Having just completed its sixth year of programs, the UM Center for the Humanities continues to grow, increasing the number of public and academic offerings by 40% during 2014-2015.

This year three Henry King Stanford Distinguished Professors visited our campus: Robert Proctor, scholar of science, technology, and medicine, who was the first historian to testify against the tobacco industry; Rita Dove, former US Poet Laureate and Pulitzer Prize winner; and William Wallace, an internationally recognized authority on Michelangelo. We also presented the inaugural lecture of the Edith Bleich Speaker Series, “Daughters of Liberty: Women in the American Revolution” by Carol Berkin, a recognized pioneer in early American women’s history.

Throughout 2014-15 the Center organized a series of lectures on the Digital Humanities, livestreamed throughout the US and abroad. Eight experts from around the United States and Canada brought us up to date on the developments in this important new field of scholarship as well as teaching and their implications for the humanities now and in the future.

In addition, the Center presented an international conference on “Revisioning Early Modern Hispanisms,” in honor of the scholarship of Anne J. Cruz, Professor of Spanish and Acting Director of the Center during 2011-12; and continued its well-attended programming in the series “Expanding Career Opportunities for Humanities PhDs” that we initiated last year.

In fall 2015, we will welcome Stanford Distinguished Professor Frans de Waal, a primatologist who is renowned for his work on fairness, conflict resolution, and empathy in bonobos. In the spring two Stanford Professors will visit our campus. In February, Richard Burger, who has conducted groundbreaking research on the prehistoric cities of the Ancient Andes, will give the keynote address for the conference held in conjunction with the first exhibition of ancient Andean artifacts from the Lowe Art Museum. April will bring Marcyliena Morgan, author of The Real Hiphop: Battling for Knowledge, Power, and Respect in the Underground and founder of the Hiphop Archive at the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for Afro-American Research at Harvard University.

President Donna Shalala has been a strong supporter of the Center since its inception. We at the Center are profoundly grateful for the interest she has taken in our programs and her generosity in supporting them. We look forward to holding our lectures in the new space in Brockway Hall that she directed to be renovated for this purpose. Thanks are also due to the Center’s faculty board for their counsel, and our Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Leonidas Bachas, and our Provost, Thomas LeBlanc, for their ongoing support of the Center and the Humanities. I also acknowledge the hard work of our Associate Director Kyle Siebrecht, Administrative Assistant Zureyka Carsi, and Secretary Monique Alfonso, as well as Student Assistants Hunter Carpenter, Kendall Hebert, Samantha Richard, Devin Weinstein, and Micah Weinstein.

Mihoko Suzuki
Director, Center for the Humanities
Professor of English