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Thinking Out Loud

"Through Clear Water: Reflections on Confluences" by Ann Pancake

Here in West Virginia, it was a summer of water.  I’m a native West Virginian just returned home, so this was only my second summer in the state in 30 years, and I kept saying to my partner, “I sure don’t remember it ever being this rainy those twenty-two summers I lived here as a kid.”  2018 was a summer of near-daily thunder and flash flood upon flash flood, a summer my cousins could only get half their crops in the ground, and a summer Mr. Burke, the farmer who has for fifty years cut the field behind our house in Preston County, still hasn’t had three straight rain-free days to make hay.  Truth is, this WV summer had the kind of water we used to have in the summers in Seattle, the place I just left.  Not anymore.  This July and August I sat on my West Virginia porch in downpours reading texts from my Seattle friends suffering heat and drought and smoke from wildfires all over the West Coast.  “They’re saying that going outside today would be like smoking seven cigarettes.”  “Today the air quality is the same as Beijing.”  “This morning I woke up and there was ash falling from the sky.”      

            Climate change.  Water.  Too little in one place.  Too much in another.  And everywhere, water under threat.  

Appalachia's Water: Law and Environmental Justice

"Appalachia's Water" is Nicholas F. Stump's contribution to "Confluences: Multidisciplinary Approaches to Water," co-sponsored as part of the Art in Libraries "Water" exhibit and the Humanities Center's Quality of Life Speakers Series.  Co-presenters included Barb Howe (History, Emerita), Stephanie Foote (English), and Sharon Ryan (Philosophy).  The event was made possible by a grant from the West Virginia Humanities Council.

Nichola s F. Stump is a Faculty Member with the George R. Farmer Jr. Library at the WVU College of Law. His current work is informed by critical environmental law, Appalachian studies, and law and social movements studies. His talk today connects with his upcoming monograph with the WVU Press Appalachia Reconstructed: Law, The Environment, and Systemic Regional Reform. He teaches in the legal research curriculum with an emphasis on administrative law and energy and environmental law.

Nicholas F. Stump speaks at the WVU Humanities Center's Confluences panel, co-sponsored with Art in the Libraries. 

WVU Humanities Center to host “Quality of Life” Speaker Series 2018-2019

Pursuing “quality of life” is an enterprise as old as the very idea of a university, and it began in disciplines such as philosophy and languages.  The WVU Humanities Center announced its 2018-19 speakers series to address this tradition, to illustrate how humanities inquiry stands alongside economic indicators, technological developments, and medical innovations in improving quality of life in Appalachia and beyond. The eight events of the series, which will take place at venues across Morgantown, will represent a wide variety of disciplines.

This year, the WVU Humanities Center chose the theme “Quality of Life” to explore cultural objects and moments that lend themselves to richer understandings of our world and ways of living in it.

This Month in the Humanities Center: August 2018

While Humanities Center Grantees were all over the world conducting research, and others stayed closer to home to write (or, one hopes, relax), we in the Center have been very busy. We’ve been applying for grants, traveling to humanities sites around the state, and making connections around campus and across the region. I’ve been working quite hard particularly on organizing our Quality of Life speakers series, developing our faculty and community affiliates programs, and taking on leadership of the Campus Read initiative. So this first e-newsletter of the academic year feels a lot like my “what I did this summer” essay to all of you. But just like any back-to-school newsletter, this one’s full of new names, new programs, and great things to take part in this semester. Please read on!

Yours thoughtfully,

Trailblazers and Hellraisers: a humanities symposium for WVU undergrads and grads

The WVU Mountaineer Musicological Community (MMC) is hosting a university-wide humanities symposium entitled Trailblazers and Hellraisers on Saturday, September 15, 2018 with generous support from the WVU Humanities Center and the Office of Undergraduate Research. All current undergraduate students, graduate students, and recent WVU graduates are encouraged to submit abstracts.

Imagining New Models for Undergraduate Research in the Humanities

Much of the discussion and culture of undergraduate research, on this campus at least, but elsewhere as well, has revolved around undergrads in STEM fields, or perhaps social and behavioral sciences, getting involved in labs.  And in creative arts, students get involved in the work of their faculty members through juried shows, musical ensembles, or mainstage theatre performances. 

In the humanities, where scholarship is largely (though not exclusively) a solitary enterprise, we have sound models for helping students develop their own research, but very few for getting them involved in ours.

WVU Press and the Humanities Center: A Conversation

 WVU Press Editor Derek Krissoff and I have been in productive conversation since the Center was established last August. This spring and summer, we've been having that conversation online with a series of posts on the Press' blog, Booktimist. The first two parts of that conversation, in which I interview Derek and vice versa, are posted there.

Look for more WVU Press/Humanities Center collaborations in the future, beginning with a Center-hosted talk by WVU Press author Tim Jelfs (American Studies, University of Groningen, Netherlands), author of The Argument about Things in the 1980s: Goods and Garbage in an Age of Neoliberalism, to be held Friday November 2, 2018 at 4pm in Colson Hall 130.

Humanities Center Announces 2018 Grant Recipients

Morgantown, WV—The West Virginia University Humanities Center announced its first round of grant recipients last week, supporting scholarly projects in history, culture, and the arts in multiple disciplines. Funded by a WVU endowment from the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation, grants were awarded in two categories: interdisciplinary team grants and summer grants to support scholarly activity.

While several of the grants went to support traditional projects in history, literature, musicology, and other humanities fields, applicants were given preference for projects that speak to the Center’s commitment to interdisciplinarity and public humanities.