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Humanities Lab | Community Events



228 Battelle-Tompkins Hall 

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Humanities Lab
College of Arts and Sciences
4400 Massachusetts Avenue NW
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Humanities Lab Community Events

The Humanities Lab often co-sponsors events and workshops with departments and organizations at American University.

You can suggest a collaboration, or request to use our workspace in 228 Battelle-Tompkins for events related to the humanities, by sending us an email.

Community Events 2015-2016

Black Lives Matter

Join us for the launch of the Critical Race, Gender, and Culture Studies Collaborative at American University, with a special event discussing the importance, challenges and impact of the Black Lives Matter movement. Erika Totten, a BLM activist, and Marcia Chatelain, Associate Professor of History at Georgetown, will both speak about aspects of the movement. Read more.

The Art of Losing

This year we’ve lost some of our favorite writers and artists: Harper Lee, David Bowie, Melissa Mathison, E.L. Doctorow, Anita Brookner, Yuko Tsushima, Umberto Eco, Mavis Gallant, Julian Bond, Rosario Ferré…

This event will be a celebration of these writers, and it will largely be shaped by your desire to join in. Come and read from the work of a writer whom you admire and whom we’ve lost in the last year or so. Poets, prose writers, musicians — anyone who put pen to paper who was important to you. Read more.


Understanding the Mind

We are fascinated by the brain and what neuroscience is discovering about it. At this faculty forum, a distinguished literary critic and historian of science, a leading expert on neuroscience and the pre-frontal cortex, and an eloquent professor of communications, with expertise on the philosophy of mind, discuss some of the promising new approaches to the brain and mind. Read more.

Colloquium on Claudia Rankine’s Citizen

Exploring the work of Claudia Rankine’s book Citizen, An American Lyric. This community event features presentations and conversations among faculty, students and the AU and DC communities, in anticipation of the poet’s visit and reading form her work at AU. More than 100 people attended the events of this day, which also included a panel on the role journalists play in shaping the story, with representatives from ThinkProgress and News2Share.  Read more.

Remix Culture

In this lecture, professor Aram Sinnreich presents his research on remix culture, on the challenges posed by of contemporary media mixing in forms such as mashups and memes. Collecting data from thousands of adult Internet users across a range of nations between 2006-2015, Professor Sinnreich examines our attitude towards these new “configurable” cultural practices.  Read more.

Celebrating Karel Čapek’s play R. U. R.

Organized by the Embassy of the Czech Republic and moderated by Despina Kakoudaki, this panel brings together a renowned group of scholars to discuss the play R.U.R (Rossum’s Universal Robots). First performed in 1921, the play introduced the word “robot” into the world, and also presented a meditation on technology, humanity and the future. Our panel explores the lasting impact of this work. Read more.

Community Events from 2014-2015:

The Art of Losing

A community reading and celebration of the work of some of the writers who died last year. People from across the AU community read their favorite excerpts of poetry, essays, prose, memoir, and non-fiction, by Philip Levine, Nadine Gordimer, Doris Lessing, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Lou Reed, David Carr, Robert Stone, Maya Angelou, Galway Kinnell, Amiri Baraka, Ray Bradbury, and other amazing writers. Read more.

The Only FOR REAL Thing on TV! Broadcasting Soul

Professor Gayle Wald (George Washington University) talks about the television program Soul!, the first national television program focused on cultural and political expressions of the Black Power era. Read more.

What fresh hell is this?

A discussion of Mary Jo Bang’s contemporary translation of Dante’s Inferno, with professors David Keplinger, David Pike, and Linda Voris. In this informal conversation, readings from Cantos V through IX will showcase the impact of a translator’s choices and contexts. Read more.

Beowulf: A Community Reading

The Humanities Lab sponsored a community reading of Seamus Heaney’s translation of Beowulf. Faculty, students, and members of the AU community read sections of the poem in preparation for the Literature Colloquium, a day of presentations and lectures on Beowulf. October 2014. Read more.

Research Lunch series

As part of the exploratory process of the Fall 2014 semester, the Research Lunch Series brought together faculty from the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Communications, the School of International Service, the American University Library, the Center for Research and Teaching Excellence, and other organizations on campus to discuss common interests.

Humanities Lab Workshop and Brainstorming Session

More than 60 members of the AU community, including faculty, graduate and undergraduate students, librarians, and staff, met in September 2014 to identify the aims and goals of the Humanities Lab. The lively and open-ended workshop was the beginning of an exploratory semester of meetings and lunches that created the agenda of the Humanities Lab for the first couple of years.

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Fall 2016 Events

Follow the links below for more about our events and projects at our blog: