The Humanities are critical to public life and public education. Humanists define and debate moral and social values; they interpret literary texts and historical documents; they analyze works of art and they explore ideas; and they teach us not only what these things mean, but why they are important. The Humanities cultivate the skills essential to active citizenship—careful reading, informed debate, an awareness of our place in a complex world at a critical moment in time. The Humanities teach us to think and to question, how to read and how to see. The Humanities help us understand what we create and what we believe, what we value and what we fear; they help us map the tangled histories of where we have been and navigate the possibilities of the roads ahead.
Our award-winning researchers, teachers, and students are committed to advancing the public good and public access to knowledge in the classroom, on campus, and in our local, national, and global communities. Professor Evie Shockley, pictured above, is renowned for her student-centered teaching and community-building classroom, as well as for her poetry and scholarship. The author of the critical volume Renegade Poetics: Black Aesthetics and Formal Innovation in African American Poetry (2011), Shockley received the 2012 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award in Poetry for her book the new black and the 2012 Holmes National Poetry Prize. She was a Pulitzer Prize finalist for her poetry collection semiautomatic in 2018.
The Humanities directly addresses issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in research and teaching across the fields of history, literatures, and cultures, philosophy, gender and sexuality, and modern and classical languages.
As a microcosm of America’s linguistic diversity, Rutgers is ideally positioned to make world languages a cornerstone of its education. Studying languages promotes cultural awareness and helps make global connections. The School of Arts and Sciences provides instruction in more than two dozen languages from Arabic and Chinese to Vietnamese and Yoruba.
The Division of Humanities is home to #1-ranked programs in women’s history and African American history and has recently added an Asian American minor and expanded Native and Indigenous studies. There are numerous courses throughout the division allowing students to explore the histories and cultures of underrepresented groups and gain deeper understandings of our nation’s diversity, including “Race and Ethnicity in America,” “History and Culture of Hip Hop,” and “Islam in/and America."
The Division of Humanities offers a wide array of programs and initiatives that foster many forms of diversity, equity, and inclusion in its curricula and across its communities. DEI efforts in departments and centers reveal longstanding commitments in the division that have made RU-NB one of the most intellectually diverse and socially vibrant universities in the country.
Beyond major programming, departments and centers across the humanities offer many lecture series, internships, community outreach, and curricular modules that evidence steady DEI efforts in the division. Recognizing that much work in this area still needs to be done, however, we are making new and even more robust commitments to meet this moment.
Below is a selected list of current programs and initiatives: