The Hidden Humanities Lecture Series

The Hidden Humanities lecture series was founded in 2014 to bring nationally prominent scholars and writers to UA to discuss the so-called “crisis in humanities.” Each lecturer is invited to address, head on, the positive contributions of the humanities to society at large. The goal of the Hidden Humanities series is to challenge the widespread notion that the humanities ought to be a low priority in education.

The lectures — two of which happen each academic year — are intended to clarify the nature of the debate over the importance of the humanities and shed new light on why intellectual disciplines at the heart of the modern university now appear to be so undervalued.

The Hidden Humanities lecture series is organized by UA’s College of Arts and Sciences, the University’s largest division and the largest liberal arts college in the state. Students from the College have won numerous national awards including Rhodes and Goldwater scholarships.



Edward Ayers
Tucker-Boatwright Professor of the Humanities and President Emeritus, University of Richmond
Video: “The Humanities and Everyone Else”
November 5, 2019


Cynthia Warrick
President, Stillman College
Video: “HBCUs, Their Legacy and Relevance Today”
November 12, 2018

Leslie Harris
Professor of History, Northwestern University
Video: “Slavery and the University: Histories and Legacies”
March 21, 2019


James Marcus
Editor, Harper’s Magazine
Video: “The Secular Swerve: God, The Humanities, and Mr. Emerson”
November 8, 2017

Robert Newman
President and Director of the National Humanities Center
Video: “Saving the World with Metaphor: Toward an Ecological Poetics”
March 29, 2018


Houston Baker
Professor of English and African American and Diaspora Studies, Vanderbilt University
“The Black Bottom Line: Reflections on Ferguson, Black Lives Matter, and White Male Violence in America”
November 16, 2016

Victoria Gallagher
Professor of Communication, North Carolina State University
“The Paradoxes, Perils, and Promises of the Humanities in the 21st Century”
April 20, 2017


Catherine Stimpson
University Professor and Dean Emerita, New York University
“Waging War, Making Peace, Doing the Humanities: Why ‘Macbeth’ Matters”
October 15, 2015

Mayanthi Fernando
Associate Professor of Anthropology
University of California, Santa Cruz
“Storytelling Against the Grain: Muslim Lives, French Myths, and the Power of Ethnography”
April 21, 2016


William Ferris
Professor of History, Senior Associate Director of the Center for the Study of the American South, former chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities (1997-2001), University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
“Standing at the Crossroads: The Humanities and the American South”
October 6, 2014

Michael Bérubé
Director of the Institute for the Arts and Humanities, Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of Literature, Pennsylvania State University
“The Value and Values of the Humanities”
February 26, 2015