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About the Humanities Center

The Humanities Center is a small group of scholars, intense and driven, but also, and crucially, enthusiastic and generous. Collaboration, exchange, and intellectual freedom are the core of the Humanities Center's purpose.

Faculty and graduate students in the Department share a commitment to philosophical questions, engaged in art, literature, film, and history, as well as philosophy proper. Because faculty and students work in a variety of fields, a common investment in intellectual curiosity, flexibility, and open-mindedness, as well as to careful reading and criticism, is essential to the coherence of the Departmen.

The diversity of interests in the Department in turn constitutes one of its main strengths: colloquia in the Department bring together resources from diverse disciplines, and generate feedback from scholars approaching the material from a variety of backgrounds. Thus the Department functions significantly to expand the range of resource material and critical perspectives available both to its own students and faculty and to scholars from other departments who regularly attend the Department's programs. Its inherent interdisciplinarity allows the Department to serve as a crucial meeting ground for scholars from across the university's humanities departments, particularly as students and faculty of the Department develop strong ties with those in other departments working closely to their areas of interest.

The essence of the Humanities Center's interdisciplinarity lies in its emphasis on ideas and problems. The Department's graduate students benefit particularly from this mode of intellectual engagement, as they are encouraged to seek out a project addressing authentic philosophical/theoretical problems without the restriction of disciplinary conventions. The Department thus fosters a great deal of independence in its graduate students, not only in their coming to their dissertation material, but also in their taking the initiative to develop working relationships with faculty in other departments and often other institutions in the course of their research. Faculty advisors consider it a primary task see to it that this freedom always remains within the pragmatic demands of academic life beyond graduation, to which the extraordinary placement record of the Department’s students testifies.

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