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Humanities and the Dream of America

Humanities and the Dream of America
JHB 100
Time: Nov 11th, 4:00 pm End: Nov 11th, 6:00 pm
Interest Categories: United States Studies, Spanish & Portuguese (FAS), Sociology (FAS), Slavic Studies (FAS), Religion, Study of (FAS), Political Science, Philosophy (UTM), Philosophy (FAS), Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations (FAS), Music, Faculty of , Medieval Studies (FAS), Linguistics (FAS), Language Studies (UTM), Italian Studies (FAS), History (FAS), History & Philosophy of Science & Technology (FAS), Historical Studies (UTM), German (FAS), French (FAS), Ethics, English and Drama (UTM), English (FAS), East Asian Studies (FAS), Drama, Theatre, Performance Studies (FAS), Critical Theory, Comparative Literature (FAS), Communication, Culture, Information and Technology (UTM), Classics (FAS), Art (FAS)
Lecture by Geoffrey Harpham

How America Invented the Humanities

Although the subject matter of the humanities extends backward to the first stirrings of human culture, the institutional category of the humanities is an artifact of the American academy given decisive expression in the years after World War II.  The humanities were invented in America as an expression of American culture, and were advanced by their supporters as an instrument of American national interests.  This talk will take up the distinctive history of the humanities in the United States, focusing on the role of state support, the importance of private philanthropy, and on the the silent assumptions about scholarship that inform the work of humanists.

Geoffrey Galt Harpham
is president and director of the National Humanities Center in Research Triangle Park, NC, the only independent institute for advanced study in the world dedicated to the humanities.  Under his leadership, the Center has sponsored a major initiative bringing humanists and scientists together to assess the impact of recent empirical work on our understanding of the human, an initiative that resulted in a special issue of Daedalus in 2009.  He is the author of nine books, including The Ascetic Imperative in Culture and Criticism, One of Us:  The Mastery of Joseph Conrad, Shadows of Ethics:  Criticism and the Just Society, and The Humanities and the Dream of America.  His longstanding interests include the role of ethics in literary study, the work of Joseph Conrad, and the place of language in intellectual history.  In recent years, he has become a prominent historian of and advocate for the humanities.  He has received fellowships from the J. S. Guggenheim Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Download flyer here.

This lecture is free and open to the public. 

If you are a person with a disability and require accommodation, please contact Kim Yates or call (416) 946-0313 to make appropriate arrangements.


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