UAH Humanities Center celebrating 25 years


Dr. Melody Ng, Assistant Professor of Piano at UAH will give a musical performance on April 6, for the Humanities Center 25 year celebration.

Michael Mercier | UAH

The University of Alabama in Huntsville's (UAH) Humanities Center opened its doors on campus a quarter of a century ago. The university community will celebrate the center's 25th anniversary April 3-9, with several public events including performances by award-winning musicians, talks by renowned academicians and readings by critically acclaimed contemporary writers.

The Humanities Center was established in 1991 by a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) grant. Additionally, NEH funds were matched by private, public and corporate donations to create endowments to support humanities research activities. Dr. Johanna N. Shields (UAH Professor Emeritus of History) served as the center's founding Director.

Presently, income from the NEH grant and matching funds support the university's Visiting Eminent Scholar Program, Faculty Research Grants, Library Enhancement Grants, Public Program Grants, and Faculty Travel Grants. The center's operation is supported by the UAH Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development.

"In practical commemoration of the UAH Humanities Center's 25th year and of the legacy of visionary faculty like founding Director Johanna Shields, we present three events that showcase unique facets of humanistic thought," said Dr. Eric D. Smith, Director, of the UAH Humanities Center and Associate Professor of English. "The three events, taken collectively, demonstrate the range, critical motility, and immediate relevance of humanistic study in our society. From the critical analysis of popular culture to the problematics of race to the way that science fiction helps both to imagine and intervene in our present, the aim of the humanities is, put simply, the cultivation of wisdom (understood as the wise application of knowledge) upon which democracy itself is founded," Smith said.

Planned events for the 25th anniversary of the UAH Humanities Center include:

  • April 6 - "How Does This Sound? Listening to the Arts and Humanities Today," 6 p.m., to 8 p.m., Frances Roberts Recital Hall. "Let's Listen Carefully: Arts, Humanities, and the Experience of Sound Today," a lecture presented by Dr. Rolf Goebel, UAH Distinguished Professor of World Languages and Cultures. Musical performances by Jackson Love (4'33" by John Cage), Dr. Melody Ng with Casey Rickles (Mazurka by Chopin) and UAH Percussion Ensemble performs.
  • April 7 - "What is Racism? A Genealogical Approach," a lecture presented by renowned philosopher Dr. Robert L. Bernasconi, 7 p.m., Frances Roberts Recital Hall. Bernasconi taught at The University of Essex (Colchester, Essex, UK) before accepting a faculty position in the United States. Currently, he is the Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of Philosophy and African American Studies in the College of the Liberal Arts at PennState. Bernasconi's areas of specialization includes Critical Philosophy of Race, History of Ethics and Social and Political Philosophy. His recent publications include The Philosophy of Race in the Nineteenth Century, and The Policing of Race Mixing: The Place of Biopower within the History of Racisms. Bernasconi earned an undergraduate degree with honors in Philosophy, School of English and American Studies, and a PhD in Philosophy from Sussex University.
  • April 8 - "Imagining the Present: Science Fiction, and Society," 6 p.m., to 8 p.m., Frances Roberts Recital Hall. Readings by authors Joe W. Haldeman and Vandana Singh, with a roundtable discussion moderated by Dr. Rich Miller, UAH Professor of Physics. Haldeman is best known for his 1974 novel The Forever War. His most recent publication is entitled The Forever Time Machine. Haldeman's writings are inspired by his experience serving in the Vietnam War, where he was wounded in combat. Singh is an Indian science fiction writer. She is a Professor of Physics at Framington State University in Massachusetts. Some of Singh's famous works include "Delhi", "The Wife", and Younguncle Comes to Town.


Dr. Eric D. Smith


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