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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.

Mapping Inequality

Richmond's Digital Scholarship Lab has released a collection of maps from the 1930s considered the "go-to-example" for analyses of redlining.Learn more

Undergraduate Humanities Fellows Program

Humanities students conduct summer research on a topic of their choosing, and then participate in a seminar where they will improve their research and writing, and reflect on the role humanities play on our campus and in our culture.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
classwork."

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.

English professor Elizabeth Outka received a highly competitive grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to finish her book, Raising the Dead: War, Plague, Magic, Modernism. The book investigates why the 1918-1919 influenza pandemic makes so few appearances in British and American literature and how grief and loss from the pandemic was expressed.

Humanities Scholarship Repository

Faculty Accomplishments

  • Brandenberger Fulbright

    Dr. David Brandenberger has received a Fulbright grant for his research on Russia’s political landscape during the 1940s and 50s.

  • Loo Fellowship

    Dr. Tze Loo, Associate Professor of History and International Studies, has been awarded a year-long fellowship from the Japan Foundation to work on her book project, “Religion and Rule in Prewar Okinawa.”

  • Maurantonio Article

    Dr. Nicole Maurantonio's research on how journalism helps cover up systemic racism was featured in Journalism Research News.

  • Kapanga Book

    Kasongo Kapanga recently published the book The Writing of the Nation: Expressing Identity through Congolese Literary Texts and Films. He was also recently featured on Podcasts@Boatwright, discussing the book.

  • Cobb Book

    Dr. Stephanie Cobb recently published Divine Deliverance: Pain and Painlessness in Early Christian Martyr Texts.

  • Radi Book

    Dr. Lidia Radi's book Virtue of Literature in the Renaissance was recently published by Classiques Garnier.

  • Hanaoka Book

    Dr. Mimi Hanaoka recently published her first book, Authority and Identity in Medieval Islamic Historiography: Persian Histories from the Peripheries, which explains themes and literary strategies that “centered” texts from “peripheral” regions in medieval Persia.

  • Ashe Book Recognition

    Dr. Bert Ashe's book Twisted: My Dreadlock Chronicles, was named a finalist in the non-fiction category of the Library of Virginia's Literary Awards.

  • Love Fellowship

    Joanna Love received the ‪American Association of University Women's American Postdoctoral Fellowship, supporting work on her book, Soda Goes Pop: Pepsi-Cola Advertising and Popular Music, 1939–2012. 

  • Ferman Film

    Dr. Claudia Ferman recently screened her short film, "LASA, 50 Years of Continuous Dialogue and Action,” at the United Nations.

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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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.

Writing Richmond

Writing Richmond

"In the creative writing classroom, we often talk about finished products," English professor David Stevens says. "We rarely talk about the front end of production. We rarely talk about inspiration. We rarely talk about those elements of craft where writers begin."

In his Writing Richmond community-based learning course, Stevens used the city to give students new ideas for how to approach both fiction and nonfiction writing.