Center for the Humanities & the
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
University of Florida
Feeling much energized after a year’s research leave, I am very excited to be back at the University of Florida. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Sean Adams publicly for leading the Humanities Center in my absence and for organizing with Sophia Acord what promises to be an exciting year of events! I’d also like to express my thanks to Sarah Harms and Megan Leroy for their continued hard work at the Center. Please feel free to drop by our offices in 200 Walker Hall just off the Plaza of the Americas on the University of Florida campus to learn more about our growing array of programs and resources.
In our sixth year of operation, the Center has put together a six-part lecture series over the 2014-15 academic year. We have also co-sponsored numerous events on and off campus, with conferences, performances, films, and workshops among them, all possible with the generous support of the CHPS’ Rothman Endowment and the Yavitz Fund. We think that this year’s line-up promises to enrich the University of Florida and the North Central Florida community with academic events and cultural initiatives in the humanities and allied subjects.
On our calendar (www.humanities.ufl.edu/calendar), you will find information about our upcoming series “The Work of the Humanities: Critical Thinking in Life and Labor”, in which our speakers will focus on how active engagement in the disciplines of the humanities allows us to understand and adapt to changes in the workplace and life in general. In an increasingly global and digital world, these disciplines enhance our appreciation for what it means to be human in rapidly changing times. We are also very pleased to be supporting lectures, workshops, and performances highlighted on our calendar and the many partnerships both on and off campus that they involve. These events illuminate the humanities at work in a wide range of areas, including: sustainable building practices, science fiction, bilingualism, public scholarship, the public role of religion, community identities, and social inequality.
We are very excited to announce the Center’s award of four grants in our newest Programs in the Public Humanities initiative to promote cultural engagement in and around Gainesville with the support of the Rothman Endowment. The humanities engage in creative expression, analysis of ideas, and questions of value to improve the human condition. This new grant program helps to bring these conversations to the forefront of our everyday lives by promoting academic and community partnerships in planning events and programs to strengthen our shared communities. The upcoming projects include “The Heart of a Culture: the Santos of Xavier Colón” exhibition organized by the UF University Galleries (Amy Vigilante) and City of Gainesville, Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Department (Russell Etling) with exhibition dates of Sept. 27, 2014 – Jan. 3, 2015 in the Thomas Center’s Main Gallery; the Gainesville Modern Architectural Film Series organized by Gainesville Modern (David Forest) and the UF School of Architecture (Martin Gold); Race, Class, and Gender in the Panama Canal Zone: An Original Play and Discussion created by Deborah B. Dickey (Playwright and Director) and the Panama Canal Museum Collection at UF Smathers Libraries (Rebecca Fitzsimmons) which will support a public staged reading at the Acrosstown Repertory Theatre, a post-show public discussion, an educational outreach event, and scenes performed for English classes in the Alachua County School District; and Exploring Local Diversity and African Traditions: A Community Storytelling Series, organized by the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program (Paul Ortiz) and Yopp! Inc. (Bethany Hunter), which will foster dialogue in our local and global community by hosting professional storytelling sessions after school and on weekends for four hours a month. Through projects like these, the Center for the Humanities and the Public Sphere seeks to promote broad civic engagement with the communities in which we live and teach.
The Programs in the Public Humanities grant program supplements the rich offering of public humanities activities already happening in the North Florida community and highlighted on the newly revamped Imagining America blog for UF at: http://ufhumanities.tumblr.com/. The Center is also currently collaborating with IFAS on the national Extension Reconsidered Project of Imagining America by co-organizing a Sept. 4 gathering – see: http://imaginingamerica.org/research/extension-reconsidered-initiative/.
In addition to the events publicized on our calendar, the Center has awarded two grants from the Rothman Endowment to enhance the University of Florida’s Library collections. One grant has been awarded to Jack Kugelmass, Director of the Center for Jewish Studies, and Rebecca Jefferson, Head of the Price Library of Judaica, to help fund the acquisition of the Buenos Aires Yiddish daily Di prese published between 1918 and the 1980s, to augment the University of Florida’s Judaica and Latin American Collections. A second grant has been awarded to Alessia Colarossi and Deborah Amberson in the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures to supplement the University of Florida Libraries’ Italian resources in the fields of literary modernism, contemporary cinema, immigrant literature and contemporary cultural studies.
With the support of the Rothman Endowment, the Center awarded a record seven Rothman Faculty Summer Fellowships to UF faculty members to support their research initiatives, including: Alexander Burak (Languages, Literatures, and Cultures, CLAS), Margaret Butler (School of Music, College of the Arts), Benjamin Hebblethwaite (Languages, Literatures, and Cultures, CLAS), Kevin Marshall (School of Theatre and Dance, College of the Arts), Maya Stanfield-Mazzi (School of Art and Art History, College of the Arts), Ana de Prada Peréz (Spanish and Portuguese Studies, CLAS), and Dr. Peter Westmoreland (Philosophy, CLAS). The recipients of the Tedder Family and Rothman Doctoral Fellowships in the Humanities include Deborah Andrews (Anthropology), Kevin Funk (Political Science), Yeonhaun Kang (English), and Andrew Welton (History). Please join us for brown-bag and afternoon presentations and discussions of their innovative research projects at the Center in fall 2014 and spring 2015.
After a short hiatus due to sabbatical leaves of faculty and scheduling difficulties, the Center is pleased to announce four upcoming team-taught courses in spring 2015 sponsored by the Rothman Endowment with the support of the UF Honors Program. These include “Discovering Physics: History of Ideas about the Universe and Humanity's Place in it” (Undergraduate Lecture) taught by Peter Hirschfeld (Physics) and Fred Gregory (History), “Women Writers & Classical Myth” (Upper Division Lecture) taught by Marsha Bryant (English) and Mary Ann Eaverly (Classics); “Text Mining and Manipulation, Information Visualization, & Digital Poetics” (Graduate Seminar), taught by Terry Harpold (English) & TBD (CISE) in Spring 2015; and “2+2=5: Re-framing Literature through Mathematics” (Undergraduate Course) taught by Eric Kligerman (LLC) & Kevin Knudson (Mathematics).
With renewed support from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the Office of Research, the Center continues with a fourth year of grant-writing events in the humanities and single-blind humanities fellowship and grant proposal reviews. These include one workshop each semester on grant-writing for graduate students and faculty in the humanities, in addition to a workshop on grants offered by the Florida Humanities Council and a writing master-class in spring 2015 with Eric Hayot, professor of comparative literature at Penn State and most recently author of The Elements of Academic Style: Writing for the Humanities. Please note that we continue to update our website with information about UF support for grant-writing and internal and external grant opportunities in the humanities, public humanities, and digital humanities for faculty and graduate students. Our listings feature a broad variety of opportunities for faculty and graduate students, including those concentrated on public and digital work in the humanities. The Digital Humanities Working Group, convened by Sophia Krzys Acord, the Center’s Associate Director, Laurie Taylor, Digital Humanities Librarian at UF’s George A. Smathers Libraries, and Dhanashree Thorat, Doctoral student in English, continues to meet on a monthly basis.
I hope that if you are a part of the UF community, you will keep an eye out for the Center’s annual call for proposals for workshops, colloquia, library enhancement grants, summer fellowships, team-teaching, and public humanities grants, all supported by the Robert and Margaret Rothman Endowment for the Humanities and the Yavitz Fund. You can also sign up for our weekly electronic newsletter or leave feedback or suggestions by writing to humanities-center at ufl.edu.
My sincere thanks for your continued support of the Center for the Humanities and the Public Sphere!
Rothman Chair and Director
Center for the Humanities and the Public Sphere
University of Florida
Center for the Humanities
and the Public Sphere
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
200 Walker Hall
P.O. Box 118030
University of Florida
Gainesville, FL 32611