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Union to host forum on the humanities


At a time when the role of arts and the humanities is under national scrutiny, the College will host “Defining and Framing the Humanities Today,” Monday, Feb. 10 in the Nott Memorial. The half-day public forum showcasing the arts and humanities in upstate New York is sponsored by 4humanities@NY6, an initiative of the New York Six Consortium.

Union is a member of the consortium, along with Colgate University, Hamilton College, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, St. Lawrence University and Skidmore College.

The keynote speaker is Alan Liu, director of 4humanities at the University of California and director of 4humanities. He will give a presentation on "Values, Strategies, and Technologies for Humanities Advocacy in the Digital Age."

Liu will also lead a workshop discussion on “The Heart of the Matter,” a report released last year by American Academy of Arts and Science’s Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences.

The report tackles five areas of concern: K-12 education, higher education, research, cultural institutions, and international security and competitiveness. It also makes recommendations to achieve three broad goals:  educating Americans in the knowledge, skills and understanding they’ll need to thrive in 21st-century democracy; fostering a society that is innovative, competitive and strong; and readying the nation for global leadership.

“We want to build a community comprised of professionals and students who wish to reshape—rethink and rewrite—public conversations on the state of the arts and humanities, and by extension the liberal arts in the United States,” said Christine Henseler, professor of Spanish and Hispanic Studies.

Henseler co-organized the forum, along with Janet Simons of Hamilton College. It is open to the public, with limited seating.

The schedule:

Noon -12:50 p.m.   Meet and greet over light lunch

1 – 1:15 p.m.         Introductions

1:15 – 2:15 p.m.    Presentation by Prof. Alan Liu: “Values, Strategies, and Technologies for Humanities Advocacy in the Digital Age.”

2:15-2:30 p.m.      Short break with coffee and pastries

2:30 – 4:30 p.m.   Workshop discussion on “The Heart of the Matter,” moderated by Alan Liu

Established in 2009 with the support of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the New York Six Liberal Arts Consortium facilitates collaboration among its member institutions in fulfilling their educational missions and serving the public good. Through the sharing of expertise and resources, the consortium enhances options for students, faculty and staff while reducing colleges' individual and collective operating and capital costs.