2013-2014 Theme and Program

"Science, Technologies, and the Human Condition"

In this series, the Humanities Center seeks an interdisciplinary exploration of the ways in which different technologies have transformed the ways we perceive the body, time, space, and our environment. Among the themes we hope to explore are the relationship between moral and scientific thought and the human experience of technology.

For a list of speakers and events, please see the Center for Humanities Events.

Student Symposium

The Center for Humanities hosts an annual student conference at which students have the opportunity to present a selection of their papers or creative work. Student submissions can be in the form of essays that show excellent research in the humanities, broadly defined by principles of humanistic inquiry and research, creative writing, art projects, or other forms of creative expression. The Center’s Advisory Board will select essays and projects for presentation.

At the symposium, each speaker will present their work for 15 minutes as part of a panel of three, which will include a faculty moderator.  Papers should be of appropriate length for this slot, no more than eight pages, and should have been written in the prior calendar year.  The Advisory Board expects that students with longer papers from MAPs, independent studies, or seminars will submit an eight-page version of the project for consideration.

Humanities Center email with the subject line "Proposal for Student Symposium". A cover sheet should be submitted with the proposal with the following information:

  • Name
  • Class year
  • Major
  • Project title
  • Project origin (Seminar, MAP or other)
  • Name of faculty

For more information, please contact the Director of the Center for Humanities, Shuchi Kapila.

Visiting Scholars

In keeping with its mission to highlight some of the exciting contributions made by scholars in the Humanities to countless fields of research, the Center for the Humanities invites scholars from various disciplines to share their expertise with the Grinnell College community. Beginning in 1999, the first year of the Center’s operation, the Center invited a Distinguished Visiting Professor to Grinnell College. The Distinguished Visiting Professor led both a faculty seminar and a student seminar in their field of expertise. In some years, a single Distinguished Visiting Professor remains in residence for the fall semester, and returns briefly each Spring to participate in our annual symposium. In other years, the Center invites multiple Distinguished Visiting Professors to campus for shorter periods during the Fall Semester, all of whom take turns leading the faculty and student seminars and who also return for the spring symposium.

Book Talks

The Humanities Center will present a series of events entitled “Book Talk” 2-3 times each semester.  This will be a panel of three short presentations on a particularly influential work, creative work, or a critical/theoretical text that has been used extensively in teaching or scholarship.  The series will consider books that have been re-visited, reconsidered, or had a continuing presence in scholarly and creative worlds.  Examples of such works that are studied across disciplines would be Judith Butler's Gender Trouble, Michel Foucault's Discipline and Punish, Edward Said's Orientalism, Benedict Anderson's Imagined Communities, Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species, and Andres Serrano's Piss Christ. These presentations are open to the public.  

Conversations in the Humanities

Faculty may present works at any stage of development to their colleagues at Grinnell College by speaking at one of our regularly-scheduled lunches. Typically the Center hosts 3-4 such lunches each semester, with 1 or 2 presenters appearing at each lunch and presenting to an audience of 10-20 fellow faculty members. We want to emphasize the "in progress" part of these lunches, and invite you to consider this forum as a place to receive useful feedback on a project before final submission or conference delivery. These lunch discussions are open to faculty only. The Center provides lunch to the first 20 participants who RSVP their intention to attend.

Support for Co-Curricular Humanities Programming

To request funding, please complete this form.