News

Michael Lynch’s New Book Explores the Cultural Toxicity of Social Media

The University of Connecticut Humanities Institute (UConn-UCHI) director Michael Lynch has a new book: “Know-It-All Society: Truth and Arrogance in Political Culture.” Michael’s book, published by Liveright Publishing, explores how social media, despite what we may think, is used not for disseminating knowledge and facts, but as a means of expressing our outrage at those who do not share our convictions. This has only served to fan the flames of our public divide and tribal political affiliations: white nationalism and authoritarianism to the right, and identify politics and arrogant liberalism to the left. What’s the solution? Perhaps a dose of humility. Michael is also the Principle Investigator of UCHI’s Humility and Conviction in Public Life Project (HCPL) funded by UConn and The Templeton Foundation and the Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor of philosophy at UConn.

The Schedule of UCHI Fellows Talks for 2019–2020

As is customary, every year each of our resident fellows delivers a talk on their ongoing research while at the University of Connecticut Humanities Institute. These talks are open to the public and take place at UCHI at the Homer Babbidge Library, 4th Floor. More details will be disseminated on social media prior to each talk.

President Herbst’s Legacy Heralds a Bright Future for UCHI

As the larger UConn community says farewell to President Susan Herbst, who served as its 15th president from 2011 to 2019, we at the University of Connecticut Humanities Institute (UCHI) would like to add to the chorus of  well-wishers. President Herbst was an advocate for the humanities and arts on campus, which is exemplified by her initiative to establish the Susan Herbst and Douglas Hughes Family Scholarship in the Humanities, awarded annually to incoming undergraduate students in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences who show academic achievement and financial need. UCHI was honored to be a part of Herbst’s commitment to building a stronger core of humanities scholarship and outreach at UConn. Evidence of this commitment can be seen in the remarkable grow and productivity of UCHI since 2011. Some of the key accomplishments of UCHI under the Herbst administration include:

The Humility and Conviction in Public Life initiative from 2015 to 2019, which was funded by UConn and a $6,000,000 grant from the John Templeton Foundation. HCLP engaged in multiple research projects, educational opportunities, and regional outreach programs with the goal of promoting intellectual humility and investigating how humility promotes more constructive and meaningful public dialogues. HCPL also supported several residential fellowships and funded 22 cross-disciplinary projects at UConn and from around the world, all with the aim of exploring the meaning of public discourse and developing strategies to encourage better-informed public debates.

The New England Humanities Consortium, which was established in 2018 with the support of a $100,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, promotes collaborative research, intellectual exchange, and educational programing for faculty and students at 11 schools in New England. UCHI serves as the executive hub of NEHC, which along with sponsoring numerous cross-campus events, funding research, supporting the public humanities in the region, has supported  the Faculty of Color Working Group, an innovative group seeking to encourage and nurture diversity in New England.

The Digital Humanities and Media Studies initiative, which since 2016 has been bringing UConn faculty and students in the humanities and media studies together in a unique interdisciplinary environment. DHMS supports a plethora of projects, including research into the history of Hartford and Connecticut, and various online resources such as the African Film Database.

Increased funding for faculty and graduate research fellowships. Year-long residential fellowships provide scholars with the opportunity to pursue advanced work in the arts and humanities. Since 2011 generous funding from UConn has supported 40 dissertation fellowships for UConn graduate students, over 50 fellowships for UConn faculty from multiple departments and disciplines, and over 30 visiting fellowships for scholars from 26 different institutions from around the world.


During Herbst’s tenure, UCHI emerged as a leading hub of collaborative scholarship at the regional, national, and international stage. Dr. Herbst’s commitment to the humanities and UCHI’s success is echoed in incoming president Thomas Katsouleas’ belief in the importance of the humanities to addressing “societal grand challenges.” We join the greater UConn community to thank President Herbst and wish her the best as she returns to academia, and we look forward to the start of a new chapter at the Humanities Institute.

 

Photo Credit: Nasya Al-Saidy (Top) and Peter Morenus/UConn Photo (Bottom)

Presenting Science to the Public in a Post-Truth Era

Friday, May 24, 2019 4-7pm
Dodd Center Auditorium

With Dr. Åsa Wikforss (Stockholm University), Dr. Michael Lynch (University of Connecticut), Dr. Tali Sharot (University College London)

Sponsored jointly by the Science of Learning & Art of Communication (SLAC) program and the University of Connecticut Humanities Institute (UCHI) How can we present scientific information to the public in an era where increasingly expertise and scientific consensus are dismissed as opinion or fake news? Three eminent experts will discuss this challenge, followed by a panel discussion and Q&A with the audience. Reception to follow Free and open to the public

For more information, contact: Holly Fitch (ROSLYN.H.FITCH@UCONN.EDU) or Charlotte Nelson (CHARLOTTE.NELSON@UCONN.EDU)

 

 

2019-20 Fellowship Awards for UConn Faculty and Visiting Residential Scholars

The Humanities Institute is pleased to announce its 2019-20 UConn Faculty Fellowships. Our incoming class of fellows includes:

Emma Amador (History)
Alexander Anievas (Political Science)
Andrea Celli (Literatures, Cultures and Languages)
Patricia Morgne Cramer (English)
Debapriya Sarkar (English)
Nu-Anh Tran (History & Asian and Asian American Studies Institute)

Visiting Residential Fellows:
Kornel S. Chang (History) Rutgers-Newark, State University of New Jersey
Daniel A. Cohen (History) Case Western Reserve University
Joseph Ulatowski (Philosophy) University of Waikato, New Zealand

Dissertation Research Scholar:

Nathan Braccio (History)
Laura Godfrey (Medieval English Literature)
Hayley Stefan (English)
Jessica Strom (History)

 

Sharon Harris Book Award 2019 Winners

UCHI is honored to announce the winners of the Sharon Harris Book Award for 2019:

Daniel Hershenzon

Daniel Hershenzon

The Captive Sea: Slavery, Communication, and Commerce in Early Modern Spain and the Mediterranean (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2018)

The Captive Sea Slavery, Communication, and Commerce in Early Modern Spain and the Mediterranean by Daniel HershenzonThe Harris Book Award Committee notes, “Prof. Hershenzon’s book is an illuminating study of the redemption of captives in the early modern Mediterranean. The Captive Sea traces the seizure of Christians and Muslims by pirates, their enslavement in hostile lands, and their occasional return through complicated systems of ransom. Deeply researched in Spanish archives, the book examines the flourishing of a slave system that differs from the Atlantic slave trade, and it shows the ways in which the trade in captives encouraged intercultural communication between Southern Europe and North Africa.”

Helen M. Rozwadowski

Helen M. Rozwadowski

Vast Expanses: A History of the Oceans (London: Reaktion Books, 2018)

Vast Expanses, A History Of The Oceans  By  Helen M. Rozwadowski“Prof. Rozwadowski’s book is an engaging overview of the oceans from deep prehistory to the present. It focuses on the relationship between people and an environment that once seemed beyond human influence. The idea of the ocean as a limitless frontier flourished but eventually withered in the late twentieth century, as people began to confront the damage they had done through pollution and overfishing. In order for us now to produce positive environmental change, Rozwadowski concludes, “We must jettison our perception of the ocean as a timeless place, apart from humans.” This concise and readable book demonstrates the value of the humanities in addressing the planet’s looming environmental crisis.”

We thank the award committee for their service. The Sharon Harris Book Award recognizes scholarly depth and intellectual acuity and highlights the importance of humanities scholarship.

Sharon Harris Book Award 2019 Winners

UCHI is honored to announce the winners of the Sharon Harris Book Award for 2019:

 

 

Daniel Hershenzon, The Captive Sea: Slavery, Communication, and Commerce in Early Modern Spain and the Mediterranean (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2018)

 

AND

 

Helen M. Rozwadowski, Vast Expanses: A History of the Oceans (London: Reaktion Books, 2018)

 

 

The Harris Book Award Committee notes, “Prof. Hershenzon’s book is an illuminating study of the redemption of captives in the early modern Mediterranean. The Captive Sea traces the seizure of Christians and Muslims by pirates, their enslavement in hostile lands, and their occasional return through complicated systems of ransom. Deeply researched in Spanish archives, the book examines the flourishing of a slave system that differs from the Atlantic slave trade, and it shows the ways in which the trade in captives encouraged intercultural communication between Southern Europe and North Africa.”

 

“Prof. Rozwadowski’s book is an engaging overview of the oceans from deep prehistory to the present. It focuses on the relationship between people and an environment that once seemed beyond human influence. The idea of the ocean as a limitless frontier flourished but eventually withered in the late twentieth century, as people began to confront the damage they had done through pollution and overfishing. In order for us now to produce positive environmental change, Rozwadowski concludes, “We must jettison our perception of the ocean as a timeless place, apart from humans.” This concise and readable book demonstrates the value of the humanities in addressing the planet’s looming environmental crisis.”

 

We thank the award committee for their service. The Sharon Harris Book Award recognizes “scholarly depth and intellectual acuity and highlights the importance of humanities scholarship.”