The Center for Humanities at Tufts fosters interdisciplinary humanities work in comparative literature, comparative religion, world history, philosophy, anthropology, 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 visiting scholars.
Each year, the Center will select a theme around which to organize some of its central activities. In the 2016-2017 year, the Center will be home to the Mellon Sawyer Seminar in Comparative Humanities, which includes faculty, postdoctoral, and graduate student fellowships in residence at the Center, as well as a monthly series of distinguished visitors who will lead fellows seminars, present public lectures, and participate in public colloquia. Visit The Mellon Sawyer Seminar schedule of events.
Just as all parts of the university have been affected by the last decades of national and global transformations, the humanities and interpretive social sciences are challenged to redefine their studies in ways that are responsive to our increasingly interconnected world. While recent global exchanges and interdependency initiate new discussions of personhood, culture, society, and the world, we know that global connections are not new. Comparative global humanities names an interdisciplinary study that considers the links, exchanges, and entanglements of culture, art, music, theatre, literature, religion, philosophy, and politics, not only in the modern period, but throughout the longer course of world history. Distinguished scholars from a variety of fields and specializations will lead seminars and present their research on such studies of cultural contact and encounter, as well as on past and future ideas of "the human," the figure around which the humanities have been centrally organized.
Visiting scholars to the Center in 2016-2017 include Vivek Bald, Vincent Brown, Judith Butler, Jessica Cattelino, David Chidester, Lawrence Cohen, Stef Craps, Elizabeth Dillon, Demetrius Eudell, Françoise Lionnet, Mahmood Mamdani, Emily Martin, Katherine McKittrick, Alondra Nelson, Debarati Sanyal, Audra Simpson, Shu-mei Shih and Alexander Weheliye. For the schedule of public events, please consult the Mellon Sawyer Seminar page.
We have an exciting year ahead in our general programming, as well, with September talks by historian Sarah Haley and political theorist Benedetta Giovanola, and November visits from the French philosophers Alain Badiou and Cécile Winter. A yearlong series, "Poets at the Center," curated by Natalie Shapero, Professor of the Practice at Tufts, includes poets Monica Youn, Dana Levin, and Robin Coste Lewis. The Center will also cosponsor the fall production of August Wilson's play "Gem of the Ocean," directed by Monica Ndounou, Associate Professor of Drama and Dance, which will be performed October 27-29 and November 3-5 in the Balch Arena.