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Fostering multidisciplinary perspectives

Supporting collaboration

Exploring artifacts of the human experience

What is the Humanities Center?

As scholars in the humanities and humanistic social sciences at the University of Rochester, we examine human culture in its myriad forms: literature, language, media, philosophy, religion, history, anthropology, visual and performing arts, and much more. We are committed to critical thinking, reasoned discourse, inclusiveness, civility, empathy, and compassion—values that lie at the center of humanistic inquiry and that are essential for a thriving democratic citizenry. The Humanities Center, located in Rush Rhees Library, is our home base for interdisciplinary exchange and collaboration. We offer programs for faculty, students, and the public. To become an affiliate of the Center and receive emails about our events, contact

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News & Announcements

New research project explores social and political nuances of migration in the Americas

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded the University of Rochester one of its prestigious grants for a Sawyer Seminar on the Comparative Study of Cultures, to support the project “Unbordering Migration in the Americas: Causes, Experiences, Identities.”

The interdisciplinary seminar will explore neglected but vital aspects of human migration in the Western hemisphere, considering the political, social, and economic circumstances of migration to and within the Americas over time. Components of the project also include biweekly seminars, public lectures, monthly workshops, film screenings, and an art exhibition.

October 27, 2020

Teaching the complexities of the Nobel Prize in Literature

English professor Bette London introduces students to Nobel-winning authors and the controversies surrounding the prize.

May 15, 2020

Pablo Miguel Sierra Silva Receives Inaugural President’s Ferrari Humanities Research Award

Pablo Miguel Sierra Silva, an assistant professor of history, is the first recipient of the President’s Ferrari Humanities Research Award, an award endowed by University of Rochester Trustee Bernard T. Ferrari ’70, ’74M (MD) and his wife, Linda Gaddis Ferrari. The $25,000 annual award promotes and supports humanities research among tenured and tenure-track faculty across Arts, Sciences & Engineering who are affiliated with the University’s Humanities Center.

April 11, 2019

Gift Supports Faculty in the Humanities

A recent gift from University of Rochester Trustee Bernard T. Ferrari ’70, ’74M (MD) and his wife, Linda, establishes the President’s Ferrari Humanities Award. This endowed fund provides a $25,000 annual award—in perpetuity—to promote and support humanities research among tenured and tenure-track faculty across Arts, Sciences, and Engineering (AS&E) who are affiliated with the University’s Humanities Center.

July 29, 2019

‘Experiencing Civic Life’ through the humanities

For two weeks in July, the  led high school students in a quest to understand the philosophical underpinnings and practical expressions of civic life. This was the first year of “Experiencing Civic Life,” an academic preparation and enrichment program designed to help participants become successful college students and active citizens of American democracy.

February 8, 2019

What’s the problem with civility?

In a recent episode of the University of Rochester's Quadcast podcast, Kevin Meuwissen, associate professor at the Warner School of Education; Joan Saab, vice provost of academic affairs and the Susan B. Anthony Professor of Art History and Visual and Cultural Studies; and David Primo, the Ani and Mark Gabrellian Professor and associate professor of political science and business administration, discussed civil and civic discourse, and how to bridge America’s social and political divide.

October 24, 2018

Internships prepare new generation of arts and humanities leaders

A new program, supported with a five-year grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, matches students interested in the arts and humanities with local nonprofit organizations. The paid, 30-hour-per-week internships help Rochester students explore how their skills can be engaged professionally, for the good of the community.

April 18, 2017

Mellon Foundation Awards Rochester $1 Million Grant for Humanities

The University has received a $1 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to increase undergraduates’ engagement with the humanities. Titled “Humanities for Life,” the five-year initiative is designed to engage students early in their academic careers, to create opportunities for experiences outside the classroom, and to foster community engagement.


Beneath many of the coronavirus ethical dilemmas facing Americans lie longstanding inequities in our social structure and failures of social justice, say three ethicists. Read more

Special Issue of "InVisible Culture"

2019 Distinguished Visiting Humanist Hazel Carby’s visit has led to a special issue of InVisible Culture, the graduate student-led journal of the visual & cultural studies program, titled “Black Studies Now and the Countercurrents of Hazel Carby.” The issue brings together new work by Carby on Black futurities and imperial archives, essays by scholars from Princeton, Rutgers, Wesleyan, and Tulane, and a cluster of articles by faculty, staff, and graduate students at the University of Rochester. Responding directly to the civil unrest and racial reckoning of 2020, including the murder of Daniel Prude in Rochester, this wide-ranging special issue showcases what Black Studies both is and could be at present, including at our own institution. The issue can be found at

The Humanities Center

Fostering Interdisciplinary Collaboration

In the Humanities Center, faculty, fellows, students, affiliates, and the public gather to collaborate and create community. Seminars, workshops, lectures, digital projects and other forms of humanistic inquiry animate our beautiful new space in Rush Rhees Library. 

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In These Times: A Humanities Program For Today

At a moment when climate change compels us to address the impacts of human behavior on our environment, this semester's segment of “In These Times: A Humanities Program for Today” explores various ways that people throughout history have envisioned their relationships to the natural world. On what basis did a drought seem a sign of God’s displeasure? Did unpopulated land offer an opportunity for spiritual renewal or a resource for the benefit of civilization? In what contexts were the poet, artist, and musician regarded as especially attuned to the sounds and sights of woods and water? Join University of Rochester faculty members to discuss these and other questions, including whether the categories of the human and the natural stand up to philosophical scrutiny altogether. Sessions will also be devoted to the dilemmas of the 21st century.

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departments and programs

With majors and degree programs that incorporate dozens of disciplines.

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humanities clusters

Comprised of hundreds of courses based in Arts, Sciences and Engineering.

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Support the Center

Rochester is uniquely positioned to pursue research that spans the arts and humanities. If you would like more information about the humanities at Rochester or the Central New York Humanities Corridor, please contact us.

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