About the College

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.

2019–2020 Speakers

Edward Ayers
Tucker-Boatwright Professor of the Humanities and President Emeritus, University of Richmond
November 5, 2019

Past Hidden Humanities Lectures


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

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


James Marcus
Editor, Harper’s Magazine
November 8, 2017
“The Secular Swerve: God, The Humanities, and Mr. Emerson”
Robert Newman
President and Director of the National Humanities Center
March 29, 2018
“Saving the World with Metaphor: Toward an Ecological Poetics”


Houston Baker
Professor of English and African American and Diaspora Studies
Vanderbilt University
November 16, 2016
“The Black Bottom Line: Reflections on Ferguson, Black Lives Matter, and White Male Violence in America”
Victoria Gallagher
April 20, 2017
“The Paradoxes, Perils, and Promises of the Humanities in the 21st Century”
Professor of Communication, North Carolina State University


Catherine Stimpson
University Professor and Dean Emerita, New York University
October 15, 2015
“Waging War, Making Peace, Doing the Humanities: Why ‘Macbeth’ Matters”
Mayanthi Fernando
Associate Professor of Anthropology
University of California, Santa Cruz
April 21, 2016
“Storytelling Against the Grain: Muslim Lives, French Myths, and the Power of Ethnography”


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
October 6, 2014
“Standing at the Crossroads: The Humanities and the American South”

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