Higgins School of Humanities More
Higgins School Of Humanities News - Clark University


Mellon funds climate conversation

Clark is a beneficiary of a $1.2 million Andrew W. Mellon grant received in December 2012 by the Consortium of Humanities Centers and Institutes (CHCI) based at the Franklin Humanities Institute at Duke University. As co-founder of the CHCI Humanities for the Environment network, the Higgins School has been funded to support a continuing dialogue on issues of climate change and sustainability among a select group of humanities scholars, writers, artists and climate scientists in a series of meetings to take place in 2014.

Members of this Council on the Uncertain Human Future will include anthropologist Mary Catherine Bateson, nature writer Gretel Ehrlich, environmental ethicist Kathleen Dean Moore (Oregon State), Buddhist teacher and scholar Lama Willa Miller, conservationist Estella Leopold, and others. Questions to be addressed include: What is the nature of the problem, seen deeply and accurately? What are the prospects of human survival? How do we as humans wish to conduct ourselves in the face of grave danger and the unknown?

Sarah Buie (Senior Associate and Past Director, Higgins School) directs the project in collaboration with Diana Chapman Walsh (former president, Wellesley College), Susanne Moser (climate scientist), E. Ann Kaplan (SUNY Stony Brook), and Pauline Phemister (University of Edinburgh).

New Higgins School Director

Amy Richter is an Associate Professor of History. She received a B.A. in Urban Studies from Columbia College, Columbia University and a Ph.D. from New York University. She has been at Clark since 2000. She specializes in 19th and 20th century American history, with an emphasis on women's, urban and cultural history. Her book, Home on the Rails: Women, the Railroad, and the Rise of Public Domesticity, was published by the University of North Carolina Press. Her current research looks at marriage and the consumer marketplace at the turn of the twentieth century, and she is working on a primary source reader on 19th-century interpretations of home.

New Leadership for Difficult Dialogues (DD)

As Sarah Buie steps down as Director of the Difficult Dialogues Initiative, its leadership will be assumed by three faculty serving as the DD Core Leadership team.

The three faculty members are Eric DeMeulenaere (Education), Tim Downs (IDCE) and Laura McKee (Psychology); all have been active in the work of the initiative. Tim has served on the DD executive committee since the beginning of the project, and has long brought dialogic awareness to his teaching; Eric DeMeulenaere serves on the DD executive committee, and has worked on theoretical and applied frameworks for a pedagogy of trust; Laura also serves on the DD exec, taught a dialogue seminar last year, and has been a regular participant in the dialogue teaching meetings. Drawing from the theoretical and applied work of the dialogue project, which just celebrated its seventh anniversary, the core team will work to further develop and sustain its pedagogical and community practices at Clark.

Together they will work with Higgins Director Amy Richter on dialogic aspects of the New Commons (dialogue symposia, Mellon faculty fellowships and team-taught courses). They will oversee the pedagogical dimensions of the DD program, including faculty development, dialogue seminars, and DD courses throughout the curriculum. They will support the DD fellows, as well as efforts within faculty governance, student organizations and other community project.

Higgins receives Major Mellon Funding

In September 2012, Clark received a $600,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support Humanities Present, a new initiative of the Higgins School of Humanities. The initiative furthers the commitment of the University to a strong humanities presence within the curriculum and in the campus culture as a whole. The grant supports innovative public programming combined with faculty fellowships and team-taught courses; faculty research collaborations; and a new curriculum initiative aimed at encouraging students as they make life choices. It also provides much-needed core support for the Higgins School.

The initiative has three programmatic components:

  • The New Commons draws on the foundations of the ongoing Difficult Dialogues initiative to deepen community engagement and curricular innovation around timely topics through three interdependent aspects: symposia events provide a public forum for lively intellectual exchange among faculty, students, and the community at large; a faculty fellowship participates together in the symposia; and team-taught interdisciplinary courses are developed in relation to the symposia. Amy Richter, Higgins Director, will oversee this program.
  • Humanities Research Collaboratives will provide support for the collaboratives in the areas of research, curricular and program development. Initial groups are Early Modernists Unite (EMU), the Science Fiction Research Collaborative and a group in the Digital Humanities. Betsy Huang will coordinate this initiative.
  • Mindful Choices is a guided, intensive arts immersion experience in which students engage in creative practice and critical reflection as they consider disciplinary commitments and career possibilities. The program will be offered to sophomores and juniors. Sarah Buie will facilitate the program.