back to news Nov. 17, 2021

Arts and Humanities Inaugural Lecture Series returns with renewed vigor

The Arts and Humanities Inaugural Lecture Series has been a source of pride for faculty promoted to the rank of professor, a source of inspiration for colleagues and a source of celebration for the College of Arts and Sciences.

Last month, the lecture series relaunched with several changes geared toward reaching a wider audience. Jared Gardner, director of the Humanities Collaboratory, and Dana Renga, dean of arts and humanities, decided to collaborate on the series after realizing they had similar ideas to make lectures more engaging.

New after the relaunch, professors have the option of a joint presentation that tackles similar topics from different academic disciplines. In the first attempt, Professors Elizabeth Hewitt of the Department of English and Greg Anderson of the Department of History had thought of interviewing each other on the plurality of worlds and met up several times to get more familiar with each other’s work before that evening.

“We encourage speakers to do what they want with the event in order to really share their ideas and their excitement in a way that’s accessible across disciplines,” Gardner said.

Although no inaugural lectures were livestreamed during the pandemic, Gardner knew from hosting Humanities Collaboratory events that the virtual format has assisted with event attendance. Faculty don’t need to worry about child care, parking or feeling unwell when they watch online.

These structural changes to the lecture series open doors for more participation from across the arts and humanities with the hope that the lectures motivate faculty to form partnerships and lend mutual support across disciplines.

“The more we recover that passion and joy that brought us here in the first place, the more students are going to want to be around it,” Gardner said.


Upcoming 2021-2022 Arts and Humanities Inaugural Lectures

All Arts and Humanities Inaugural Lectures are held from 4-6 p.m. in the Faculty Club ABCD Rooms (2nd floor across from the Main Dining Room).

Thursday, Nov. 18

  • Susan Lang (English): "Aviate, Navigate, Communicate: The Essential Interdisciplinarity of Research in Writing Studies"

Thursday, Dec. 2 (Joint Lecture)

  • Kay Halasek (English): "Metaphors We Teach By: Reflections on Pedagogy in the Age of Big Data"
  • Scott Jones (Music): "Trading Efficiency for Outcomes: Large Ensemble Music Making without a Conductor"

Wednesday, Feb. 23 (Joint Lecture)

  • Sara Crosby (English)
  • Sam White (History)

Wednesday, March 23 (Joint Lecture)

  • Ryan Friedman (English)
  • Dana Renga (French and Italian)