New Humanities Institute Sponsors Panel Presentation on October 16


New Humanities Institute Sponsors Panel Presentation on October 16

The Humanities Institute is a well-known name among the Fairfield University community.

Housed in the College of Arts and Sciences, it has sponsored hundreds of lectures, events, film series, workshops, and seminars, as well as curricular and engagement initiatives since its inception in 1984. It has become a cornerstone of support among the humanities departments and fundamental to the vibrant extracurricular programing available for the student population.

Last May, a revitalized Humanities Institute was announced with the intention of promoting all aspects of humanistic inquiry through scholarship, initiatives, and organizations while also envisioning a 21 st Century Humanities Institute as a center of excellence. Dr. Ronald Davidson, professor and chair of religious studies, is the first director.

Dr. Davidson was chosen as the inaugural director of the Institute due to his steadfast commitment to humanistic inquiry and teaching, his advocacy for the central role that the humanities play in a Fairfield and Jesuit education, and his leadership role in developing the expanded Humanities Institute.

Dr. Davidson said, “Fairfield is distinguished by superb teacher-scholars in the humanities, whose accomplishments both in the classroom and in scholarship are outstanding. The reborn Humanities Institute seeks to promote and augment those accomplishments through funding, programming, and engagement with the community at large.”

In the last two week alone, the Humanities Institute has supported a lecture connected to the Guerrilla Girls exhibit currently on display in the Walsh Art Gallery; the Irish Studies Film Festival series; and the play, Life of Riley .

In addition to the many events the Institute sponsors, on October 16, the Institute will host a panel presentation, “Are the Humanities Relevant?” in the Kelley Center Presentation Room from 3:30-6 p.m. Dr. Davidson noted that the event is open to the entire University community and that intellectual fireworks are sure to occur.

“In our campus and public programs, the Humanities Institute hopes to correct some misperceptions about the importance of humanistic disciplines, both to our students and to the society around us, and to create conversations in which significant ideas and challenging topics are given the consideration they merit,” he said.

In addition to programing, Dr. Davidson will lead implementation of a Humanities Seminar for faculty and student fellows, create a strong digital presence for the Humanities Institute, and develop innovative curricular and co-curricular initiatives that will produce contemporary humanities educational and enrichment programming for the Fairfield campus and its greater community.

Dr. James Simon, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences said, “When students graduate from Fairfield, they often tell us that it was their Humanities courses – in English, fine arts, language, history, philosophy and religious studies – that were the most important in teaching them how to think, how to question, how to critically assess, and how to add value to whatever conversation they have, at work or at home. The revitalized Humanities Institute will help students even more by bringing speakers to campus to explore these issues, sponsoring one-on-one student work with professors, and giving professors more digital tools to use in their research and in the classroom.”

Visit the Humanities Institute website at

Last modified: 10-01-14 11:03 AM


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