA Times.

Prison Obscura is on view from Monday through Friday from 9:00am-5:00pm in the Clark Humanities Museum in the Bette Cree Edwards Humanities Building at Scripps. Brook will also present “Prison Silences,” a public lecture for the Humanities Institute on October 2 at 4:15 p.m. in Garrison Theater at the Scripps College Performing Arts Center, with a reception to follow from 5:30 to 7 p.m. inside the exhibition.

Prison Obscura is a traveling exhibition curated by Pete Brook and made possible with the support of the John B. Hurford ’60 Center for the Arts and Humanities and Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery at Haverford College, Haverford, PA. Support for this presentation has been provided by the Scripps College Humanities Institute and by the Core Curriculum in Interdisciplinary Humanities at Scripps College.