Scripps College Announces 2019–20 Humanities Institute Season, Focused on Humane Responses to Natural and Man-Made Disasters

Faces of various people next to the words 'World/Wounds: (De) Center the World/(Re) Centering Wounds'

Scripps College’s Humanities Institute has announced its slate of events for the 2019–20 academic year, which focuses on creating more humane responses to natural and man-made disasters, including genocide, earthquakes, hurricanes, and climate change. This year’s theme, “World/Wounds: (De)Centering the World/(Re)Centering Wounds,” will examine the ways in which well-documented disasters are being negotiated in the present day, as well as how communities that have experienced disasters have persisted and built hopeful visions for the future.

“It is clear to most of us today that both climatic and political pressures leave no one untouched,” said Professor Myriam J.A. Chancy, Hartley Burr Alexander Chair in the Humanities and Interim Director of the Humanities Institute. “The more we can learn from history and those most affected by climate change and political tumult, the better we can respond to the futures facing us all.”

The season will offer several multi-day events, including October’s Hip Hop Summit, a series of lectures and conversations that will examine how hip hop serves as a tool for critique, dissent, hope, and healing. In February, the College will host the Haiti Earthquake 10th Anniversary Symposium, a gathering of academics, artists, engineers, policy experts, scientists, writers, and scholars who will share their perspectives on the impacts of the Haiti earthquake, of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, and the relationship of both events to seismic and drought issues in Southern California.

The season will also bring a number of writers, scholars, and artists to campus. Award-winning Mennonite Canadian novelist Miriam Toews, author of Women Talking, will discuss her work with Chancy, whose novel 12 (Douze) will debut in early 2021 from Harper Collins Canada. Authors Sehba Sarwar, Billy-Ray Belcourt, and M. NourbeSe Philip will also share their writing in a series of interactive, multidisciplinary performances. Jasbir Puar, the graduate director of gender studies at Rutgers University and author of The Right to Maim: Debility, Capacity, Disability, will give a keynote address to the campus. Artists Ayumi Goto and Peter Morin will present how do you carry the land?, a dialogue between a Japanese Canadian diasporic woman and a Tahltan First Nation man that reflects on the ways they have been affected by colonialism.

“I am hoping that participants will come away from these events with a sense of renewed hope, vitality, inspiration, and tools with which to engage in productive conversations across difference,” said Chancy. “This is programming for the curious and the adventurous, while also grounded in the practical, the visionary, and the healing.”

Founded in 1986, the Scripps College Humanities Institute presents a thematic program on a topic related to the humanities. In the spirit of Scripps’ tradition of interdisciplinary education, programs include talks, readings, workshops, film screenings, performances, and art exhibitions from prominent and emerging scholars. These events are free and open to the public. Additional information is available on the College’s website.