The humanities are alive and well at Johns Hopkins,
and a new series wants to spread the word.
On Wednesday, the Krieger School of Arts
and Sciences will kick off its new Humanities
Colloquium, a series of hourlong directed conversations
designed to encourage undergraduate student
interest in the humanities.
Chris Celenza, academic director of the series, will
be its first speaker. He will give a talk titled
"What Does It Mean to be Human? The Classical Tradition and
the Problem of Humanity" at 5 p.m. on
Oct. 3 in 223 Gilman Hall.
In the colloquium's first year, Celeza said,
organizers will solicit the participation of freshman
students, hoping they choose to pursue humanities majors.
The series, however, is open to all
Homewood campus students.
The presentations will be held every two weeks during
the semester. Each conversation will
consist of an informal 20- to 30-minute talk on a broad
topic relating to issues relevant in current
humanities scholarship but accessible to an undergraduate
audience. Participants can use the
remaining time to ask questions and for general discussion.
Refreshments will be served.
Celenza, a professor in the Department of German and
Romance Languages and Literatures, said
that he wants to help the humanities "shine as brightly as
they deserve to at Johns Hopkins."
"There is a lot of interesting and captivating
humanities-related research that goes on here,
and we want to make sure that undergraduates are exposed to
the vitality and interest of that
research," Celenza said. "This is also a chance for
students to get to know faculty outside the
classroom and to mingle. It's a way for them to make
connections and hopefully generate some interest
in humanities topics."
The program is sponsored by the Dean's Office of the
Krieger School and was championed by
Paula Burger, dean of undergraduate education.
Burger said that she hopes the colloquium will expose
students to different scholarly fields and
engender in them a passion for the humanities.
Celenza said that the series is currently looking for
faculty members to fill out the fall
semester schedule. To participate, contact Erin Cowling at