Signature Events

James E. McLeod Memorial Lecture on Higher Education

James E. McLeod Memorial Lecture on Higher Education honors the esteemed vice chancellor of students, who died in 2011. The lecture series addresses the role of the liberal arts in higher education, a subject especially meaningful to Dean McLeod. Recent past speakers include Cathy Davidson, co-founding director of HASTAC, distinguished professor of english and founding director of the Futures Initiative at the Graduate Center, CUNY (2018); Sara Ahmed, scholar of feminist theory, queer theory, critical race theory and postcolonialism (2017); and Christopher Newfield, professor of literature and American studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara (2016).

Faculty Book Celebration

The publication of a monograph or significant creative work is a milestone in the career of an academic. The Center for the Humanities commemorates this achievement annually during the Faculty Book Celebration. The event recognizes Washington University faculty from across campus by displaying their recently published works and large-scale creative projects and inviting two campus authors and a guest lecturer to speak at a public gathering. Recent past speakers include Caroline Levine, the David and Kathleen Ryan Professor of Humanities, Cornell University (2019); Nancy MacLean, the William H. Chafe Professor of History and Public Policy, Duke University (2018); and Sidonie Smith, the Mary Fair Croushore Professor of the Humanities, professor of English and women’s studies, director, Institute for the Humanities, University of Michigan (2017).

International Humanities Prize

The Washington University International Humanities Prize is awarded biennially to a person who has contributed significantly to the humanities either through a supremely well-crafted work or an entire body of work that has dramatically changed how we see or understand a particular place, event, person, idea or field of expression, or through courageously persevering in a humanities pursuit in an atmosphere of persecution. Recent recipients include Sir David Adjaye, OBE, internationally renowned architect, designer of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture (2018); Bill T. Jones, internationally recognized choreographer and artistic director (2016); and Marjorie Perloff, one of the foremost critics of contemporary, modern, and avant-garde poetry and poetics.