Our Team

Michael Patrick Lynch

Michael P. Lynch


Michael P. Lynch is a writer and professor of philosophy at the University of Connecticut, where he directs the Humanities Institute. His work concerns truth, democracy, public discourse and the ethics of technology. Lynch is the author or editor of seven books, including, The Internet of Us: Knowing More and Understanding Less in the Age of Big Data, In Praise of Reason: Why Rationality Matters for DemocracyTruth as One and Many and the New York Times Sunday Book Review Editor’s pick, True to Life. The recipient of the Medal for Research Excellence from the University of Connecticut’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and grants from the Bogliasco Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities, he is currently the PI of Humility & Conviction in Public Life, a $7 million project aimed at understanding and encouraging meaningful public discourse funded by the John Templeton Foundation and UConn. A frequent contributor to the New York Times “The Stone” weblog, Lynch’s work has been profiled in The New Yorker, The Washington Post and Wired (among others). He speaks regularly to both academic and non-academic audiences, and has appeared at such venues at TED, Chautauqua, and South by Southwest. He is currently working on a book about arrogance in politics.


Alexis L. Boylan

Director of Academic Affairs

Alexis L. Boylan is an associate professor with a joint appointment in the Art and Art History Department and Africana Studies Institute. She is the author of Ashcan Art, Whiteness, and the Unspectacular Man (Bloomsbury Academic, 2017) and editor of Thomas Kinkade, The Artist in the Mall (Duke University Press, 2011). Boylan has articles published in Public Books, American Art, Journal of Curatorial Studies, MELUS, Rethinking Marxism, Prospects, and Woman’s Art Journal as well as contributing essays to numerous museum exhibition catalogues. Her next book project is titled, Not an Art Museum: Seeing Science at the American Museum of Natural History, 1900-2017.

Anke Finger

Assistant Director of Digital Humanities and Media Studies

Anke Finger is Professor of German and Media Studies and of Comparative Literary and Cultural Studies. A specialist on the idea of the total artwork in modernism (with a monograph, Das Gesamtkunstwerk der Moderne, 2006; and a collection of critical articles The Aesthetics of the Total Artwork: On Borders and Fragments, 2011), her discussion of the total artwork ranges from conceptual art and atmospheres to architecture and design (“Acute Aesthetics” in The Death and Life of the Total Work of Art, 2015). Her closely related scholarship in media studies and theory originates from her work on the Czech-Brazilian philosopher Vilém Flusser. She co-authored the 2011 Introduction to Vilém Flusser and serves on the advisory board of FlusserBrasil. Her latest project, Flusser 2.0: Remediating Ideas, Reimagining Texts, is a multimodal collection composed with Scalar (forthcoming Spring 2018).

Comparative/interart literature and Flusser’s ideas on post-nationalism, post-history, dialog, and migration also influence Anke Finger’s work in intercultural communication. Her most recent work in this area, entitled KulturConfusão: On German-Brazilian Interculturalities, was published by Walter de Gruyter in 2015. The Conviction Project, focusing on affect and action in public life, seeks to interconnect intercultural communication and media studies and presents part of the Humility and Conviction in Public Life project at the Humanities Institute.

Brendan Kane

Brendan Kane

Co-PI, Humility & Conviction in Public Life

Brendan Kane specializes in early modern British and Irish history. He is the author of The Politics and Culture of Honour in Britain and Ireland, 1541-1641(Cambridge UP, 2010; paperback 2013) and co-editor with Valerie McGowan-Doyle of the edited collection Elizabeth I and Ireland (Cambridge UP, 2014). He curated (with Thomas Herron) the exhibition Nobility and Newcomers in Renaissance Ireland at the Folger Shakespeare Library (2013) and co-authored the catalog of the same name. His interests include comparative colonialism and the history of human rights; he was guest editor of a special issue of the journal History entitled “Human rights and the history of violence in the early British Empire” (2014). A growing interest in gender and history has led to guest editing (with Kenneth Gouwens and Laurie Nussdorfer) a special issue of The European Review of History / Revue Européenne d’Histoire on early modern masculinities (forthcoming, 2015). Currently he is completing a book on knowledge production and legitimacy in early modern Ireland, and directing (with Tom Scheinfeldt) a multi-institutional, collaborative digital humanities project “Reading Early Modern Irish: a digital guide to Irish Gaelic (c. 1200-1650)”. Currently he serves as UConn’s Folger Consortium faculty representative.

Jo-Ann Waide

Jo-Ann Waide

Program Coordinator

Jo-Ann Waide has been Program Assistant at the Humanities Institute since its founding in 2001. She is also a grant manager for the Institute’s Humility and Conviction in Public Life program. She earned a Masters of Arts degree from UConn’s Communication Sciences department and a Bachelor of Sciences in Communication Disorders from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Before coming to UConn she completed interpreter training at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf and worked as a free-lance sign language interpreter in Western Massachusetts. After graduate school, Jo-Ann was employed as a grant manager for a collaborative project between the American School for the Deaf (ASD) and the CT Department of Children and Families. At the conclusion of the grant, she was hired as a school administrator at ASD where she served on the senior management team for several years. She has lived in Storrs long enough to witness the transformation of Storrs to the Downtown Partnership from the small town center consisting of the Universal grocery, Phil’s five-and-dime store, Farr’s Sporting Goods, and the Cup O’ Sun restaurant.

Nasya Al-Saidy

Nasya Al-Saidy

Financial Coordinator

Nasya Al-Saidy is a Ph.D. candidate in the Economics department at the University of Connecticut. Her research focus is on Environmental Economics and Microeconomics. At the University of Massachusetts Boston, her thesis explored the cost-effectiveness of phytoremediation to reduce brownfield pollution in Boston’s low-income urban areas. Her current work seeks to extend and improve upon the game theoretic models used within the emissions permit market. She is currently serving as a financial assistant for the Humanities Institute and fiscal officer for the Humility and Conviction in Public Life Project. Nasya also serves as President of the Association of Graduate Economics Students and as a senator in the Graduate Student Senate.

Megan Morariu

Megan Morariu

Communications Coordinator

Megan Morariu has been the Communications Coordinator of the Humanities Institute since August 2017. Megan earned her Bachelors of Fine Arts degree from Paier College of Art. Before coming to UConn, Megan worked as a Senior Imager for Wayfair where she was responsible for website image standards and creative initiatives. She has also previously worked doing graphic design for print production.