Center for the Humanities & the Public Sphere University of Florida
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
University of Florida
Welcome to a new academic year! The UF Center for the Humanities and the Public Sphere is gearing up for its eighth year of work in north central Florida! After a productive year of research leave at the Centre des études supérieures de civilisation médiévale at the Université de Poitiers, I am feeling recharged and excited to take up again the reins of the CHPS. I want to thank Dr. Sophia Acord for having so ably directed the Center in my absence, broadening and enriching our programming and outreach in the public humanities together with Dr. Jordana Cox, who was the Center’s first Postdoctoral Associate in the Humanities (2015-16). We are all lucky that the Center was in such able and enthusiastic hands, and I am grateful that Sophia’s boundless energy, enthusiasm, and talent will continue unabated as the Center’s Associate Director; I also congratulate Jordie on her current postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Richmond. I also offer sincere thanks to Timothy Blanton, our Center Graduate Coordinator, who oversaw many of the Center’s core event series in 2015-16 and who has stayed on this year to oversee the Center’s brown-bag events, DHWG meet-ups, publicity, and many of our day-to-day activities. Please drop by our offices in 200 Walker Hall just off the Plaza of the Americas on the University of Florida campus to meet our team, take advantage of our programs and resources, and make use of our BookScan Station.
This year, the Center has, as in the past, co-sponsored numerous events on and off campus, including conferences, performances, films, and workshops in the humanities and related fields, as always made possible by the generous backing of the Rothman Endowment. This year’s eight-part annual CHPS speaker series kicks off on 15 September and is entitled “Death: Confronting the Great Divide” and includes seven public lectures and one documentary. Drawing on contemporary examples in the fall semester and historical examples in the spring, invited scholars will draw our attention to the inevitability of the end facing all living creatures, the various ways in which humans have learned to live with knowledge of their mortality, and how bereavement rituals impact our environment and community. With input from scholars in a range of disciplines, including historians, scholars of religious, environmental, and Latin American studies, and historians of medicine and art history, the series reveals how learning in the humanities can help us better understand one of the most integral parts of life: the end of life.
This year, the Center has awarded five grants in its Programs in the Public Humanities that fund UF and community partners to organize public humanities events collaboratively with the support of the Rothman Endowment and reflect the best practices developed by Imagining America, a national organization promoting public engagement to which University of Florida has belonged since 2009. The awards this year have gone to: Katerie Gladdys (Art & Art History), Anna Prizzia (UF Food Systems Coordinator), and Peggy Macdonald (Matheson History Museum) for a movable and interactive public exhibit called “The Seed Cabinet”; Gabrielle Bynam (Hippodrome Theatre), Jeffery Pufahl (Center for the Arts and Medicine), and David Ballard (Gainesville Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Affairs Department) for “Who Started the Beef?”, a two-week theatre intensive training workshop for local students (June 25th - August 8th); Esther Romeyn (Center for European Studies) and Richard Macmaster (Interfaith Alliance for Immigrant Justice) for a four-part film series at Hippodrome Theatre called “Refugees in Film”; Whitney Sanford (Religion) and Peggy Macdonald (Matheson History Museum) for an exhibit “River of Life, River of Dreams: Springs, Fish Camps, and Old Florida Environmentalism along the St. Johns River”; and Val Leitner (Oral History Consultant) and the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program for “Tracing the Tide: Seahorse Key Marine Laboratory Oral History Project”. The Center’s Public Humanities grant program is meant to integrate the humanities on and off campus through partnerships that bridge this divide and improve the quality of life in North Central Florida.
I am pleased that in the past year, the Center has awarded four grants from the Rothman Endowment to enhance the University of Florida’s Library collections. These awards have gone to Vandana Baweja (College of Design, Construction, and Planning) for books on urban landscapes and their representation in cinema; Lisa Iglesias (School of Art + Art History) for texts that highlight diverse, underrepresented groups within a vast array of cultural production; Francesc Morales (Department of Spanish and Portuguese) for the acquisition of films, non-fiction, and fictional sources on Spanish terrorism; and Terje Ostebo (Department of Religion) for resources on Global Islam. These grants enrich teaching at UF with resources that can be used in the classroom and beyond.
With the support of the Rothman Endowment, the Center awarded five Rothman Faculty Summer Fellowships to UF faculty members to support their research initiatives, including: Hélène Blondeau (Literatures, Languages, and Cultures), Michelle Campos (History), Evan Hart (African-American Studies), Jennifer Rea, (Classics), and Jodi Schorb (English). Recipients of the Tedder Family and Rothman Doctoral Fellowships in the Humanities include Nicholas Foreman (History), Brian Hamm (History), Bhakti Mamtora (Religion), Kenneth Noble (College of Education), and Ralph Patrello (History).These fellows’ work explore the humanities over time, including French language in Canada and the EU, early twentieth-century Jerusalem, Black women’s health in the US, Christian martyrdom in ancient Carthage, sexuality in the pre-Civil War era, food supply in early New Orleans, Portuguese migration in Cartagena, Gujurat sacred texts, police presence in American classrooms, and elite resilience in late antique southern Gaul. Please join us for brown-bag and afternoon presentations and discussions of these ground-breaking research projects at the Center in fall 2016 and spring 2017.
With the support of the Rothman Endowment and UF Honors Program, the Center is pleased to support a Fall 2016 team-taught course on “Engineering the Renaissance” taught by Mary Watt (Languages, Literatures, and Cultures) and Mark Law (Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering), which will introduce students to pivotal moments in technological innovation and the physics and engineering discoveries underlying those changes in the European Renaissance. The Center staff are also pleased to be working with the UF Honors Program to teach a Spring 2016 one-credit course on “Death” linked to the second half of the annual speaker series, and to repeat the 2-credit course “The Humanities and Social Change” also in Spring 2016.
Summer 2016 also brought UF’s second summer seminar in the humanities, “Humanities and the Sunshine State: (Re)Discovering Florida’s Waters” (June 12-18, 2016), funded by a grant from the Florida Humanities Council (made possible through a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities), the UF College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and the Center’s Rothman Endowment. In partnership with the UF Center for Precollegiate Education and Training, this program brought 27 rising high school juniors and seniors to UF for a one week residential program exploring how contemporary humanities research on water can help students unpack contemporary political topics about tourism, food justice, aquifer sustainability, industrial growth, and race relations. The following week, CHPS, with grant funding from the Florida Humanities Council’s Teaching Florida Educator Workshop Series, and co-sponsorship from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Rothman Endowment, and Prof. Martha Monroe in the School of Forest Resources & Conservation, launched its first ever teacher training workshop. “What Sustains Us? Florida Ecosystems in an Era of Rapid Change” brought twenty Florida educators to campus to bring humanities perspectives into dialogue with faculty and master teachers in ecosystem science through site visits to human-shaped landscapes including Cedar Key, Silver Glen Springs Recreation Area, and the Austin Cary Forest.
With renewed support from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the Office of Research, the Center entered its sixth year of grant-writing events in the humanities and single-blind humanities fellowship and grant proposal reviews with workshops on grant-writing geared at graduate students and faculty in the humanities. This year’s workshops will shed light on important humanities funding agencies and their application processes, and multi-stage workshops leading participants through the complex grant-writing process. We also 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. This year’s Digital Humanities Working Group (DHWG) meet-ups, convened by Poushali Bhadury, Ph.D. Candidate in English, Tim Blanton, M.A. Candidate in History, Sophia Krzys Acord, the Center’s Associate Director, and Laurie Taylor, Digital Scholarship Librarian at UF’s George A. Smathers Libraries, continues to meet on a monthly basis. The DHWG has grown to over 300 individuals, and is pleased to support UF’s new Digital Humanities Graduate Certificate.
Please keep an eye out for the Center’s annual call for proposals for workshops, colloquia, library enhancement grants, faculty and doctoral fellowships, team-teaching, programs, public humanities grants, and publication subvention grants, all supported by the Robert and Margaret Rothman Endowment for the Humanities, the Humanities Fund (which is supported by public contributions), and partnerships with the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and College of the Arts. And, I encourage you to sign up for our weekly Humanities Agenda e-newsletter and share your suggestions and ideas by writing to humanities-center(at)ufl.edu.
Many thanks for your continuing support over the coming year; we could not do what we do without you! Our door is always open and we encourage you to email or drop by if you’ve been thinking about a humanities project and are looking for encouragement or possible collaborators. We look forward to working with you.
Rothman Chair and Director
Center for the Humanities and the Public Sphere
University of Florida
26 August 2016
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