Humanities Week kick-off dinner

Maddie Margioni

On Monday, Feb. 24, newly declared sophomore humanities majors and professors in the humanities departments gathered for a welcome dinner in the University’s Hildreth-Mirza Hall.

Prior to the commencing remarks, students and faculty were seated at tables where they engaged in conversations about why they joined the humanities and its current representation on campus. The “current climate of the University” was spoken of as downplaying the humanities in favor of other departments such as management or engineering. One of the main focuses of the dinner was on how to spread the word about Humanities Week and show others on campus why the humanities matter today.

The evening officially began with opening remarks from Professor Maria Antonaccio of the religious studies department, who also serves as Director of the Humanities Center. She welcomed the gathered sophomores into the program and discussed how “over 50 students declared humanities majors this year” and that the humanities would “teach [you] how to live humanly” and certainly “not affect your job prospects” in any negative way, as employers value a liberal arts education and the people skills humanities majors have.

Next up to speak was Presidential Fellow Zoe Wilson ’23, who recognized the members of the Humanities Student Council present at the dinner. She also explained that the purpose of Humanities Week is to “set a tone of unity among all the different disciplines of the humanities.”

Other professors who spoke at the event included Professor of Art History Roger Rothman, who discussed his work with humanities majors writing honors theses, Assistant Professor of Philosophy Adam Burgos, who described the series of Humanities Hot Topic lunches which was created to make “a space where students could talk amongst themselves about things in the world that are important to them and are about the humanities in some way” and Digital Scholarship Coordinator Dr. Diane Jakacki, who spoke about the digital humanities and how the field “allows people who do things like close readings of texts to explore things in non-traditional ways.”

Assistant Professor of Art and Art History Eddy Lopez closed the night by discussing his work with his students on designing a banner for the humanities on campus, and he showed the final products of students Yvonne Zhang ’21 and Aung Pyae Phyo ’21.

After the dinner, Humanities Student Council member Caroline Hromy ’21 said that “the dinner was such a great way to welcome newly declared sophomores into the humanities and to learn about all the possibilities open to humanities majors.”

In addition to the dinner, the BHC Student Symposium was held on Thursday in the Great Room of Hildreth-Mirza, where Julia Carita ’20 and Caroline Hromy ’21 discussed their research for the history department. Theatre of War’s Hercules production premiered on Thursday in the Weis Center for the Performing Arts, where professional actors held a dramatic reading of Euripides’ “The Madness of Hercules.”

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