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: Dangerous Conversations: Raced/Gendered/Classed Violence in the USA

“We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there is such a thing as being too late. This is no time for apathy or complacency. This is a time for vigorous and positive action.” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (1967)

How shall we live in a Post-Charleston America? This is obviously not the post-racial America many envisioned with the election and re-election of Barack Obama. An apt observation has been made that Post-Charleston USA doesn’t look much different from a Pre-Charleston USA, so the difference must be found in us, in how we respond. More and more people have come out against racial profiling, systems of injustice, implicit bias, and the indiscriminate use of deadly force, which can no longer be characterized as “Black issues,” but as real world practices that affect friends, family, classmates, and co-workers. The legally condoned killings of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Akai Gurley, Rumain Bribon, and 12-year-old Tamir Rice have raised concerns to a new level of awareness — outrage that moves us to identify the connections between racial, class, and gendered violence. How and why does America the nation-state promote systems of violence against its own people?

We will begin by recognizing how difference really works within the dominant logics of white privilege. That intersectional forms of difference are embedded within such dominant structures is a “given,” but they remain very difficult to excavate — but if we are to have meaningful discussions about social change, then these excavations must happen before we can celebrate “diversity.” As some people have observed, benefiting from white (or male or hetero or class) privilege is axiomatic; defending such privileges is a choice. So in addition to focusing on the innumerable acts of violence (micro- and macro-aggressions) that people of color face in their daily lives (i.e., Black male teens are 21 times more likely to be killed by police than white teens), let’s talk about why our nation-state tolerates the results of gun violence in our streets, in our public spaces, in our homes, and in our schools; why the USA has 5 percent of the world population and 25 percent of world prisoners (and also how African Americans and Latinos comprise 58 percent of the prison population but only 25 percent of  the U.S. total population); why rape culture is promoted in popular media and youth culture, in video games and movies, and practiced in our prisons and even on our campuses; why 67 percent of transgender prisoners in California have been assaulted by fellow inmates as well as prison officials; why extra-legal violence against “illegal” immigrants has been consistently ignored or even tolerated by various federal and state officials; how women in the USA ages 20 to 24 are at greatest risk of becoming victims of domestic violence, how more than 4 million women experience assault by partners each year, and  how 1 in 4 women reports experiencing domestic violence.

These statistics are not well-known, but even mainstream media cannot hide the devastating effects of these intersecting forms of violence in people’s lives in the contemporary United States. But as is the case in all conditions of crises, there are people who are doing tremendous work of excavation — and rebuilding; a work that is constant and simultaneous. The Humanities Institute will welcome scholars-artists-activists, writers, and musicians — all visionaries who use their brilliant skills and talents to further the discussions around difference by yoking them to the urgent and necessary work of dismantling inequality and social injustice.

Calendar of Events

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

Coming Soon

Visual Art Workshop, Day 2: Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle

October 6, 2015
4:15-5:30 p.m.

Vita Nova Hall
Room 100

Navigating the Historical Present

Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle

This will be a two-day studio- and group-discussion-based workshop in which  students will indulge, experiment and engage with facets of Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle’s practice that involve interventions upon historical documents and hegemonic single narratives that dominate the collective and personal identities of people labeled as Other. This workshop will serve as a catalyst of critical engagement around the concepts of power and who has the ability to authorize a single narrative about one group of individuals and the ensuing dangers that can arise from the abuses of power within our global society in the past, present and future. This workshop is open to Scripps students only and registration will be required at least one week in advance. Please contact (909) 621-8237 or for more information.

Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle is an interdisciplinary visual artist, writer and performer. Her practice fluctuates between collaborations and participatory projects with alternative gallery spaces within various communities to projects that are intimate and based upon her private experiences in relationship to historical events and contexts. A term that has become a mantra for her practice is the "Historical Present," as she examines the residue of history and how it affects our contemporary world perspective. She is an alumna of the California Institute of the Arts' Interschool program in which she received her MFA in Art & Critical Studies/Creative Writing. Her artwork and experimental writing has been exhibited and performed at The Studio Museum in Harlem, NY; Project Row Houses in Houston, TX; and The Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, CA. Hinkle’s work has been reviewed by the Los Angeles Times, LA Weekly, Artforum, The Huffington Post, The Washington Post and The New York Times. Hinkle was listed on The Huffington Post’s "Black Artists: 30 Contemporary Art Makers Under 40 You Should Know." Hinkle will be representing the United States as a Fulbright Scholar to Lagos, Nigeria 2015-16.

Her exhibition, "Kentifrican Interventions: Navigating the Historical Present" will be on display at the Clark Humanities Museum at Scripps College from November 13 to December 2, 2015. Please click here for information about the Exhibition Opening Reception on November 19, 2015.