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.
What Are the Humanities?
What does it mean to be human? How can we understand ourselves and our world? Scholars in the humanities strive to answer these questions by analyzing human culture and experience, 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.
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2022-2023 Annual Report
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).