Humanities at Richmond

Humanities at Richmond

In the humanities, knowledge is fluid rather than stable and absolute. Instead of being frustrated by this, humanists embrace it, developing a flexible mindset equipped to deal with the uncertainty of our world.

Humanities students join a community of scholars whose work builds on 2,000 years of cultural tradition. However, they soon find that the deep questions debated throughout history are just as relevant and meaningful in today’s society.

Humanities ConnectHumanities Fellows

Humanities at UR Events

Humanities Fellows

Power & Enchantment

This year, Humanities at UR is exploring the theme of Power and EnchantmentWhile the story of modernity is often told as a triumph of secular, universal reason over “enchanted” worldviews, our theme focuses on how enchantment remains crucial in our world. The theme is meant to include projects such as: 1) studies of religion, magic, witchcraft, alchemy, and so on as historical, cultural, and political phenomena; 2) investigations into the ways contemporary scientific and cultural thought reignites questions about the “aliveness” of the world and the “agency” of nonhuman entities and systems; 3) studies of how people become enchanted by power and those perceived to be powerful; and 4) remembering that “enchantment” is etymologically related to singing, explorations of how aesthetic or artistic texts and experiences shape our sense of worlds, including by generating feelings like wonder and awe.

students looking at art

Interactive Experience in the Humanities Commons

A new art exhibit in the Humanities Building combines contemporary art and digital sound, as part of a larger effort to shake up perceptions of what it means to study the humanities. 

The multimedia exhibit appears in a shared space in the University’s renovated and expanded Humanities Building, which reopened after updates and expansion in fall 2021 that brought the philosophy, classical studies, history, and English departments into one place. 

An Examined Life

Living an examined life enables one to collaborate meaningfully with others and is a prerequisite to living courageously, selflessly, and in the service of the public good. At Richmond, the humanities are focused on developing the intellectual resources to put an examined life into practice.

Our scholarly community is comprised of over 100 faculty members in 15 departments and programs, all of whom are experts in their chosen field, as well as dedicated teachers and mentors.

The Humanities in Arts & Sciences Advisory Board guides humanities-related activities across the School and our campus.

Faculty Accomplishments

Dr. Joanna K. Love
Love Receives NEH Grant

Joanna Love and Andrew McGraw, music professors, were awarded an NEH Grant for their project on music-making in the digital age.

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Dr. Nicole Sackley
Sackley Receives NEH Grant

Nicole Sackley, associate professor of history and American Studies, has received $6,000 in summer funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities to advance her book project, which explores the history of cooperatives in the United States. Read more:

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Dr. Nicole Sackley
Sackley receives funding

Nicole Sackley, associate professor of history and American Studies, received a $2,000 grant from the Friends of University of Wisconsin-Madison Libraries for her new project, Co-op Capitalism: Cooperatives, International Development, and American Visions of Capitalism in the Twentieth Century.

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Tilton, Arnold Grant

Rhetoric professor Lauren Tilton and mathematics professor Taylor Arnold received a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to develop software that will analyze how moving images such as film, television, and news broadcasts shape cultural norms.

Co-Creating Knowledge

Humanities faculty and students work closely together in the classroom and through student-designed, faculty-mentored research. They ask hard questions of each other, resulting in the co-creation of new knowledge. After experiencing that collaborative environment, students enter the world prepared to make a contribution in the workplace, or to society as a whole.

Humanities Fellows Program

The Humanities Fellows Program is a selective, close-knit, and interdisciplinary community of students and scholars investigating critical and contemporary questions about human experience from diverse perspectives.

Humanities Conferences

Students — looking to present your research? Check out the following opportunities:

Notre Dame Undergraduate Scholars Conference — Fall

Imagining America — October (opportunity for faculty-student collaboration)

Undergraduate Conference in Medieval and Early Modern Studies — December

Undegraduate Research Network for Research in the Humanities — February

Humanities Education and Research Association — March (opportunity for faculty-student collaboration)

National Council on Public History — March (opportunity for faculty-student collaboration)

Virginia Humanities Conference — March (opportunity for faculty-student collaboration)

Institute for Liberal Arts Digital Scholarship — June (opportunity for faculty-student collaboration)

Phi Alpha Theta Biennial Convention (history research)

From the Classroom to the Real World

There is a seamless transition between the abstract thinking done in the classroom and the real-life demands of the job market. Humanities students can analyze problems, develop solutions, and communicate effectively with others, while exhibiting empathy, adaptability, and independent thinking.

As a result, they enter the world and their chosen profession with a formidable set of skills and capabilities, and mindset of curiosity and inquiry. But humanities students do not merely bring training and a set of skills to their profession; they bring the full weight of their humanity.


of employers agree students should have experiences that teach them to solve problems with people who have differing viewpoints. Source: AAC&U


of employers agree college students should acquire civic knowledge and judgement essential for contributing to their community. Source: AAC&U


of employers that agree a candidate's ability to think critically, communicate clearly, and solve complex problems is more important than his or her major. Source: AAC&U

Rather than define you at an early stage in your life, the liberal arts allows you to prepare and position yourself as a writer, researcher, thinker, and individual. I found that later internships and hands-on experience shaped my specialization, but that my liberal arts background from the University of Richmond was the ideal foundation for my eventual career.

Carmen Hermo, ’07

Major: Art History

Current Occupation: Assistant Curator, Collections, at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York

Humanities in Practice

The most pressing global problems do not have simple, black and white solutions. The humanities prepare students to confront today's challenges with flexible habits of mind, a strong moral compass, and the ability to critically examine complicated and rapidly changing social realties. They are equipped to effectively negotiate a globally integrated world, as well as shape a life that is rich with meaning because they recognize the full range of human value and potential.

Additional partners in humanities practice include University Museums, the Modlin Center for the Arts, the Center for Civic Engagement, the Digital Scholarship Lab, Boatwright Memorial Library, and UR Downtown.

Have questions about the humanities at Richmond?