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Humanities at Richmond

Embracing Complexity

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.

2017-2018 Tucker-Boatwright Festival

Performances, lectures, artist residencies, and films that encourage us to examine the ways in which the personal and the political are inextricably intertwined.Learn more.

2,000 Years of Cultural Tradition

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.

“The ability to nurture a sense of community among humanities departments and to share in the intense experience of independent research altered my own academics as I incorporated new and different disciplines into not only my research but also my other

Taylor Baciocco, '16, 2015 Undergraduate Humanities Fellow

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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.

Religious studies professor Douglas Winiarski received the 2018 Bancroft Prize in American History and Diplomacy for his book, Darkness Falls on the Land of Light: Experiencing Religious Awakenings in Eighteenth-Century New England. The book examines how ordinary people in 18th century New England learn to experience religion differently than previous generations.

Humanities Scholarship Repository

Faculty Accomplishments

  • Ayers receives 2018 Avery O. Craven Award

    Edward Ayers, Tucker Boatwright Professor of the Humanities and president emeritus, was awarded the 2018 Avery O. Craven Award for his book The Thin Light of Freedom: The Civil War and Emancipation in the Heart of America.

  • Bower Article

    German studies professor Kathrin Bower published "Slumming with Cindy: Class, Precarity, and Performance in Cindy aus Marzahn's Trash Comedy,"  in German Studies Review.

  • Winiarski Book Wins Bancroft Prize

    Religious studies professor Doug Winiarski's book Darkness Falls on the Land of Light: Experiencing Religious Awakenings in Eighteenth-Century New England  won the 2018 Bancroft Prize in American History and Diplomacy, presented by Columbia University.

  • Bischof Article Award

    History professor Chris Bischof's article, "Chinese Laborers, Free Blacks, and Social Engineering in the Post-Emancipation British West Indies," published in Past & Present was warded the 2017 Walter D. Love Prize for the best article in British history by the North American Conference on British Studies.

  • Winiarski Book Finalist for George Washington Prize

    Religious studies professor Doug Winiarski's book, Darkness Falls on the Land of Light Experiencing Religious Awakenings in Eighteenth-Century New England, was named one of seven finalists for the 2018 George Washington Prize.

  • Ayers Receives Gilder Lehrman Lincoln Prize

    Tucker Boatwright Professor of the Humanities and President Emeritus Ed Ayers will receive the 2018 Gilder Lehrman Lincoln Prize for his book, The Thin Light of Freedom: The Civil War and Emancipation in the Heart of America.

  • Barney Conference Paper Award

    Rhetoric professor Tim Barney's paper, “Citizen Cartography, North Korea, and the Visual Economy of Satellite Imagery,” was named Top Paper in Rhetoric & Public Address for the 2018 Eastern Communication Association Conference in Pittsburgh. He will present the paper at their conference in April.

  • Meyer Fulbright

    Dr. Manuella Meyer received a Fulbright award for travel to Brazil to research her book project “Making Brazilian Children: Child Welfare and the Psychiatry of Childhood, 1922-1954.”

  • Bonfiglio Podcast

    Dr. Tom Bonfiglio recently appeared on Podcasts@Boatwright, discussing his new book, The Psychopathology of American Capitalism.

  • Calvillo Chapter

    Dr. Elena Calvillo contributed a chapter, "No Stranger in Foreign Lands": Francisco de Hollanda and the Translation of Italian Art and Art Theory," to the recently published book Trust and Proof.

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.

The Undergraduate Humanities Fellows Program pairs a summer of faculty-mentored student research with a semester-long collaborative course team-taught by two humanities faculty members. Students are exposed to discussions and experiences that can broaden their thinking in their individual areas of focus, including a Fall Break trip to cultural institutions in New York City.

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Upcoming Events

There are no events currently scheduled.

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
percent 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

Alumni Perspectives

Carmen Hermo

"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.

Documenting a Historically Black High School

Writing Richmond

“Our courses are not about who writes the most polished term paper with the most sophisticated argument. It’s all about being willing to take risks and put yourself in situations that may not be comfortable, challenge your beliefs, and try a lot of things that you’ve never tried before," said American Studies professor Laura Browder.

In Browder and Patricia Herrera's course Documenting a Historically Black High School, students wrote and performed a documentary drama about the history of Richmond's Armstrong High.


Have questions about the humanities at Richmond? Contact program coordinator Dr. Nicole Sackley.