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Spring 2024 Note from the Faculty Co-Directors/Board Co-Chairs


January 21, 2024
radiating sun graphic

A Spring 2024 Note from the Faculty Co-Directors/Board Co-Chairs Brian Larkin & Jennifer Wenzel

Happy New Year and welcome to the Spring semester!

These are challenging times at the university and in the world, but we are more convinced than ever about the indispensability of collaborative humanistic thinking to meet those challenges. In keeping with the original vision behind the founding of the Society of Fellows and the Heyman Center, we are guided by an institutionally expansive and civically engaged sense of the humanities: looking across the disciplines and schools of the university in order to understand the problems and forces that shape our worlds. And, as scholars who both study African cultures and societies, our understanding of the place of the humanities in the world is grounded in contexts beyond the United States.

There is a full and exciting program of events this spring. SOF Fellows will be convening their annual spring Thursday Lecture Series on the theme of “Alternatives/Concessions.” We will celebrate new books by our alumni Fellows, starting with Rivals: How Scientists Learned To Cooperate by Lorraine Daston (SOF ’79-’80) on January 24. We are co-sponsoring a public lecture by Andreas Malm, as well as the new climate justice exhibition Bridging the Gulf, and are holding a Justice Forum on “Art as a Practice of Freedom,” jointly sponsored by our Public Humanities and Justice-in-Education Initiatives. SOF Fellow A. Véronique Charles is programming a France/Africa film and talk series in Paris. See below and stay tuned for details on these and many other events.

At the Society of Fellows, we bid farewell to Emma Shaw Crane, who has just begun an assistant professor position at Loyola Marymount. We’ll miss Emma’s warmth, generosity, and incisiveness. We’re also welcoming Maura Lucking, who is joining us this semester as a Buell Fellow through GSAPP.

On the horizon, we’re beginning to think about how to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Society of Fellows in 2025. Stay tuned for details.

We’d also like to thank Nadia Abu El-Haj, who stepped down as Board Chair last year. During her three-year term, Nadia worked tirelessly through the most challenging years of the pandemic. In addition to providing intellectual guidance to the SOF Fellows, she helped oversee some major administrative projects, including a revision of the bylaws (which created our slightly reconfigured director/chair position) and an ARC review. We remain grateful for her efforts and wisdom!

Brian Larkin
Jennifer Wenzel