Publications & Recordings



Roundtable: Writing as Advocacy

March 28, 2024

This roundtable gathered a diverse group of humanists who employ writing as a tool for advocacy of various forms. Drawing on their personal experiences, speakers addressed questions such as:

How can creative practices renew us as writers and empower us to ask bolder questions in our scholarship? 
How can we use research and writing skills to identify and advocate for the university we believe in? 
How do we connect writing and research with our values? 
How do we create communities of practice stemming from our scholarship? 
How might our scholarship translate into meaningful change? 
How do we write ourselves into thriving as humanities practitioners? 
How can we develop practices that connect our research with where those topics live in the world today?

Speakers are as follows:
• Margaret (Maggie) Nettesheim Hoffmann is the associate director of career diversity for the Humanities Without Walls (HWW) consortium.
• Michelle Daniel Jones is a sixth-year doctoral student in the American studies program at New York University. 
• Ashley Cheyemi McNeil, PhD, is a public scholar and humanist with 10+ years experience working with learners, scholars and community partners to share stories and research.
• Katja Perat, PhD, is a Slovenian novelist, essayist and poet, and an assistant professor of writing at University of Alaska–Anchorage.
• Roopika Risam, PhD, is associate professor of film and media studies and of comparative literature at Dartmouth College. 
• Katina Rogers, PhD, is an independent scholar, editor and educational consultant, working with institutions to design and implement structures that are creative, sustainable and equitable.

This roundtable was part of a spring 2024 RDE workshop for WashU graduate students in the humanities and humanistic social sciences.

2024 Faculty Book Celebration: Keynote Lecture & Faculty Presentations

In Defense of Tackiness: The Queer Environmental Politics of Glitter

February 28, 2024

Nicole Seymour, professor of English, California State University, Fullerton, and author, Glitter, an environmental-cultural history of a substance often dismissed as frivolous

In this talk, Nicole Seymour will offer an environmental-cultural history of glitter, contextualizing and challenging the recent backlash against this substance, including the sweeping ban implemented by the European Union in 2023. Focusing on the tackiness of glitter — its physical stickiness as well as its metaphorical association with the vulgar — Seymour will chart how glitter has served as a rallying symbol for the marginalized: the working class, people of color and queer communities.

PLUS: Brief presentations on two new books by their authors: Ila Sheren, associate professor, Department of Art History and Archaeology (Border Ecology: Art and Environmental Crisis at the Margins) and Hayrettin Yücesoy, associate professor of Arabic and Islamic studies, Department of Jewish, Islamic, and Middle Eastern Studies (Disenchanting the Caliphate: The Secular Discipline of Power in Abbasid Political Thought)

Rethinking Tenure and Promotion Assessment in the Humanities: A Blueprint for Transformation and Innovation

November 6, 2023

Co-organized by the Center for the Humanities and the Program in Public Scholarship, this event was designed to help humanities faculty and administrators think through how to move beyond traditional requirements for tenure dossiers in the humanities (e.g., monograph and articles) to encompass newer ways of doing humanities research — public humanities, digital humanities, creative practice. How do we enact systemic change to open up traditional ways of evaluating humanities research to allow scholars to produce this exciting new work while moving through the tenure and promotion processes?

Invited guests included:

  • Kal Alston, Professor in Cultural Foundations of Education and Women’s and Gender Studies, Syracuse University; Associate Dean for Academic Programs in the School of Education; Chair, Imagining America National Advisory Board; and President-Elect, Philosophy of Education Society 
  • Ulrich Baer, Director, Center for the Humanities; University Professor, Departments of German and Comparative Literature, NYU 
  • Antoinette Burton, Professor of History and Swanlund Endowed Chair; Director, Humanities Research Institute, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign 
  • Alenda Y. Chang, Associate Professor in Film and Media Studies, UC Santa Barbara; Co-founder, Wireframe Digital Media Studio 
  • Joy Connolly, President, American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) 
  • Heather Hewett, Program Officer for Higher Education Initiatives, ACLS
  • Paula Krebs, Executive Director, Modern Language Association 

There are five videos in this playlist. Individual panel discussion videos are available at this link.

2023 Faculty Book Celebration: Panel Discussion

Humanities and the City

February 23, 2023

2023 Faculty Book Celebration keynote speaker Davarian Baldwin, the Paul E. Raether Distinguished Professor of American Studies, Trinity College, will join a panel of Washington University faculty:

  • Shanti Parikh, Chair of African and African-American Studies and Professor of Sociocultural Anthropology and of African and African-American Studies
  • Samuel Shearer, Assistant Professor of African and African-American Studies
  • Geoff Ward, Professor of African and African-American Studies

Moderated by Laura Perry, Assistant Director for Research and Public Engagement, Center for the Humanities.

2023 Faculty Book Celebration: Keynote Lecture & Faculty Presentations

What Good Is Higher Education for Our Cities?

February 23, 2023

In today’s dominant knowledge economy, universities have become big business and our cities their company towns. But there are both benefits and costs to those who live in the shadow of these ivory towers. With St. Louis as our backdrop, this talk ponders: What good is higher education for our cities?

PLUS: Brief presentations on two new books by their authors: Miguel Valerio, assistant professor, Department of Romance Languages and Literatures; and Lynne Tatlock, the Hortense and Tobias Lewin Distinguished Professor in the Humanities and chair, Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures, and director, Program in Comparative Literature.

2022 James E. McLeod Memorial Lecture on Higher Education

Do Colleges and Universities Bear Responsibility for K-12 Public Education?

October 24, 2022

Mary Schmidt Campbell, 10th president of Spelman College (2015-22)

Many of our nation’s great colleges and universities reside in large urban centers where public school education has been under-resourced, and students have been dramatically underserved. What responsibility, if any, should elite, well-resourced institutions of higher education assume for the public-school outcomes of the communities in which they reside?

Banned Comic Books

September 22, 2022

Who’s afraid of comic books? Book bans across Missouri and the U.S. have often targeted graphic novels and comic books, especially those that depict issues of gender, sexuality and race. New Missouri laws will punish educators and school librarians who provide restricted materials to students with fines and jail time. This event considers banned comic books from the perspectives of the artists who create them and the advocates who defend them.

Panel lineup includes:

  • Jerry Craft, New York Times bestselling author and illustrator of the graphic novels New Kid and Class Act. New Kid is the only book in history to win the John Newbery Medal for the most outstanding contribution to children’s literature (2020), the Kirkus Prize for Young Readers’ Literature (2019), and the Coretta Scott King Author Award for the most outstanding work by an African American writer (2020). 
  • Molly Carney, ACLU MO. Carney joined the ACLU of Missouri as a Staff Attorney in 2020. As a member of the legal team, she engages in all aspects of strategic litigation efforts to protect civil rights and liberties, including her current work on litigation and advocacy against book bans across Missouri.
  • Phoebe Gloeckner, graphic novelist. Gloeckner’s book The Diary of a Teenage Girl (2002) was praised as “one of the most brutally honest, shocking, tender, beautiful portrayals of growing up female in America.”

Discussion moderated by Rebecca Wanzo, professor and chair of the Department of Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Washington University. Wanzo is author of The Content of Our Caricature: African American Comic Art and Political Belonging, winner of the 2021 Eisner Award for Best Academic/Scholarly Work and the 2021 Charles Hatfield Book Prize from the Comics Studies Society.

2022 Faculty Book Celebration: Panel Discussion

Reflections on Craft: Connecting Creative and Scholarly Practice

March 3, 2022

2022 Faculty Book Celebration keynote speaker Charles Johnson, Professor Emeritus, University of Washington, joined a panel of Washington University faculty:
•    Rebecca Copeland, Professor of Japanese Language and Literature, Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures;
•    Joanna Dee Das, Assistant Professor of Dance​, Performing Arts Department;
•    Gerald Early, the Merle Kling Professor of Modern Letters, Departments of English and of African and African-American Studies; and
•    Shreyas R. Krishnan, Assistant Professor in Illustration, Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts

Moderated by Ignacio Infante, Associate Professor of Comparative Literature and Spanish; and Associate Director, Center for the Humanities.

2022 Faculty Book Celebration: Lectures

Let Your Talent Be Your Guide

March 3, 2022

In this presentation, 2022 Faculty Book Celebration keynote speaker Charles Johnson describes the journey that took him from being a cartoonist and journalist in his late teens and early twenties to becoming a novelist, philosopher, literary scholar, essayist, short story and screen writer, and a college professor. The spirit of this journey is captured in a statement by John Muir: “When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe.”

PLUS: Brief lectures on two new books by their authors: Diana Montaño, assistant professor, Department of History; and Julia Walker, associate professor, Department of English and associate professor and chair, Performing Arts Department.

2021 James E. McLeod Memorial Lecture on Higher Education 

Remembering James McLeod and the Rise of Black Studies at Washington University

September 30, 2021

Gerald Early, the Merle Kling Professor of Modern Letters and former chair of the Department of African and African American Studies at Washington University in St. Louis, gives the 2021 James E. McLeod Memorial Lecture on Higher Education.

Full text

2021 Holocaust Memorial Lecture 

Jewish Physicians and Their Patients: Rescue Strategies in Nazi Occupied Poland

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Natalia Aleksiun, Professor of Modern Jewish History, Touro College / Incoming Harry Rich Professor of Holocaust Studies at the University of Florida-Gainesville
The relationships between Jewish physicians, non-Jewish medical professionals and patients offer a window into rescue efforts in Nazi-occupied Poland. Jewish testimonies, diaries, memoirs and witness statements in postwar trials tell a story of how communities came together to organize hiding places and aid for Jewish doctors who were threatened by violence and murder. In the lecture, Prof. Aleksiun will discuss how pre-existing professional relationships, a sense of gratitude for medical services rendered in the past and an ongoing need for Jewish physicians’ expertise laid the foundation for a network of support that allowed Jewish physicians to continue to work in the face of the Holocaust and — in the case of some — survive.

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