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.
Public Lecture: Doris Sommer and George Lipsitz
February 18, 2016
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.
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.
George Lipsitz studies social movements, urban culture, and inequality. His books include MIDNIGHT AT THE BARRELHOUSE, FOOTSTEPS IN THE DARK, THE POSSESSIVE INVESTMENT IN WHITENESS, A 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.