Humanities Center Initiatives: Spring 2009

Humanities Center Initiatives/Spring 2009

"I'm delighted that with the support of President Jackson and pending external sources I am able to launch the Humanities Center in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences. This page will annotate our progress."   

John P. Harrington, Director of the Humanities Center and Dean of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences.

Lecture, Exhibits, and Events

As of January 1, the Humanities Center activities for Spring 2009 include:

  • January 14.  Humanities Center Faculty Colloquium: Linnda Caporael on the last annual conference on Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Advanced Collaborations (HASTAC), with discussion of research activities, faculty networks, and integration of Humanities and Technologies.  Dean's Office, 3:00-5:00.
  • January 30.  Book Launch and Signing: Mike Fortun, Promising Genomics: Iceland and decode Genetics in a World of Speculation.  Market Block Books, 290 River Street, Troy, 5:00-7:00.
  • March 4.  Humanites@Rensselaer and Hale Endowed Chair Lecture: Lesley A. Sharp, Barnard College and Columbia University, author of Strange Harvest, "Aesthetics and the Bioengineered Body," 12:30pm, Low CII 4050.
  • March 17.  Humanities Center Faculty Seminar: Susan Schreibman, Director, Digital Humanities Observatory, Ireland, on models for use of digital tools for Humanities research.
  • March 25.  Humanities Center Seminar: Interdisciplinary Research Workshop, sponsored by Imagining America.  Library Fischbach Room, 1:00-5:00.
  • April 2.  Humanities@Rensselaer Lecture: Zachary Sklar, screenwriter, journalist, co-author (with Oliver Stone) of the Academy Award-nominated screenplay for the film JFK, "How Do We Know What's True?: Fact and Fiction in the Media," 4:00, place TBA.
  • April 5.  Exhibition: "Signs of Change: Social Movement Cultures 1960s to Now," curated by Dara Greenwald and Josh MacPhee, developed by Mary Anne Stanizewski at Exit Art in New York City.  Arts Center of the Capital Region, 265 River Street, Troy.  Exhibition through June 7; reception 5:00-7:00 Friday, April 24 (Troy Night Out).
  • April 7.  Annual McKinney writing awards and reading by novelist Peter Carey.  Awards ceremony and reading 8:00, DCC308.
  • April 17.  Annual exhibition of work from the Electronic Media Arts and Communication Program.  Arts Center of the Capital Region, 265 River Street, Troy, opening 5:00-7:00, exhibition through April 24.
  • May 5.  Exhibition: Larry Kagan, "Flags: Variations on a Theme," Arts Center of the Capital Region, 265 River Street, Troy.  Exhibition through June 7; reception 5:00-7:00 Friday, May 29 (Troy Night Out).

For a listing of previous Humanities@Rensselaer Lectures, go here. 

External Partnerships

The Humanities Center has also taken steps to officially join several national initiatives that highlight scholarly and research expertise in the School of Humanities, Arts, and social sciences.  These include:  

  • Imagining America is a national consortium of colleges and universities committed to public scholarship in the arts, humanities, and design. It advances public scholarship that joins serious intellectual endeavor with a commitment to public practice and public consequence. It includes: scholarly and creative work jointly planned and carried out by university and community partners; intellectual work that produces a public good; artistic, critical, and historical work that contributes to public debates; efforts to expand the place of public scholarship in higher education, including the development of new programs and research on the successes of such efforts. As a member, the Humanities Center will explore projects, plans, and conferences with colleague members. Imagining America.
  • HASTAC. A consortium of humanists, artists, scientists, and engineers, of leading nonprofit research institutions, HASTAC is committed to new forms of collaboration across communities and disciplines fostered by creative uses of technology.  HASTAC is a source of external funding, and The Humanities Center supports faculty participation in its  conferences and activities.  HASTAC.
  • Consortium of Humanities Centers and Institutes (CHCI). Established in 1988, the Consortium serves as a site for the discussion of issues germane to the fostering of cross-disciplinary activity and as a network for the circulation of information and the sharing of resources. It has a membership of over one hundred and fifty centers and institutes that are remarkably diverse in size and scope and are located in the United States, Australia, Canada, Finland, Taiwan, Ireland, Sri Lanka, the United Kingdom, and other countries. The Humanities Center at Rensselaer is a registered member of CHCI.  CHIC.

Curriculum Development

To coincide with the Fall 2008 opening of EMPAC, the Humanities Center initiated a curriculum development project that will introduce undergraduate students to a broad range of performance related activities.  This seminar ("Performance and Performing Arts") will introduced new RPI students to theory and history of performing arts in an effort to enrich their experience of media arts and EMPAC on campus and in the region.  "Performance" is now a key concept in Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences.  In the first, it describes a literary tradition.  In the second, it describes artistic practices in music, two and three-dimensional art.  In the third, it describes interactions of self and society.  This new seminar for first year students will explore performance and performing arts in a communication-intense teaching and learning environment.  In spring 20098 this curriculum effort will focus on a first-year Living and Learning Community curriculum on media arts.


The Digital Humanities Center at the National Endowment for Humanities has given advance notice of a new external fellowship opportunities.  NEH Fellowships at Digital Humanities Centers.