The challenges of this new century call for innovative ways of translating research into action, creating citizens who will be more effective in their personal and professional lives. A mid-size regional state university, EIU is a model for democratic, liberal arts education and takes seriously its responsibility to serve as the intellectual and cultural center of the surrounding region.
With the development of a Center for the Humanities, housed in the College of Arts and Humanities, EIU embraces the opportunity to generate conversations that challenge and define our culture and our conventions. Translating between historical and contemporary worlds, and exploring the benefits of disciplinary cross-fertilization, we also strive to establish communication between the studies of academia and the everyday lives in our community.
Programs and courses sponsored by this center will explore the translation from global investigations by university researchers to local understandings of culture. Our center for the humanities will bring together diverse traditions and methods of critical inquiry. We envision a place where faculty and students can access popular notions of the humanities and make our specialized work speak to the public, even as we reach out to our audiences with new information and ideas to foster creativity, engender tolerance, and spark further dialogue.
We are currently developing the following:
- Affiliate faculty and graduate students in interdisciplinary studies.
- Interdisciplinary courses in the humanities at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.
- Annual Humanities Speaker Series with presentations by both visiting and EIU scholars. Themes are for two years and link together initiatives across campus in varied fields.
- Faculty fellowships for visiting or on-campus scholars to pursue innovative interdisciplinary projects.
- Faculty and graduate student reading groups.
- Campus-wide lunches and panel discussions about interdisciplinary study.
Harriet Washington, renowned medical ethicist, was a Center for the Humanities guest on the EIU campus in February to discuss issues related to her research and the EIUReads! book of this academic year, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. She visited classes, lunched with philosophy students, and gave a provocative and well-attended public lecture.
Harriet Washington is the author of the forthcoming Deadly Monopolies: The Shocking Corporate Takeover of Life Itself and Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present, which won the 2007 National Book Critics’ Circle Award and was named one of the year’s Best Books by Publishers’ Weekly.
Washington has won many other awards for her work on medicine and ethics and has been a Research Fellow in Ethics at Harvard Medical School, a fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health, a Knight Fellow at Stanford University, a senior research scholar at the National Center for Bioethics at Tuskegee University and a Visiting Scholar at the DePaul University College of Law.
On April 18, the Center for the Humanities hosted a Spring interdisciplinary luncheon celebrating its second anniversary on campus. For more information and pictures, please visit here
Please consider applying to become a faculty speaker for the Humanities Center! You can apply here.