Dean of the School of Arts & Sciences Gloria Culver announced the upcoming creation of a Humanities Center at UR in a press release published on Thursday, April 23.

The Humanities Center will “support multidisciplinary engagement around literature, history, the arts and philosophies of cultures past and present,” the press release stated. The Center’s goal is to enhance study and research opportunities within the humanities at UR. The Center itself is still in its planning stages, but Culver hopes that it will open its doors within the next academic year. She has appointed History Professor Jean Rubin as interim director, and Rubin will head the project in its first year.

The plan is for the Humanities Center to be located in Rush Rhees Library, which is already home to related programs, such as the Digital Humanities Center. Culver stated that “collaboration and multidisciplinary studies will be a central part of the Center’s future.” The Center will strike collaborative and mutually-beneficial relationships with programs such as the “Mellon Fellows,” a graduate program funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation that “unites the study of humanities with the latest technologies”; The Humanities Project, a program focusing on research and production of art, music and thought as they pertain to the aesthetic experience of the world; and the aforementioned Digital Humanities Center.

Once the Center is opened, junior Faculty Fellows will work with students to organize research, seminars, presentations and open discussions both within and outside the humanities. “Scholarship will be a very large component of the Center,” Culver said. In addition to helping students organize research, the Faculty Fellows will also teach classes. The work of the Center will revolve around a central “theme” which will change each academic year. Culver and Rubin chose “Humanities at the Crossroads: Charting Our Future” as the first year’s theme.

“Our work has only just begun,” Culver stated. “Lots of hard work is still needed for the Humanities Center to become successful, vibrant and transformative.” Culver also noted that “creating a Humanities Center that will positively impact students and faculty alike will be very rewarding and critical for raising the profile of the humanities on campus and more broadly.”

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