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New center seeks to "energize" the humanities

by Mark Sullivan

A new humanities center set to open in January 2007 will be a place that sparks conversation among scholars, enhances intellectual give-and-take with students, and engages the public at large in the intriguing work being done in the humanities.

The Center for the Humanities at Tufts will be located at 48 Professors Row, next door to the Mayer Campus Center.

Jonathan Wilson, professor of English and director of Tufts' Creative Writing Program, has been named the center's director. "It's very exciting," he told Tufts Journal. "We've been pushing for a humanities center for a long time. It's an interdisciplinary center that will be a wonderful locus for all kinds of programming and events that will bring together scholars in the humanities along with writers and intellectuals."

Provost Jamshed Bharucha said: "It's important we continue to find ways to energize the humanities, which traditionally have been at the core of a liberal arts education, but don't have access to the same kinds of resources as the sciences. We hope to give the humanities a platform on campus, to invite interdisciplinary collaboration, and really define the role of the humanities in today's society."

The university seeks to raise $3 million to support the humanities center.

The center, housing graduate and undergraduate fellows, the Mellon Postdoctoral Fellows, and two faculty fellows, will encourage conversation and collaboration among its own scholars as well as among the broader community in Arts & Sciences.

Broadly defined themes, chosen annually to address current and provocative issues in the humanities, will guide the center's direction. Themes such as "Art and Religion" or "Human Rights and the Humanities" would allow members of all departments in the arts, humanities and humanistic social sciences to participate.

Wilson said he is organizing an inaugural symposium on the art and ethics of language translation. He said he also wants to inaugurate a series of lectures by alumni who received their degrees in the humanities.