First Herald
    Newes, newes, newes.
Second Herald
    Bold, and brave news!
1 Her.
    Newe as the night they are borne in;
2 Her.
    Or the Phant’sie that begot ’hem.
1 Her.
    Excellent newes!

—Ben Jonson, Newes from the New World


Congratulations to Dr. Saida Grundy on her article in The Atlantic!

September 19th, 2018

Dr. Saida Grundy, one of our BUCH Junior Faculty Fellows this year, has published an article in The Atlantic on Colin Kaepernick and his ad campaign with Nike. We’ve included an excerpt below, and you can click here to view the full piece:

Last week, the release of Nike’s 30th-anniversary “Just Do It” ad campaign featured a tightly cropped still of Colin Kaepernick’s face and Afro, beckoning us to “believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.” If Nike’s imagery of Kaepernick in a black turtleneck and Afro conjures a dorm-room poster of yore, that is quite intentional. In his latest role as an outspoken celebrity voice against police brutality, Kaepernick has been routinely photographed wearing his hair in the style that signals the Black Power movement of which Davis and other revolutionaries were a part. The commercialization of social-justice activism has long required the market-ready iconography of its most visible individuals. Nike’s images are meant to recall Davis—not as a person, but as a moment—and the resistance as fashion that came out of her image. In teaming up with Nike, Kaepernick voluntarily lends his image—and any contemporary vestiges of Black Power writ large—to corporate commodification.


September 19th, 2018

PhD Candidate & Undergraduate Sponsored Internships

September 4th, 2018

PhD Internships

In summer 2018, the Office of the Associate Provost for Graduate Affairs and the BU Center for the Humanities inaugurated a program sponsoring paid summer internships to broaden opportunities for PhD students in the Humanities at the Boston Public Library, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, the Mayor’s Office, and the Boston Athenæum, the Boston Red Sox.

Kelsey Gustin

Placement: Boston Public Library

Kelsey Gustin, a PhD student in the History of Art & Architecture Department at BU, worked on the BPL’s Anti-Slavery Manuscripts transcription project during her internship. Over the course of the summer, she “wrote a series of blog posts focused on abolitionist imagery, to provide historical context and possibly entice more volunteers to the project.” She transcribed approximately 75 letters and worked to identify common subjects and visual themes. Kelsey writes, “my time at the BPL exposed me to the broad possibilities of the Digital Humanities and gave me unique opportunity to share my research with a wide audience.” See Kelsey talk more about her summer here and read Kelsey’s blog post to learn more about the project here.

Rachel Wilson

Placement: Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

Rachel Wilson, a PhD student in the Department of History at BU, was the Archives and Collections Intern at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. In the archives, Rachel conducted research on the connection between the Stewart family and slavery. As part of the collections department, she organized and recorded the previously unseen “Vatichino Books,” a collection of Isabella Stewart Gardner’s nearly 1,000 works from her personal library. Reflecting on the experience, Rachel writes, “[the internship] provided me with the invaluable opportunity to deepen my understanding of curatorial work, collections management, and archival research that I would not have received in the classroom and has proved a crucial step in furthering my professional goals.” See Rachel talk more about her summer here.

Ewa Matyczyk

Placement: Mayor’s Office

Ewa Matyczyk, a PhD student in the History of Art & Architecture Department at BU, interned at Boston City Hall where she conducted research for the Boston Art Commission (BAC) which functions within the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture (MOAC). Ewa’s role was to “examine the city’s public art collection from a perspective informed by the national conversation surrounding monuments, equity, race, and public space.” Ewa remarks, “the research I conducted for the BAC showed me that the skills I have honed in graduate school are transferable and valuable in a number of contexts and fields outside of higher education.” See Ewa talk about her summer here.

Emma Newcombe

Placement: Boston Athenæum

Emma Newcombe, a PhD student in the American and New England Studies Program at BU, interned at the Boston Athenæum, where she developed a workshop for educators that will run next summer. She describes this workshop as a “two-day program for K-12 instructors, with a focus on how to incorporate primary sources into the classroom.” Emma writes, “this is by far the most valuable experience I have had in terms of building my knowledge of and experience with career paths that are alternatives to academia. I now feel that I can confidently apply to jobs in these alternative career fields, and that I have a professional network I can reach out to as I look for a position. I also simply feel more confident in my interest in a career outside of the academy.” See Emma talk more about her summer here.

Christopher Stokum

Placement: Boston Red Sox

Chris Stokum is a PhD student in the American and New England Studies Program at BU. During the summer, he interned with the Boston Red Sox, working with the team’s official historian and the Red Sox curator. Chris assisted with events, which included a book release for Skip Desjardin’s September 1918: War, Plague, and the World Series. Among other projects, he completed an article that will take the place of the historian’s usual column in the November issue of the Red Sox’s in-house publication, Red Sox Magazine. When describing the internship, Chris states that “the internship also supplied new vantage points from which to review my ongoing dissertation research. Although I previously had given little thought to the possibility of connections between the emergence of professional sports and nineteenth-century vitalism, those links now seem both obvious and important.” See Christopher talk more about his summer here.

Undergraduate OUP Internships

In summer 2018, the BU Center for the Humanities inaugurated a program sponsoring undergraduate summer publishing internships at Oxford University Press in New York City.

Madeleine Freeman

Placement: Editorial Intern, Philosophy, Linguistics, Communication

Madeleine supported two editors, one in philosophy and one in linguistics and communication, and an assistant editor in preparing manuscripts for publication. As part of her role at OUP, Madeleine proofread philosophy, reviewed a proposal and provided feedback, and she wrote online and jacket copy for philosophy books. Through meetings at the office, Madeleine was able to deepen her knowledge in the publishing world. She writes, “I especially enjoyed going to the editorial board meetings during which editors present new acquisitions and decide what books they want to publish or offer contracts for.” When thinking about her experience as an OUP intern, Madeleine reflects that she “learned how to operate in an office environment, the ins and outs of academic publishing, and a lot about myself as a writer, worker, and thinker.” Madeleine concludes her reflections by saying that her internship at the OUP “was a truly invaluable experience.”

Kayla Kavanagh

Placement: OUP Reference Department

Kayla Kavanagh worked with a number of teams within the reference department including Grove Music Encyclopedias, Grove Art Encyclopedias, Oxford research Encyclopedias, Oxford Handbooks Online, and Oxford Bibliographies online. Kayla got a “realistic look at what being an editorial assistant actually entails.” While she did her fair share of “clerical work” she recognizes the importance of those tasks and she also highlights some exciting projects that really stood out, including proofreading “an entire five-volume music education handbook as well as parts of a Mexican history encyclopedia,” developing “templates for a Latin American politics encyclopedia that is in the planning stages,” and pitching “blog post ideas” as well writing one. Also, with the help of her supervisor, she was able to attend “informational-interview-type meetings with anyone whose job [she] expressed interest in learning more about.”  She was able to “meet with a copyeditor, a production editor, an entry level publicist, and the head of the marketing department” and have a chance to “escape the bubble of reference publishing” and get a “peek at academic publishing at large.” Overall, Kayla reflects that “this internship was an academically, professionally, and personally transformative experience for me.” See Kayla speak more about her internship here.

Jonathan Han

Placement: OUP Music Department

Jonathan Han worked in the music department during his internship at Oxford University Press, which meant he had the experience of “sometimes getting sneak peeks on fantastic book proposals and manuscripts, which is like finding Santa’s factory in the middle of April, when all the toys are being designed and revised.” Jonathan describes his work as “corresponding with reviewers, delegates, authors, the warehouse, and design team–doing on a daily basis the tasks that my superiors also had to complete by the end of the day.” A writer himself, Jonathan learned “that a good book is hard to find, but even harder to sell,” an insight that had a “certain sobering effect.” Ultimately, Jonathan characterizes OUP as a place with “an intelligent workforce, an egalitarian attitude, and the fortune of handling knowledge that, although not necessary, is nevertheless nourishing.”


Franchesca Viaud

Placement: OUP Editorial

Internships, besides being a way to make connections at a potential workplace, are also a way to try out different kinds of work. For Franchesca Viaud, working at OUP gave her an opportunity to learn about what her priorities going forward are in her career. Writing about her experience, Viaud states that she “learned what I was truly interested in and what things I will refuse to compromise on,” citing her desire to work with “fiction trade books” and wanting to be  “a fundamental part of whether or not the press accepted the manuscript.” You can read Franchesca’s description of her experience here.

The Howard Thurman Papers Project

July 6th, 2018

This year the BU Center for the Humanities supported the Howard Thurman Papers Project, an effort to digitize the papers of Howard Washington Thurman at Boston University. Silvia Glick, a doctoral candidate at the Editorial Institute and Howard Thurman Papers Project Associate Managing Editor worked for the past year to significantly improve the Project’s website. The site now includes a chronology of events in Thurman’s life. Many of the events contain hyperlinks to websites with further information. Silvia Glick and Walter Earl Fluker also contributed to a grant proposal for a “Modern African American Freedom Struggle Digital Publishing cooperative,” which was approved under a program funded by Mellon Foundation and administered by NHPRC. This cooperative works to design a sustainable system for the digital publication and discovery of historical records in an effort to make historical records readily accessible to scholars, students, and the American people. In the future, the Howard Thurman Papers Project, as a member of the Digital Publishing Cooperative, hopes to pursue their goal of digitizing the five-volume documentary edition of the Papers of Howard Washington Thurman.


You can visit the website of the project here: http://www.bu.edu/htpp/

Presidential First Use of Nuclear Weapons: Is it Legal? Is it Constitutional? Is it Just?

May 8th, 2018

In light of Trump’s decision regarding the Iran nuclear deal, please take a look at this short video summarizing the Presidential First Use Conference, presented by the Mahindra Humanities Center late last year. Co-chair Elaine Scarry (Harvard) says it is especially relevant to share this video in the present moment as “it gives people a very concrete act they can carry out to diminish the chances that Trump will launch a nuclear missile.” This conference represents a growing trend among Humanities Centers to address issues of pressing public concern. The BU Center for Humanities will be hosting our own second public forum in the fall: Humanities Approaches to the Opioid Crisis. Elaine Scarry will participate as a panelist.

Professor Abigail Gillman Publishes “A History of German Jewish Bible Translation”

April 27th, 2018

gillmanCongratulations to Professor Abigail Gillman, Associate Professor of Hebrew, German & Comparative Literature in WLL, and a Jeffrey Henderson Senior Research Fellow in 14/15, on her newest publication: A History of German Jewish Bible Translation (The University of Chicago Press).

“This book is the first in English to offer a close analysis of German Jewish translations as part of a larger cultural project. Looking at four distinct waves of translations, Abigail Gillman juxtaposes translations within each that sought to achieve similar goals through differing means. As she details the history of successive translations, we gain new insight into the opportunities and problems the Bible posed for different generations and gain a new perspective on modern German Jewish history” (The University of Chicago Press).

Professor Fallou Ngom Awarded Herskovits Prize

April 2nd, 2018



Congratulations to Professor Fallou Ngom on being awarded the prestigious Melville J. Herskovits Prize! The Herskovits Prize is given to the most important scholarly work in African Studies published in English each year, and was awarded to Professor Ngom for his book, Muslims Beyond the Arab World: The Odyssey of Ajami and the Muridiyya (Oxford University Press). The book demonstrates how ‘Ajami materials serve as essential resources of indigenous religious, socio-cultural, and historical knowledge necessary for understanding the spread of Islam and its many adaptations in sub-Saharan Africa and the Muslim world at large, and explores the role that ‘Ajami materials played in the rise of the Muridiyya as one of the most resilient, dynamic, and influential Sufi movements in sub-Saharan Africa. Ngom is a professor of Anthropology, director of the African Studies Center at BU, and one of the members of the BUCH executive committee.

Battle of the Sexes Screening and Q&A

December 8th, 2017

We’d like to thank directors Valerie Faris and Jonathan Dayton for graciously taking the time to show us their new film Battle of the Sexes and talk with students about the film afterwards. It was a great discussion, and the audience learned a lot about filmmaking and the history behind the film. Students even got to star in a video greeting directed by Jonathan Dayton that was sent to Billie Jean King herself!



Boston University Welcomes Louis Chude-Sokei

November 30th, 2017


Louis Chude-Sokei joined the Boston University faculty this fall. He is a Professor of English as well as the George and Joyce Wein Chair in African American Studies and the Director of the African American Studies Program.

Chude-Sokei is a writer and scholar whose work focuses on the literary, political, and cultural implications and ramifications of the African Diaspora. His work includes: The Last Darky: Bert Williams, Black on Black Minstrelsy and the African Diaspora (Duke University Press, 2006), The Sound of Culture: Diaspora and Black Technopoetics (Wesleyan University Press, 2016) and the forthcoming, Dr. Satan’s Echo Chamber and Other Essays (Wesleyan University Press). Also in progress is a memoir with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt that traces his intellectual development across multiple nations and distinct Black cultures. He is also active as the Editor in chief of The Black Scholar, one of the oldest and most prominent journals of Black Studies.

Chude-Sokei is proving himself to be an active and engaged scholar and member of the BU community. On December 8th, 2017 the African American Studies program will be hosting a symposium organized by Chude-Sokei. The event will focus on Race, Politics, and Social Media and brings together scholars in a series of discussions on the impact and consequences of race in social media and on corresponding attempts to deploy social media in anti-racist activism and politics. Featured speakers include Dr. Aleia Brown, Dr. Jacob Groshek, Dr. Robert Eschmann, Dr. Desmond Patton, and Feminista Jones.

BUCH Director Professor Susan Mizruchi Installed as William Arrowsmith Professor in the Humanities

November 15th, 2017

© Bryce Vickmark. All rights reserved. www.vickmark.com 617.448.6758

On November 21st, Center for the Humanities Director Professor Susan Mizruchi will be installed by Dean Ann Cudd as the inaugural William Arrowsmith Professor in the Humanities in an event celebrating the installment of five newly appointed CAS endowed chairs at the university.

The gift agreement with the Arrowsmith family states that “the William Arrowsmith Professor should be a person of clear vision of education that grows out of a mastery of a traditional scholarly discipline in classics or the humanities, a mastery demonstrated both in teaching and in publications.” In her letter to Professor Mizruchi, Dean Cudd noted: “Your distinguished career has produced a considerable body of scholarship at the intersection of social, religious, and literary studies, including five acclaimed books and many articles in leading peer-reviewed journals. You have also been awarded some of your field’s highest honors, including fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Huntington Library, and the Fulbright Scholars Program. These achievements make you a very worthy inaugural holder of this distinguished chair.”

The titles of Professor Mizruchi’s books are: Brando’s Smile: His Life, Thought, and Work (Norton, 2015); The Rise of Multicultural America: Economy and Print Culture, 1865-1915 (UNC, 2008); Religion and Cultural Studies (Princeton, 2001); The Science of Sacrifice: American Literature and Modern Social Theory (Princeton, 1998); and The Power of Historical Knowledge: Narrating the Past in Hawthorne, James, and Dreiser (Princeton, 1985).

Fall 2017 CGS Poetry Reading Events

November 14th, 2017

The long-standing CGS Poetry Reading Series, which BU Center for the Humanities sponsors, presents the work of both renowned and emerging poets, and strives to make poetry a fundamental part of university and community life.

On October 24th, American poet Phyllis Levin read with Irish poet Peter McDonald. Levin shared her poems entitled An Anthology of Rain and Grace with the audience. McDonald, who teaches at Oxford University, shared his most recent volume of poetry, Herne the Hunter, as well as an unprecedented personal poem regarding the recent death of his mother.

Peter McDonald and Bonnie Costello Phillis Levin

On November 2nd, Justin Quinn, a renowned Irish poet and translator, read from his work. Quinn has authored six collections of poetry, and most recently has been at work on a translation of Czech poet Bohuslav Reynek’s selected poems, The Well at Morning. Quinn read both from his own poetry and from his translations, providing a good sense of the scope of his work.

Justin Quinn


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