Message from the President & Director

A Look Back at 2018-19

As NHC President and Director Robert D. Newman notes, “the humanities involve the study of the human condition in all its complexities, accomplishments, transgressions, and messiness.” Watch this video for an overview of the last year at the Center and learn more about our efforts to support humanities research and teaching and public engagement with, and appreciation for, the humanities.

Public Intellectuals

Thinking More Expansively

The National Humanities Center provides scholars with resources to generate new knowledge and further understanding of all forms of cultural expression, social interaction, and human thought.

Despite their intensive focus on the larger projects they work on, many Fellows also participate in a variety of activities to share their knowledge with the public.

The most substantial products of their efforts can be seen in the books and scholarly works produced as a result of their time at the Center. But, the hope of the fellowship program is not simply that Fellows complete their books more quickly than they would otherwise. Rather, we seek to provide a setting in which projects may be transformed in unexpected ways and become qualitatively different as a result of serendipitous conversations across disciplines, special events at the Center, and our librarians’ extraordinary ability to procure rare and difficult-to-find sources.

Despite their intensive focus on the larger projects they work on, many Fellows also participate in a variety of activities to share their knowledge with the public. This year, for example, Fellows gave talks across the country and abroad and lent their expertise to broader intellectual conversations through radio interviews, podcasts, and by writing op-eds in response to emerging issues. For example, historian of technology Mar Hicks wrote a piece for the Guardian, “Why Tech’s Gender Problem is Nothing New;” James Chappel cowrote a piece on ageism in the forthcoming elections for the Washington Post; and Honor Sachs wrote for the Washington Post, “How Pocahontas—The Myth and the Slur—Props up White Supremacy.”

Beyond Despair

Appreciating What Things Are Worth

Confronting contemporary challenges is impossible unless we understand the ways that humans interact with their environments and the repercussions those interactions have both locally and globally. And, while some may be daunted by the challenges we face, the humanities teach us that we carry great capacity for heroic deeds within ourselves.

In the spring of 2019, the Center focused attention on the work humanists are doing to contextualize and address environmental concerns.

In the spring of 2019, the Center focused attention on the work humanists are doing to contextualize and address environmental concerns. In public conversations, podcasts, and panel discussions, we highlighted how scholars from across disciplines are addressing environmental topics in distinct places around the world—all of them unified, however, by a shared interest in the ways that humans interact with their environments and the repercussions those interactions have both locally and globally.

This series of events, collectively presented on the Center’s website, culminated in a major conference titled “Beyond Despair” which brought together scientists, artists, teachers, and civic leaders, all working to find solutions to environmental degradation along with wildlife photographer and environmental humanist Subhankar Banerjee who gave the keynote opening lecture. The conference also featured Fellows Joni Adamson, Julie Velásquez Runk, Claudia Leal, Joseph E. Taylor III, Stephanie Foote (2017–18), and Matthew Booker (2016–17). Pre-recorded and livestreamed Skype interviews with three scholars in East Asia were led by Fellow Robin Visser (2017–18) and focused on “Teaching the Environment at Fudan University and Nanyang Technological University.”

Troops to Teachers

Understanding What Things Cost

Helping educators combine their particular skills and expertise with those of scholars has been the hallmark of the Center’s innovative professional development programs.

This past year, for instance, with the generous support from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Center welcomed 15 educators, who are also veterans, for a project-based initiative to use humanities resources to help their students and communities better understand the military experience.

Teaching, like military service, is a profession in which the personal and professional are very closely tied.

Teaching, like military service, is a profession in which the personal and professional are very closely tied and the culture of teaching reflects a civic-minded call to duty, and the motivation and reward is often intrinsic. Helping these service minded professionals share their experiences, noted literary scholars like Patrick Deer of New York University and codirector Hilary Lithgow from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill worked with participants to use literary fiction and nonfiction, poetry, and popular media culture to explore key themes such as duty, sacrifice, and homecoming. The cohort then designed projects to support their home communities and students gain a deeper understanding of these ideas.

A further description of the Center’s recent initiatives using literature to explore military life and the experience of war is available here.

By the Numbers

Fellows’ Books

published or added to the Robert F. and Margaret S. Goheen Collection, bringing the total to 1,673 books in the collection


from fifteen U.S. states, as well as Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Jamaica, Mexico, South Africa, and the United Kingdom

unique page views for the suite of education pages

Hosted 34 live, interactive webinars with 4,680 attendees in 50 states earning 23,400 professional development hours


University Sponsors

including Duke, Harvard, Princeton, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill



of podcasts, videos, and other media resources were produced for national distribution on a wide variety of important subjects—from environmental justice to civil discourse to issues of race and equality



social media impressions across Center social media platforms including Facebook and Twitter



The Fellows

The Center hosted thirty-eight Fellows from 15 U.S. states, as well as from Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Jamaica, Mexico, South Africa, and the United Kingdom. Their projects spanned geographies, time periods, and disciplines.

Click on each Fellow's name below to learn more about the work they completed during their Fellowship at the Center.

Joni Adamson

Arizona State University

Audrey L. Anton

Western Kentucky University

Weihong Bao

University of California, Berkeley

Juliana Barr

Duke University

Andrea Brady

Queen Mary University of London

Lisa Earl Castillo

Independent Scholar

James Chappel

Duke University

Lanlan Du

Shanghai Jiao Tong University

Bart Ehrman

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Simonetta Falasca-Zamponi

University of California, Santa Barbara

Mia Fuller

University of California, Berkeley

Paul Fyfe

North Carolina State University

Rebecca Anne Goetz

New York University

Trudier Harris

University of Alabama

Frances S. Hasso

Duke University

Mar Hicks

Illinois Institute of Technology

Meta DuEwa Jones

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Tait Keller

Rhodes College

Claudia Leal

Universidad de los Andes, Colombia

Huaqiang Li

Fudan University

Anton M. Matytsin

Kenyon College

Robert G. Morrison

Bowdoin College

Gretchen Murphy

University of Texas at Austin

Alka Patel

University of California, Irvine

Aretha Phiri

Rhodes University, South Africa

Matthew Rubery

Queen Mary University of London

Honor Sachs

University of Colorado Boulder

Ricardo Salles

Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México

Franziska Seraphim

Boston College

Matthew J. Smith

University of the West Indies at Mona, Jamaica

Lisa Tatonetti

Kansas State University

Joseph E. Taylor III

Simon Fraser University

Abraham Terian

Saint Nersess Armenian Seminary

Ted Underwood

University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Julie Velásquez Runk

University of Georgia

Peter B. Villella

University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Richard K. Wolf

Harvard University

Yan Xu

Fudan University

Resident Associates

In addition to Fellows, these scholars were also in residence at the Center during the 2018–19 academic year.

Eleanor Courtemanche

University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Matt Ffytche

University of Essex

Ling Hon Lam

University of California, Berkeley

Shawn Van Ausdal

Universidad de los Andes, Colombia

Books by Fellows

New Additions to the Robert F. and Margaret S. Goheen Collection

Fellow Jeffrey C. Stewart’s (1990–91) biography of Alain Locke, which earned both a Pulitzer Prize and a National Book Award, was just one of the many exceptional Fellows’ books published in 2018–19.

See More



Staff & Trustees

Staff of the Center (as of June 30, 2019)

Robert D. Newman

President and Director

Heidi N. Camp

Vice President for Institutional Advancement

Andy Mink

Vice President for Education Programs

Tania Munz

Vice President for Scholarly Programs

Stephanie Tucker

Vice President for Operations/Chief Financial Officer

Brooke Andrade

Director of the Library

Joel Elliott

Information Technology Coordinator

Margo Francis

Accounting Manager

Olympia Friday

Digital Engagement and Marketing Coordinator

Steve Gambino

Accounting Clerk

James Getkin

Dining Room Manager

Sarah Harris

Associate Librarian

Martha Johnson

Executive Assistant for Institutional Advancement

Jason King

Online Resources Manager

Joe Milillo

Assistant Librarian

Lynn Miller

Scholarly Programs Manager

Karen Mudd

Administrative Support

Tom Reed

Dining Room Staff

Don Solomon

Director of Communications

Elizabeth G. Taylor

Education Programs Coordinator

Julie Ungaro

Executive Assistant to the Director

Michael Williams

Education Projects Manager


The Center is governed by a distinguished board of trustees from academic, professional, and public life.

Peter A. Benoliel

Chairman Emeritus, Quaker Chemical Corporation, St. Davids, PA

Elizabeth Birkelund

Author, New York, NY

David Blackbourn

Cornelius Vanderbilt Distinguished Chair of History, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN

David Bromwich

Sterling Professor of English, Yale University, New Haven, CT

Ric Burns

Filmmaker, Steeplechase Films, Inc., New York, NY

Dennis M. Campbell

Former Professor of Theology and Dean of Duke Divinity School, Duke University; J. Carter Walker Chair and Headmaster Emeritus, Woodberry Forest School, Durham, NC

Willo Carey

Former Broadcast Executive, WHYY, St. Davids, PA

William D. Cohan

Author and Journalist, Special Correspondent, Vanity Fair, New York, NY

Jennifer Daniels

Chief Legal Officer and Secretary, Colgate-Palmolive, Greenwich, CT

Cees J. de Bruin

Chairman, Indofin Group, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

J. Porter Durham Jr.

Managing Partner and General Counsel, Global Endowment Management, LP, Charlotte, NC

Leslie Fahrenkopf Foley

Attorney, Greenwich, CT

Annette Gordon-Reed

Professor, Harvard Law School, Cambridge, MA

Kevin Guthrie

President, ITHAKA/JSTOR, New York, NY

Pamela Hendrickson

COO and Vice Chairman, Strategic Initiatives, The Riverside Company, New York, NY

Michael Ann Holly

Starr Director Emeritus, Research and Academic Program, Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, MA

Thomas L. Jones

Managing Director, Alvarez & Marsal, Inc., New York, NY

William C. Jordan

Dayton-Stockton Professor of History, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ

Philip S. Khoury

Ford International Professor of History, Associate Provost, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA

Karen R. Lawrence

President, The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens, San Marino, CA

Richard Levy

President, H.B.D., Inc., Greensboro, NC

Patricia R. Morton

Founder, PRM Advisors, LLC, Charlotte, NC

Jane O. Newman*

Professor, Comparative Literature, School of Humanities, University of California at Irvine, Irvine, CA

Robert D. Newman

(NHC President), Director, National Humanities Center, Research Triangle Park, NC

John C. O’Hara Jr.

Former Managing Director, Rockefeller Capital Management, Boston, MA

Vincent E. Price

President, Duke University, Durham, NC

Carol Quillen

President, Davidson College, Davidson, NC

Harriet Ritvo*

Arthur J. Conner Professor of History, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA

Cara W. Robertson*

Independent Scholar and Attorney, Santa Monica, CA

Joshua Ruch

(Board Vice Chair), Managing Partner, Rho Capital Partners, New York, NY

Thomas J. Scherer

(Board Secretary), General Counsel, Aegon Asset Management, Chicago, IL

Diana Sorensen

James F. Rothenberg Professor of Romance Languages and Literatures, Professor of Comparative Literature, Harvard University

Joan Hinde Stewart*

President Emerita, Hamilton College, Durham, NC

Mark E. Thierfelder

Partner and Chair, Global Corporate and Securities Practice, Dechert, LLP, New York, NY

Ben Vinson III*

(Board Chair), Provost and Executive Vice President, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH

Bruce D. VonCannon

Managing Director/Responsible Officer, Vanheel Management Ltd, Hong Kong

Jonathan G. Weiss

Senior Vice President and Head, Wealth and Investment Management, Wells Fargo & Company, New York, NY

Raymond J. Wiacek

(Board Treasurer), Partner, Jones Day, Washington, DC

A. Morris Williams Jr.

President, Williams & Company, West Conshohocken, PA

Susan Wolf*

Edna J. Koury Distinguished Professor, Department of Philosophy, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC

Pauline R. Yu

President, American Council of Learned Societies, New York, NY

Trustees Emeriti

John F. Adams
James H. Averill
Caroline Walker Bynum
W. Robert Connor
Andrew Delbanco*
Blair Effron
Frances Ferguson*
Frances Daly Fergusson
Catherine Gallagher*
Merril Halpern
Geoffrey Harpham
Gertrude Himmelfarb
Robert Hollander
Shepard Krech III*
Thomas W. Laqueur*
William Leuchtenburg*
Martin E. Marty
Assad Meymandi, MD, PHD, DLFAPA
William M. (Bill) Moore Jr.
Francis Oakley*
Carl Pforzheimer III
Lawrence R. Ricciardi
Sally Dalton Robinson
Benno Schmidt Jr.
John Searle
Isaac Shapiro, Esq.
Patricia Meyer Spacks*
Robert Strassler
Herbert Winokur Jr.