Our 2019-2020 Theme
This year, the West Virginia University Humanities Center’s Speakers Series takes as its theme, “The Future.” The featured speakers demonstrate that the speculative future is not only the province of the STEM fields, and almost implicitly technology, but also that of humanists and those engaged in humanistic inquiry. The humanities are not on the periphery but are central to our future and these scholars, some well-established and some new voices, will engage in this conversation with WVU students, staff and faculty from a variety of disciplines from across the campus and our community. The series also attests to the significant role and impact that humanities perspectives bring to discussions and applicable outcomes concerning the future.
Our speakers’ will provide insights on the human dimensions of the future through their research in history, English literature, philosophy, musicology, art history and ethnography. Collectively, they posit answers to such questions as: how people before the Civil War perceived the future and shaped it, changing American’s understanding of that future; whose futures are represented in current discourse; how have people looked to the past to reimagine the probable, possible, and preferable in the future; how humans interact with nature and technology and what can be done to change the future; how can we recover (and acknowledge such recoveries) of previously silenced peoples so they may impact the future; and how conceptions of the future changed language and poetic form.
One of the roles of the humanities is to examine and help us understand human experience and grapple with ideas, stories, moral issues, the products of creative expressions, and the complex and real interactions of people, technology, and the planet. Although often maligned as backward-looking, the research of the scholars who will participate in the WVU Humanities Speakers Series for 2019-2020 shows that people in the past and present have looked and are looking toward the future in order to understand it, prepare for it, use it as inspiration, and bring it into being. Our speakers’ work is groundbreaking and provocative, comes from diverse perspectives, and represents a variety of humanities disciplines and humanistic inquiry. It brings to our community conversations that examine the construct of the future and what this means for the human experience.
The Center’s 2019-20 theme will be woven across a series of events, listed below.
For all Humanities Center event listings,
see our Events page.
September 4, 2019
October 21, 2019
November 11, 2019
January 27, 2020
February 10, 2020
March 25, 2020
April2 & 3, 2020