Caleb ElfenbeinGreetings! I am very proud to direct the Center for the Humanities at Grinnell.

We are pretty unique among centers at small liberal arts colleges, itself a group small in number, in that we support faculty scholarship, cosponsor events across campus, support community organizations, and put on our own slate of programming each year.

As such, the Center is evidence of Grinnell’s incredible commitment to the humanities as a crucial component of a liberal arts education.

We are always looking to partner with others to show just how valuable the humanities are to our community. Please be in touch if you would like the Center to partner on event. We hope to see you at our gatherings and events throughout the year! 

Connect to the humanities with research and scholarship, interdisciplinary studies, and more.

Theme 2016-17: Rethinking Global CulturesMapping Program - World Map

In this year’s speaker series, we will explore the work of scholars who have reconceptualized cultures on a global dimension, giving us a new perspective on intellectual borrowings, geographic roamings, transfer and exchange of knowledge, relationships of power, and the less known lives of communities, societies, and marginal groups.

Upcoming Events

May 3, Mechanics of Scholarship, 4:15 p.m., Solera, downtown (For Faculty only)
Approaches, Apps, and Organizing Complexity in our Writing
May 12, All Faculty Reception, 4:30 - 6:30 p.m., Grinnell Golf Course

What Does it Mean to Survive?

HUM/SST 295-01 The Politics of Human Thriving
FALL & SPRING - 2 credits per semester - Participate in either or both!

What does it mean to live beyond mere existence—to thrive as a human being? This course, tied to the 2017-2018 Center for the Humanities annual theme, the Politics of Human Thriving, will explore this question from a variety of perspectives. Topics throughout the year will include belongingness, sexual violence, race, gender, and the intersection of arts and activism. Students will read and discuss selections from visiting scholars and will attend related Humanities Center programming.

Questions should be directed to Professor Elfenbein.


Bestselling author, musician, and screenwriter James McBride and The Good Lord Bird Band perform at the next Writers @ Grinnell event.

Peter Frase imagines how a post-capitalist world might look deploying the tools of both social science and speculative fiction.