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Humanities Now

Author: The Humanities Center at Texas Tech

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Humanities Now is the official podcast of the Humanities Center at Texas Tech. Each month, we feature conversations with members of the humanities community at Texas Tech University. With every episode, these varied voices help us realize the Center’s mission: asking out loud, “What does it mean to be human?” and demonstrating how can we answer that question from so many different perspectives.
9 Episodes
On this first episode of season two, Michael Borshuk sits down with members of the programming team for the Center's scholarly theme for 2021-2022, Anti-Racism.  We hear from Dr. Nadia Flores-Yeffal, dr. aretha marbley, Dr. Jennifer Nish, and Dr. Beau Pihlaja, as they explain what events and ideas provided the impetus for this year's programming and then forecast what topics and contexts we will work through in our various events and activities.  What does it mean to be anti-racist in the humanities and what steps must a university take to be anti-racist? How does this year's programming clear up some of the misconceptions that circulate in our public conversations about race, racism, and white supremacy? Where should one begin in one's reading to commit to anti-racism?For further reading, texts mentioned in this episode:Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, Racism Without Racists (5th ed., Rowman & Littlefield, 2017)  Joe R. Feagin, The White Racial Frame: Centuries of Racial Framing and Counter-Framing (Routledge, 2013) Ibram X. Kendi, How to Be an Anti-Racist (Random House, 2019)  Bonita Lawrence and Enakshi Dua, "Decolonizing Antiracism," Social Justice 32.4 (2005): 120-43. Kyla Wazana Tompkins, "The Shush," PMLA 136.3 (2021): 417-23. Rinaldo Walcott, On Property  (Biblioasis, 2021)
On this final episode of our first season, we conclude our ongoing discussion with this year's Alumni College Fellows by considering the new perspectives their research offers on the texture of everyday life.  We hear from Dr. Heather Warren-Crow, media theorist, interdisciplinary artist, and Associate Professor of Interdisciplinary Arts, as she leads us through the history of singing ATMS; Dr. Scott Weedon, Assistant Professor of Technical Communication and Rhetoric, who speaks with us about popular beliefs about science and their broader implications; and Dr. Justin Tosi, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, who advises why, in these ever contentious times, it might just be all right to mind our own business.
On this episode, we continue visiting with our 2020-2021 Alumni College Fellows as they lead us in conversation on the relationship between who we are, how much freedom we possess, and the cultures we navigate in establishing either of the two.  We hear from Dr. Dale Kretz, Assistant Professor of History, who discusses African Americans' engagement with the federal government after the Civil War; Dr. Lesley Wolff, Assistant Professor of Latinx and Latin American Art History, who speaks with us about foodways and indigeneity in post-revolutionary Mexico City; and Dr. Alan Barenberg, Buena Vista Foundation Associate Professor of History, who talks about his current research on the Soviet government's punitive use of hard labor beginning in the 1940s.
On this episode, we reflect on creativity in its worldly context as we continue to visit with the Humanities Center’s most recent cohort of Alumni College fellows.   Our topic is New Perspectives on Art, Aesthetics, and the World at Large, and our guests are Dr. Ali Duffy,  Associate Professor of Dance and Founder and Artistic Director of the Flatlands Dance Theatre, Dr. Michael Jordan, Associate Professor of Cultural Anthropology, and Dr. Matthew Hunter, an Assistant Professor of English who focuses on poetry and drama of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.  We also check in with Yerko Sepulveda, a specialist in Spanish Linguistics with the Department of Classical and Modern Languages and Literatures.   Yerko was the first student the Humanities Center selected to represent Texas Tech at the National Humanities Center's graduate student summer residency last year.
As we come back from winter break, we begin a new sequence of episodes featuring the research of our 2020-2021 Alumni College Fellows.  Between now and May, we have arranged our twelve scholars into four audio panels, all speaking under the broad banner “New Perspectives on…”  For our February installment, the topic is “New Perspectives on History and Society,” and we hear from historian Richard Lutjens on "ordinary crime" in Nazi Germany, sociologist Ori Swed on drone technology and violent non-state actors, and musicologist Virginia E. Whealton on nineteenth-century musical culture in Norfolk, Virginia. 
To wrap up our first half-season before we take a pause for winter break, we discuss the Humanities Center's focus on interdisciplinary collaboration by introducing two of our funded working groups.  Belinda Kleinhans tell us the history of the Animal in the Humanities working group, which the center funded from 2017 to 2019.  Then we hear from our latest working group, the Medieval and Renaissance Studies Center.  Five of their members, Angela Mariani, Janis Elliott, Julie Nelson Couch, Jacob Baum, and Lane Sobehrad, talk about the intellectual ideas that ground their collaborative work, and preview some of the plans they have for the future.
In this special Election Day episode, we put our democracy in context through various humanities perspectives. Sydnor Roy helps us compare American democracy with its long ago antecedents in ancient Athens, Carol Flueckiger tells us about her new exhibition commemorating the 19th Amendment, Sean Cunningham historicizes the culture of American elections, and Amy Flowerree helps us work through the philosophical crisis of "fake news."
On this episode, Michael Borshuk speaks with musicologists Roger Landes and Christopher J. Smith about their recurring conference "The Electric Guitar in American Culture," hosted here in Lubbock at Texas Tech.  We hear about what makes this conference unique and how it fits into the mission of TTU's Vernacular Music Center, before Landes and Smith narrate the technological history of the electric guitar and offer some reflections about its cultural importance.  Finally, Borshuk, Landes, and Smith share some of their favorite electric guitar solos and discuss what makes these performances noteworthy.  The conversation covers a wide range of artists, including Jimi Hendrix, Wes Montgomery, Prince, Frank Zappa, the recently departed Eddie Van Halen, and Lubbock's own favorite son, Buddy Holly.This episode's extras include a YouTube playlist of great solos and a link to the Call for Papers for the next iteration of the conference.
In this inaugural episode, Michael Borshuk, Director of the Humanities Center at Texas Tech, introduces you to the Center and its mission by previewing our scholarly theme for 2020-2021: Forests.  We hear from our theme programmers, Bruce Clarke, Sara Spurgeon, Curtis Bauer, and Christopher Witmore as they discuss different academic perspectives on forests and what those natural environments help us understand about being human.  Finally, we meet the Humanities Center's new Post-Doctoral Fellow, Katie Magaña, who tells us about her research and what she will be working on at Texas Tech this year.
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