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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

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.

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.

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.

August 13, 2018

Committed to memory

How does memory shape our sense of who we are? Discover how Rochester scientists, doctors, musicians, historians, and philosophers are studying and working with memory.

March 9, 2018

Scholars examine memory through many lenses

Intellectual exchange is at the heart of the Humanities Center, with programs for undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty. The center’s fellowship programs—supported for their first three years by Jay ’51 and Deborah Last—are an important part of that exchange. The fellowships bring together scholars in a broad range of fields from within the University and without, to carry out research and engage with students and other scholars at the center.

November 8, 2017

What makes Pulitzer Prize–winning historian Laurel Thatcher Ulrich curious?

In her first scholarly article -- on Puritan funeral sermons for “virtuous” women -- Laurel Ulrich Thatcher included a sentence that has become a fixture in our visual landscape: “Well-behaved women seldom make history.” Ulrich will speak about finding history in overlooked objects as part of the Humanities Center's public lecture series.

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.


We are pleased to announce our fellows for the 2019-2020 academic year. External fellows Eduardo Herrera (Musicology/Ethnomusicology, Rutgers) and Alexandra Lindgren-Gibson (History, University of Mississippi) will join internal fellows Andrew Cashner (Music, Spring 2020), Thomas Fleischman (History, Spring 2020), David Holloway (Modern Languages and Cultures, Fall 2019), and Brianna Theobald (History, Fall 2019).

Study the Humanities Toolkit

The Humanities Center this fall is highlighting a new online toolkit under development by the National Humanities Alliance. The Study the Humanities Toolkit provides data, profiles, and articles on the value of studying the humanities as an undergraduate. Designed for advisors and faculty, the kit is in the first phase of its development, and the alliance is seeking feedback from potential users. Read more…

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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Insight into the Humanities

A Conversation with Bernie Ferrari

The Ferraris’ philanthropic commitment to the humanities at the University emphasizes their vital role. “In today’s world, especially in higher education where so much of the emphasis has turned to preparing students for specific jobs, it is most important to preserve the humanities,” he says. “In our view, the humanities cannot become victim of the yearly, and even daily, realities of budget limitations. They are too important.”

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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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