Welcome to a new academic year at the Wolf Humanities Center, an innovative research center charged with demonstrating how vital the humanities are to the life of the mind and the health of society, and how fundamentally connected they are with many areas of inquiry in medicine, law, business, and the arts and sciences. Our annual theme-based public events and fellowship programs, together with other efforts such as our Humanities at Large collaborations, invite people of all ages and places to join us in discovering our common stake in the “thinking arts.”
This year, our theme is Choice, led by topic director Sophia Rosenfeld, Walter H. Annenberg Professor of History. We hope our online intellectual community will enrich your days at this challenging time, and that you and your communities are coping. Details of the programs can be found in our online brochure; please check this site regularly for updates and changes. Heartfelt thanks to our incredible staff members—Dru Baker, Sarah Milinski, Sara Varney, and Alexis Rider—for their hard work under difficult conditions this summer. Thanks also to Professor Ayako Kano, for her astonishing work as Faculty Director of the Undergraduate Humanities Forum since 2018, and thanks and welcome to Associate Professor David Spafford as he takes over this role.
The recent spectacles of police brutality against and murder of Black people in America, as well as the worldwide protests that have risen up in response, have catalyzed an ongoing dialogue about how the Wolf Humanities Center can more actively participate in dismantling the structures of racism and other intersecting forms of violence and exclusion. For more details on our work-in-progress, please see this message. We welcome suggestions on this matter.
I will be stepping down at the end of June 2021 to make way for our new director, Jamal Elias, Walter H. Annenberg Professor of the Humanities and Professor of Religious Studies, who will be launching our year of Migration (2021-22), led by next year’s topic director Dagmawi Woubshet, Ahuja Family Presidential Associate Professor of English. We look forward to what lies ahead! We welcome our incoming fellows and speakers and look forward to learning with and from them—and you—this year.
Best wishes and good health to you all,
Director, Wolf Humanities Center