The Humanities Institute

Founded in 1986, the Humanities Institute presents a thematic program each semester on a topic related to the humanities. As part of Scripps’ tradition of interdisciplinary education, this program includes lectures, conferences, exhibitions, performances, and film series bringing prominent and younger cutting-edge scholars to campus.

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Latest Program: Interventions and Resistance: Raced/ Gendered/ Classed Violence in the USA

In fall 2015, The Humanities Institute sought to address and confront some of the devastating effects of intersecting forms of violence committed against people of marginalized identities in contemporary United States. In spite of these crises, there are people doing tremendous work of interventions, agitation and resistance; work that is constant, multifaceted, simultaneous and that perseveres.

In spring 2016, The Humanities Institute will welcome scholars-artists-activists, poets, writers, and musicians — all visionaries who use their brilliant skills, intellect and talents to further the discussions of systemic and overt oppressive violence. As agents of greater change, they further the urgent and necessary work of dismantling systems of inequality and social injustice and provide us with pathway to how activism and social justice can better shape our world.

Calendar of Events

The full calendar of public events for this semester is available here.

Coming Soon

Public Lecture: Doris Sommer and George Lipsitz

February 18, 2016

Balch Auditorium
Scripps College

Art to the Rescue: Cultural Agents Take You By Surprise

Building on the extraordinary intervention made in scholarly and civic life by Doris Sommer’s “The Work of Art in the World,” this presentation explores how the lost promise of the humanities is being realized by artists and activists in aggrieved communities in New Orleans, Houston and  Los Angeles who are working with the few tools they have in the sparse arenas that are open to them. In the midst of what Sommer calls “a world gone gray from habit” that is “inured to suffering and afraid of love,” projects of art-based community making are decorating the way to other worlds.

(Cambridge, MA - Monday, June 6, 2005) - Several professors, including Doris Sommer, talk briefly about their summer plans and their summers as college students for the commencement issue of the Harvard Gazette. Sommer is pictured in her Cambridge home. Staff Photo Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard University News Office

Doris Sommer, Director of the Cultural Agents Initiative at Harvard University, is Ira and Jewell Williams Professor of Romance Languages and Literatures and of African and African American Studies.  Her academic and outreach work promotes development through arts and humanities, specifically through “Pre-Texts” in Boston Public Schools, throughout Latin America and beyond. Pre-Texts is an arts-based training program for teachers of literacy, critical thinking, and citizenship. Among her books are Foundational Fictions: The National Romances of Latin America (1991) about novels that helped to consolidate new republics; Proceed with Caution when Engaged by Minority Literature (1999) on a rhetoric of particularism; Bilingual Aesthetics: A New Sentimental Education (2004); and The Work of Art in the World: Civic Agency and Public Humanities (2014).  Sommer has enjoyed and is dedicated to developing good public school education. She has a B.A. from New Jersey's Douglass College for Women, and Ph.D. from Rutgers University.


14 July 2015-Santa Barbara, CA: George Lipsitz teaches courses in social movements, racial inequality and Black culture at the University of California, Santa Barbara.  His research interests include Race, Culture and Social Identities, 20th century U.S. history, urban history and decolonial imaginaries. His books include The Possessive Investment in Whiteness, Time Passages, A Life in the Struggle, Midnight at the Barrelhouse, Dangerous Crossroads, and How Racism Takes Place. Professor Lipsitz serves as the president of the board of directors of the African American Policy Forum and as chair of the advisory board of the Center for Black Studies Research. He received  his Ph.D in history from the University of Wisconsin.  Photo By Rod Rolle







George Lipsitz studies social movements, urban culture, and inequality. His books include MIDNIGHT AT THE BARRELHOUSEFOOTSTEPS IN THE DARKTHE POSSESSIVE INVESTMENT IN WHITENESSA LIFE IN THE STRUGGLE, and TIME PASSAGES. Lipsitz serves as chairman of the board of directors of the African American Policy Forum and is a member of the board of directors of the National Fair Housing Alliance. He received his Ph.D in history at the University of Wisconsin.