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Home Sweet Humanities

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Trinity University debuts the Humanities Collective

by Carlos Anchondo ’14

At Trinity University, the humanities have long stood as a vital part of a liberal arts and sciences education. They now have a new home in the Humanities Collective, an initiative launched this February to support, coordinate, and promote humanities activities, research, and programming. The Humanities Collective will highlight the strengths of the humanities at Trinity in a concerted manner, showcasing existing programming while developing new initiatives.

Those initiatives include a planned spring 2017 humanities undergraduate research symposium. Humanities students will be invited to a half-day conference to present findings from intensive research they have conducted. Another initiative, Humanities Research Fellows, is geared toward rising seniors. Candidates for this fellows program will submit proposals for vetting by a panel of Trinity faculty. The program will serve as an opportunity to provide support, both advising and monetary, to further facilitate humanities research.

Besides new programming, the Humanities Collective is meant to enhance the University’s connection to San Antonio and community organizations.

Rubén Dupertuis, associate professor of religion and co-director of the Humanities Collective, says community connections are plentiful, but often “informal” and in need of more support.

“Connecting with the community is crucial for us,” says Dupertuis. “A main contribution of the new program is a website with a humanities calendar, which advertises events to the community and provides access to humanities content.”

Claudia Stokes, professor of English and founding member of the Humanities Collective, also posits that the collective will allow San Antonians to better tap into humanities discourse.

“The Humanities Collective will benefit and enrich the city’s life of the mind,” says Stokes.

The Humanities Collective is purposefully defining the humanities in broad terms, hoping to engage those doing humanities work, even if their academic discipline does not typically align with traditional humanities departments. Stokes references Paul Myers, a computer science professor who is currently researching the history of computing in the 1970s. Although Myers teaches science, his research should be included in the Humanities Collective umbrella, argues Stokes.

“The term ‘collective’ signals our collaboration among departments,” says Stokes. “Faculty at Trinity are conducting research on related topics, and I would like to see more intellectual cross-pollination, so that Trinity faculty can collaborate and benefit from sharing ideas. I hope the faculty’s intellectual life will profit from this collective.”

Funding for the Humanities Collective is provided through President Danny Anderson’s office and the Lennox Foundation. The collective initially submitted a proposal to Deneese Jones, vice president of Academic Affairs, in September that called for a “vibrant center that celebrates the value of humanistic inquiry.” In addition to Dupertuis and Stokes, professors Stacey Connelly (co-director), Tom Jenkins, and Heather Sullivan are also founders of the Humanities Collective.

The Humanities Collective encourages interested groups to stay updated on humanities programming by using their calendar online. The organization is on Facebook, Twitter, and can be reached at humanities [at] trinity.edu.

Carlos Anchondo is a writer and editor for University Marketing and Communications. He is a 2014 graduate of Trinity and can be found at @cjanchondo or canchond [at] trinity.edu.