All resources in NHC Virtual Graduate Student Summer Residency 2020

Humanities Moment: Considering Peace

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When I think about the Humanities, this broad category, I also think of the term human, and how often its use can also be a measure of exclusion.  I recall the words of Alexander Weheliye and consider the slippage between “full humans, not-quite humans, and nonhumans” that has characterized so much of the racialized violence and strife upon which this country is founded. 

Material Type: Reading

Author: Francesca Romeo

My Humanities Moment 2020: Children’s experiences and voices in literature and social research

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Hello, I am Eugenia Zavaleta, I am a cultural anthropologist from El Salvador whose research is focused on children’s voices in the context of human mobilities (migration, deportations, and internal displacement). I want to share in this humanities’ moment how my interest and passion for including children’s voices on research shaped my current research topics. I was interested in children’s voices since I was a child through my reading habits. I want to talk about two meaningful books, which were very important in my childhood and made me think all the time how important children’s voices in every historical moment were. One of them was Anna Frank’s Diaries, and the other was My friend, the painter, by Lygia Bojunga Nunes. 

Material Type: Reading

Author: Eugenia Zavaleta

My Humanities Moment: Catching the Theatre Bug

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Growing up I was painfully shy kid with these gigantic glasses that covered up my whole face who barely talked to anyone. But when I was eight years old I got talked into being involved with this tiny talent show thing that some people we knew were putting together. And somehow my mother convinced me to actually play a character and sing onstage. In front of people. I was terrified of talking in front of people much less singing in front of them. But she convinced me to just try it just once, and if didn’t like it she promised I wouldn’t ever have to do it again.

Material Type: Reading

Author: Lindsay Adams

My Humanities Moment: Judy Chicago's "The Dinner Party"

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When I walked into Judy Chicago’s "The Dinner Party" installation on the fourth floor of the Brooklyn Museum three years ago, I burst into tears almost immediately. It felt like something holy. The delicate casts of light and shadow on the well-lit table against the dark, solemn walls invite contemplation, a tender encounter. The question the installation asks is as resonant now as it was in 1979 when Judy Chicago completed it: do women have a seat at the table? 

Material Type: Reading

Author: Kirstin Wagner

My Humanities Moment: Mary Shelley and Frankenstein

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In her 1831 Introduction to the third edition of Frankenstein; or the Modern Prometheus, Mary Shelley reflects on the origins of her most famous work. The novel’s origin story, as she tells it, is in many ways a story of high expectations and frustrated ambition, of overcoming silence and using one’s voice, even in places where it feels like that voice isn’t welcome. Shelley writes of how she had always been inclined to literary pursuits, but that she especially felt pressure from her husband to “prove myself worthy of my parentage, and enrol myself on the page of fame." At the same time that she was encouraged to enter into a literary career, however, Shelley implies that she felt uncomfortable engaging actively in the elite literary circles she was immersed in: “Many and long were the conversations between Lord Byron and Shelley to which I was a devout but nearly silent listener," she writes, attesting to both her fascination with their ideas and her shyness when it came to joining the conversation herself. The pressure and desire to prove herself, coupled with a distinct feeling that she did not belong, hangs over this essay, her introduction to the novel that would enroll her name on the page of fame more indelibly—at least in the popular imagination—than her husband or either of her parents

Material Type: Reading

Author: Christie Debelius

My Humanities Moment: Moai Statues of Easter Island

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There are some moments in life that are so overwhelmingly beautiful that all you can do is stand in awe, and admire the confluence of heritage, timelessness, art and the human spirit. I had such a moment when I saw the Moai statues on Easter Island, created by the Rapa Nui people between the years 1250 and 1500. These monolithic statues are found throughout Polynesia, and were erected to not only honor community elders of that region, but also seen as a repository of the sacred spirits of their ancestors.

Material Type: Diagram/Illustration, Reading

Author: Meghalee Das

My Humanities Moment: "Night" by Elie Wiesel

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I first read Night by Elie Wiesel in middle school and it has had a tremendous impact on who am I and my career. Wiesel reminds his readers that they should be true to themselves no matter what happens in their lives and that revenge does not lead to healing. He also highlights that hating those who are different is evil and to always stand for what is right. 

Material Type: Reading

Author: Samantha Lack

My Humanities Moment: van Gogh's Sunflowers

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My name is Cynthia Guo, and I am a Ph.D. candidate in Psychology from Emory University. Even though my discipline is in social science, and I would self-identify as a social scientist, I have always felt a pull towards the humanities. I think it is quite unfortunate that the disciplinary boundaries impede the scientists and the humanists from talking to each other. In my teaching, I have been very intentional about bringing together the sciences and humanities to provide students interdisciplinary tools to approach beauty and truth.

Material Type: Reading

Author: Cynthia Guo

Not Poetic Times

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At the beginning of April 2020, I purchased Black Nature: Four Centuries of African American Nature Poetry, edited by Camille T. Dungy. For about a month, I replaced my morning habit of scrolling through the news and social media on my phone with opening this collection at a random page and reading a few poems. Where I had previously been skimming across images and headlines, gathering snippets of paranoia-inducing information about the pandemic and its fallout, I now paused and slowly digested careful language about starlings and rivers, cotton fields and oak trees, geraniums and yellow jackets.

Material Type: Reading

Author: Alex Moore

Playful Imaginaries: The Radical Feminism of Suffragetto

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The radical British suffrage group, the Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU), is probably best remembered for its direct action and civil disobedience. However, their legacy also includes a little known board game, Suffragetto. At the time of its creation (c. 1907/1908), Suffragetto provided a way to circulate feminist ideas into homes and socialize players into new ways of thinking of in/equality. Today the game allows players to have their own "humanities moment" by reenacting the radical feminist street activism of the WSPU and confronting historical forms of police violence that might seem all too familiar. 

Material Type: Reading

Author: Renee Shelby

Ring Around the Rosy

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And that’s how I ended up sitting outside my dance studio in a pink leotard and pink tights, my hot pink Barbie (TM) backpack at my side, my hair in a glittery bun, nose deep in The Two Towers. Even before I could read, I would take books around with me as a comfort item and to this day I take books with me (now in the form of the Kindle app on my phone) because you never know when you might have a few minutes to read. So eight year old me nestled in a corner reading was not an unusual sight but one woman, in particular, decided to take issue with my activities that day. 

Material Type: Reading

Author: Samantha Baugus

Roots by Haley

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In this "Humanities Moment," I share my experience reading a specific passage in Alex Haley's Roots when I was about 12 years old. It profoundly shaped my undergraduate and graduate work. This moment had a big impact on my orientation to thinking about politics, the past and present, human relations, and human experience.

Material Type: Reading

Author: Katerina Traut

Writing from Wonder

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The humanities certainly add color and texture to our lives, but they are more than an adornment. The humanities give us the vocabulary and the tools for making sense of the past, present, and future. For me, they also gave me a purpose.

Material Type: Reading

Author: Anna Barritt

Humanities Moment: Fingerprints in Clay

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I have always been interested in material culture and handmade objects, but it has not always been clear to me how I could merge that interest with being a historian. I like to examine historical artifacts to learn past ways of making items and experiment with incorporating those techniques into items I make. Still, as someone who does not research material culture, it seemed like objects had limited utility for my work. After all, how much could an undecorated and unmarked bowl, petticoat, or blanket really tell me about the life and worldview of the person who made it? Leading a brick-making station during a Juneteenth celebration at Historic Stagville in Durham, North Carolina showed me that objects’ significance is sometimes because they raise more questions than they answer.Photos by Jason Melius, Used with Permission.

Material Type: Reading

Author: Laurie Medford