Founded in 1993, the Humanities Center provides an intellectual home for Wayne State faculty, students, and staff working in the humanities, the arts, and the humanistic social sciences. Through its fellowships and events, the Center encourages multidisciplinary conversations and collaborations while also supporting cutting-edge research in the humanities and adjacent disciplines. As an incubator of humanistic thought at Wayne State, the Humanities Center works to create interdisciplinary community and to showcase the vitality of the humanities on campus. 

Defining the Humanities

Humanities is an umbrella term describing the work of scholars from a wide variety of disciplinary backgrounds who seek to understand teh human experience by analyzing human culture as expressed by individuals, peoples, or societies. Their research foregrounds methodologies that are comparative, creative, historical, interpretative, and qualitative.

Traditionally, humanities disciplines include anthropology, art history, classical and modern languages, communication and media studies, ethics, history, jurisprudence, literature, linguistics, philosophy, political science, religious studies, rhetoric, and criticism and theory of the fine and performing arts. Yet the humanities may also be found throughout the arts and the social sciences, wherever scholars in these disciplines address topics in the humanities or utilize research methods based in the humanities. Moreover, the humanities are essential to interdisciplinary fields such as African American studies, cultural studies, digital humanities, environmental humanities, gender and sexuality studies, and medical humanities.

Ultimately, the credo of the humanities may be summed up by the words of Terence, a Roman playwright and ex-slave with African roots: “I am human—I think nothing human is alien to me” (homo sum, humani nihil a me alienum puto). Nothing in the human experience is alien to the humanities since the humanities are about all of us and for all of us.

In Memoriam

The Humanities Center joins the Wayne State community in mourning the passing of Dr. Margaret E. Winters, professor emerita and former provost, who passed away on Monday, February 26, 2024.  Dr. Winters was a model of scholarship and service—a generous, prolific scholar, and an accomplished administrator who showed grace and vision even in the toughest of moments.  For many of us — on this campus and beyond — she was also an exceptional mentor and friend. Dr. Winters was an especially good friend to the Humanities Center, both during her time as provost and afterward. She attended many of the Center’s events and presented her scholarly work in the Brown Bag Colloquium Series.  Indeed, the Center was delighted that she and Dr. Geoff Nathan, her husband, participated in its revised book launch program in May 2023.  A Wayne State Warrior until the end, Dr. Winters has left an incredible legacy here at WSU, especially in the humanities.  She will be sorely missed by us all. 


The Humanities Center serves as a campus-wide hub for Wayne State faculty and students working in the humanities, arts, and related disciplines. Through its events and fellowships, the Center pursues three major goals: 1) to nurture scholarly and creative work in the humanities and allied fields; 2) to promote intellectual exchanges relevant to the humanities; 3) to facilitate multidisciplinary collaboration and community. The Center also aims to encourage public humanities initiatives that will allow Wayne State faculty and students to conduct innovative community-based work, especially in the Detroit metro area and Michigan. With its various programs, the Center brings together humanists of all kinds to showcase the centrality of the humanities to our contemporary moment.


*The Humanities Center thanks the WSU Online Art Collection for permission to use an image of "Life, Growth, Continuity" (1998), by Alvin Loving, Jr. (Commission of Office of the President).