The Center for Humanities at Tufts fosters interdisciplinary humanities work in comparative literature, comparative religion, world history, philosophy, anthropology, theory and cultural criticism, and the arts, to innovate new research and reflection. The Center hosts public lectures, seminars, conferences and colloquia by visiting artists, writers, and scholars, and brings together faculty, postdoctoral, and dissertation fellows. Fellows participate in a research seminar and attend monthly public events with distinguished visitors.

Each year, the Center selects a theme around which to organize some of its central activities. In the 2016-2017 year, the Center was home to the Mellon Sawyer Seminar in Comparative Humanities, which included faculty, postdoctoral, and graduate student fellowships in residence at the Center, as well as a monthly series of distinguished visitors who led fellows seminars, presented public lectures, and participated in public colloquia on topics ranging from the comparative study of slavery and colonialisms; religion and empire; colonialism, slavery and the archive; coloniality and memory; the critique of human rights and the violence of transitional justice; global ecology and medicine and conditions for the "human." Visiting scholars to the Center in 2016-2017 included Vivek Bald, Vincent Brown, Judith Butler, Jessica Cattelino, David Chidester, Lawrence Cohen, Stef Craps, Elizabeth Dillon, Demetrius Eudell, Fran├žoise Lionnet, Mahmood Mamdani, Emily Martin, Katherine McKittrick, Alondra Nelson, Debarati Sanyal, Audra Simpson, Shu-mei Shih and Alexander Weheliye. Visit The Mellon Sawyer Seminar schedule of events.

In 2017-2018, the Center continues its comparative global humanities project, and our theme will be "Materialisms, Old and New." We have visits from distinguished scholars Ann Laura Stoler, Brent Hayes Edwards, Kalindi Vora and Neda Atanasoski, Mel Chen, Jake Kosek, Kimberly Juanita Brown, Ari Heinrich and others with symposia on topics such as "Surrogate Humanity," "Imperial Debris and Colonial Presence," "Public Amnesias," "Photography, Black Subjectivity, and the Politics of the Visual," and "The Practice of Diaspora and Black Transnational Publics." The Center will host Knaster Artist-in-Residence Wen-ti Tsen for two weeks, during which time he will deliver a lecture on public art and conduct a studio workshop with students at the Medford campus and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts. We will have screenings and dialogues with filmmakers: Medhin Paolos will screen "Asmarina," her film about the Eritrean and Ethiopian community in Italy, and Ashish Avikunthak will show his work and present a lecture. The Center's Poets Series features visits and public readings by from poets Kathy Fagan in the fall, and Dionne Brand in the spring. In the spring, we collaborate with the Music Department and the Dean of Arts & Sciences on a day-long interdisciplinary conference in sound studies, "Sound Matters," featuring keynote speaker Nina Eidsheim.