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Past Events


February 10, 2020

  • Jason PhillipsEberly Professor of Civil War Studies, (History, West Virginia University) 

  • "Looming Civil War: A History of the Future" 
  • January 27, 2020

  • George Lewis, Edwin H. Case Professor of American Music (Columbia University) 
  • "Black Liveness Matters: Karel Čapek meets Blind Tom" 

October 21, 2019

September, 2019
  • Appalshop & Friends
  • 7pm, Milano Reading Room, Downtown Library

April 18, 2019
  • Kathleen Stewart (Anthropology, University of Texas, Austin) “Worldly Thinking,”
  • 7pm, Milano Reading Room, Downtown Library

April 12, 2019
  • Emily Wilson, (Comparative Literature, University of Pennsylvania) "Translating The Odyssey Again: Why and How?"
  • 7pm, Colson Hall 130
  • Co-Sponsored with the Office of the President
March 20, 2018
  • “Humanities and Quality of Life,” Recipients of 2018 Humanities Center Research Grants
  • 6pm, Morgantown Public Library
  • Co-sponsored by Monongalia Public Library 
View Livestream 

February 25, 2019 
  • Anthony Harkins and Meredith McCarroll  launch Appalachian Reckoning: A Region Responds to Hillbilly Elegy
  • 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm, WVU College of Law 
  • Co-Sponsored with WVU Press and the Appalachian Justice Institute.

February 22, 2019
  • hillbilly: a documentary, talkback with filmmakers Ashley York and Sally Rubin, and novelist Silas House
  • 7pm, Gluck Theatre, Mountainlair
  • This event is a part of the Dan and Betsy Brown Lecture Series
hillbilly screening images

January 28, 2019 
  • Tom Hansell (Appalachian Studies, Appalachian State) discusses After Coal: Stories of Survival in Appalachia and Wales
  • 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm, WVU College of Law 
  • Co-Sponsored with WVU Press and the Appalachian Justice Institute.

January 17, 2019
  • Bodies of TruthPersonal Narratives on Illness, Disability, and Medicine; panelists include: Dinty W. Moore (English, Ohio University), Erin Murphy (English, Penn State, Altoona), Renee Nicholson (MDS), Matt Smith (Medicine)
  • 5:00 pm, Patteson Auditorium, Health Sciences Center
  • Co-Sponsored with Eberly College Multidisciplinary Studies

November 27, 2018

    • George Yancy (Philosophy, Emory University), "Why Race Still Matters"
    • Drawing from his recent book, Backlash, Yancy explored some of the white racist vitriol that he received after writing "Dear White America," which he characterizes as a letter of love that he wrote for The New York Times' philosophy column, "The Stone." He argued that white readers failed to become what he calls "un-sutured," which is a certain embodied and psychological form of undergoing vulnerability and openness. Hence, Yancy argued that whiteness is a form of suturing, which implies an embodied and  psychological form of remaining untouched by racialized voices that exist "outside" of one's monochromatic racial white formation. Yancy argued that love, which he sees as a form of unmasking, will be necessary to encourage white forms of un-suturing and unmasking. 
    • 7pm, Mountainair Ballrooms
    • Co Sponsored with the WVU Department of Philosophy and the David C. Hardesty, Jr. Festival of Ideas.

November 8, 2018

    • Valerie Tiberius, (Philosophy, University of Minnesota), "Well-Being as Value Fulfillment"
    • Discussion of well-being in the popular media tend to focus on social science research. What do humanistic disciplines bring to the conversation? This talk aims to answer that question by presenting a philosophical theory of well-being and explaining why the theory might matter.
    • 7:00 pm, White Hall G09
Dr. Tiberius's talk considered how philosophy (and the Humanities broadly) can contribute to contemporary discussions about happiness and well-being currently popular in Psychology and elsewhere.  She proposes value-fulfillment as a way of understanding how we conceptualize well-being, and various pathways to achieving Quality of Life. You can see a video of her talk here:


November 2, 2018

  • Tim Jelfs, (American Studies, University of Groningen, Netherlands) "Culture and Waste in the 1980s."
  • 4pm, Colson Hall 130
  • Co-Sponsored with WVU Press
Jelfs talked about his new book, The Argument about Things in the 1980s: Goods and Garbage in an Age of Neoliberalism, recently published by WVU Press.  You can see Jelf's great blog post previewing his book, and WVU Humanities Center Faculty Affiliate Katie Jones's blog post in response.
November 1, 2018
    • Charlie vs. Goliath: a documentary , talkback with Erik Herron (Political Science)
    • This feature-length documentary tells the story of an unlikely political candidate's extraordinary struggle to shake up the political establishment in a moment in the history of elections that challenged the meaning and value of the term "democracy."
    • 7pm, Gluck Theatre, Mountainlair

October 22, 2018

    • Writer-in-residence Ann Pancake; “Double Vision”
    •  in an era of disintegration, how do we as West Virginians recognize, affirm, and share life-sustaining qualities of our culture for radical regeneration in our region and beyond? What values from academic culture are critical for supplementing and balancing Appalachian ones? We’re all familiar with regressive Appalachian values, but are there academic values that interfere with imagining forward? Pancake will approach these questions from her own twin identities, West Virginian and humanities academic.
    • 7pm, Milano Reading Room, Downtown Library

September 19, 2018

Emily St. John Mandel in Conversation: A Campus Read Event
    • 7:30pm Lyell B. Clay Theatre, Creative Arts Center

August 30, 2018

“Confluences: Multidisciplinary Approaches to Water”; Panelists include Barbara Howe (Women’s Studies, Emeritus), Nicholas Stump (Law), Sharon Ryan (Philosophy), Stephanie Foote (English)
  • 4:00 pm, Milano Reading Room, Downtown Library
  • Co-Sponsored with the University Libraries

Our four panelists presented on local watershed history, Appalachian environmental law, the relationship of water to garbage, both in the living environment and in representation, and the wide range of philosophical questions prompted by these inquiries into the human dimensions of water. Check out the text of Nick Stump's talk as well as Writer-in-Residence Ann Pancake's reflection on the event on the Center's blog, Thinking Out Loud.


Monday, April 9, 2018
Dr. Chanda Prescod Weinstein, "Afflicting the Comfortable: Fighting Back Wherever You Are"
  • 11:30-1:20 pm, Honors Hall 120
  • Co-sponsored with Departments of Sociology & Anthropology, English, Women's & Gender Studies, Leadership Studies, and the Honors College.

A conversation with astrophysicist and activist Dr. Chanda Prescod-Weinstein about what it takes to make a stand in our own workplaces and communities, even and especially when it makes those in power uncomfortable.We will also talk about how to do this work, even when it hurts -and it does hurt.

Dr. Chanda Prescod-Weinstein holds an AB in Physics and Astronomy and Astrophysics from Harvard College, a M.Sc. in Astronomy and Astrophysics from the University of California at Santa Cruz, and a PhD in Physics from the University of Waterloo and Perimeter Institute in Canada. She is one of under 100 Black American women to earn a PhD from a Department of Physics and is currently a researcher in particle physics and cosmology theory at the University of Washington, Seattle.

Dr. Erin Cassese and Dr. Christine Hoffmann, “Villains and Monsters in Political Discourse: An Interdisciplinary Dialogue”
  • 4:00 pm, Colson Hall 130
  • Co-sponsored with WVU Women’s Resource Center

Dr. Erin Cassese’s (Political Science) work discusses how political campaigns often characterize opponents through metaphors of monstrosity.  Dr. Christine Hoffmann (English) has published on the uses of folly and villainy in Renaissance literature as an analogue for our contemporary moment.  Together, they will discuss how their differing disciplinary approaches can provide insight on how language influences the discourse surrounding our country’s current political climate. They will also consider how the crossover between disciplines can provide a new perspective on understanding political rhetoric and discourse.

March 1, 2018
Dr. Ameenah Shakir, "Birthing Liberation"
  • 7:30-9:30, 209 Armstrong Hall
  • Co-sponsored with the Department of History, Africana Studies, and the WVU LGBTQ+ Center

Shakir presented Dr. Helen Dickens's leadership of the Pan American Medical Women's Alliance (PAMWA), which was comprised of doctors from Peru, Mexico, Haiti, Puerto Rico and the United States. Dickens served as PAMWA president from 1968-1973. Under her leadership, PAMWA included a sustained effort to increase membership of women of African descent. Specifically, her talk questioned how differing notions of race and ethnicity informed women's medical professional organizations across transnational boundaries, and concluded with the effects of PAMWA on women's minority medical school enrollment.

February 27, 2018

  • 7:30 p.m.  Life Sciences Building - G15

Catte discussed her new book, What You Are Getting Wrong About Appalachia -- a frank assessment of the country's recent obsession with the people and problems of Appalachia that uses the region's rich and complex history to push back against media stereotypes.

Elizabeth Catte is a historian and writer based in the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia. Her work has been featured in the Guardian, NPR, Salon, LitHub, Rewire, Outline, New Republic , and she is a regular contributor to Belt Magazine. Catte holds a Ph.D. in public history and recently joined WVU Press as an editor-at-large.

Check out Dr. Travis Stimeling's (Musicology) response to Catte's exhilarating talk.
Monday February 19, 2018

“How Not to Be a Bystander: The Role of Male Faculty Post-#MeToo” featuring Dr. Amena Anderson (Leadership Studies), Dr. Walter DeKeseredy (Sociology), Prof. Kendra Fershee (Law), Dr. Cris Mayo (director of the LGBTQ+ Center), and Sam Wilmoth (Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion), moderated by Dr. Ryan Claycomb (Director of the WVU Humanities Center).

  • 4:00-5:30 pm, Rhododendron Room, Mountainlair
  • Co-sponsored with ADVANCE Advocates

Panelists discussed the roles that faculty of all genders can play in creating and maintaining equitable and safe work environments, and how male faculty in particular might adjust to the current climate in the wake of the exposure of many prominent sexual harassment cases across the US.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Becoming a Public Humanist, Dr. Kirk Hazen (English), Dr. Melissa Bingmann (Public History), and Dr. Janet Snyder (Art History) will discuss their efforts to address broader public audiences through their humanities work, followed by a discussion with the audience about increasing public accessibility and visibility. Moderated by Professor Atiba Ellis (Law).

  • 5:00-7:00, WVU College of Law.
  • Workshop notes compiled here.
Thursday, February 1, 2018

“Muriel Rukeyser’s The Book of the Dead: West Virginia Labor and Poetry” featuring WV writer Catherine Venable Moore, Dr. Johanna Winant (English), Dr. Hal Gorby (History) and Dr. Bradley Wilson (Geography).

  • 4:00-5:30 pm, Colson Hall 130.
  • Co-sponsored with WVU Press

This panel celebrated the publication of Rukeyser’s cycle of poems that memorializes the Hawks Nest Disaster.  In 1930, the Union Carbide plant in Alloy, WV, commissioned the Hawks Nest Tunnel, creating work conditions that eventually killed as many as 700 workers, mostly African American migrant workers. Activist poet Muriel Rukeyser traveled to nearby Gauley Bridge and other workers' communities to document the debilitating effects of silicosis, poverty, and disenfranchisement of those affected. Now, almost 80 years later, the WVU Press released these poems in their own volume with an introduction by Catherine Venable Moore. The volume is supported by a grant from the WV Humanities Council. 

Read Dr. Johanna Winant's comments here.

Monday December 4, 2018
Katha Pollitt, "Abortion: Truth and Post-Truth" 
  • 7:00 pm, Mountainlair Gold Ballroom
  • Co-sponsored with Department of English and Eberly College of Arts and Sciences
Given the prevalence and power of false information driving policy and opinions of abortion, Pollitt ponders what hope exists for science, scholarship and the truth.

Saturday, November 11, 2017
"The Reformation Matters Symposium"
Janet Snyder, Art History, “The Reformation and The Visual: Art Re-formed after 1517”; Katherine Aaslestad, History, “Luther’s Impact over Time in German History”; Philip Michelbach, Political Science, “Luther, Modernity, and Politics”
  • 2 pm, 109 White Hall
  • Co-sponsored with Department of History
Thursday, October 12, 2017
Denise Giardina, "The Socialist Revolution in West Virginia: What Happened?"
  • 7:30 pm, Milano Reading Room, Downtown Library
  • Co-sponsored with Office of the President, WVU Libraries, Department of English, Slavic and Eastern European Studies Program