Humanities Center Blog

The BYU Humanities Center at 5(0)

Posted by on Apr 9, 2017 in Homepage Features, Humanities Center Blog | 0 comments

The BYU Humanities Center at 5(0)

This past weekend I celebrated a milestone birthday: I’m 80. Alright, shave three decades off that number, though in some ways I feel 80. Years ago, when a department colleague turned 50, his friends – or, perhaps, sworn enemies – taped a picture on his door of him lying in a coffin, smiling. I believe his face was superimposed (the prehistory of photo shopping). The image incited laughter, though I also shuddered. Fifty? So today, I must acknowledge, “La mort, c’est moi!” (Happily, this colleague is still very actively and vitally with us. Apparently, then, there’s hope.) Such birthdays can...

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How and Why Language Changes

Posted by on Apr 2, 2017 in Homepage Features, Humanities Center Blog | 0 comments

How and Why Language Changes

This post was written by Mark Davies, HC Fellow, Linguistics Department Why do languages change? The answers that some linguists tended to give 100-150 years ago strike us as being quite absurd nowadays. For example, they sometimes looked to the physical environment as a motivation for language change, such as the fact that the Germanic peoples in the Alps in 2000-3000 BC huffed and puffed so much as they were going up and down the mountains that they turned the “stops” (p, t, k) from Proto-Indo-European (spoken about 3000-5000 BC) into “fricatives” (f, th, h; a change known as Grimms Law),...

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Beauty and Terror: Subjection and the “Watery Part of the World”

Posted by on Mar 27, 2017 in Homepage Features, Humanities Center Blog | 0 comments

Beauty and Terror: Subjection and the “Watery Part of the World”

This post was written by Holly Boud, Humanities Center Intern Have you ever noticed how many water metaphors we use in our language? Brainstorming. Surfing the web. Glass half-full (or empty). First/second/third wave feminism, etc. Our language is saturated … (no wait) … overflowing … (argh) … dripping … (see what I mean?) with water imagery. Isn’t it strange then how we sometimes forget the power of water (oceans, etc.) in our research?   On Thursday, the Humanities Center hosted Jeff McCarthy, Director of Environmental Humanities the University of Utah, for a colloquium. His...

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The Humanities, Medicine and Art in the Sixteenth Century

Posted by on Mar 19, 2017 in Homepage Features, Humanities Center Blog | 0 comments

The Humanities, Medicine and Art in the Sixteenth Century

This post was written by Charlotte Stanford, HC Fellow, Department of Comparative Arts & Letters When I say I am a medievalist and that I am interested in the study of medicine, I often encounter skepticism—if not a frisson of actual horror. Wasn’t that an age that practiced bloodletting? That didn’t believe in bathing? That lived in squalor worthy of a Monty Python skit, complete with dead cats? Well, yes, their paradigms of health were different from ours, and some of their practices were crude and unregulated compared with the precision of modern methods, but there is a kind of...

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An Appreciation for Wonder-Driven Research

Posted by on Mar 13, 2017 in Homepage Features, Humanities Center Blog | 0 comments

An Appreciation for Wonder-Driven Research

This post was written by Janis Nuckolls, HC Faculty Fellow As this is my last official post as a member of the first Humanities Center executive committee, I want to publicly thank (even though thanking seems paltry and inadequate) our founding director Matt Wickman, whose vision, wit, energy, eloquence, and excitement for ALL THINGS has helped to infuse my thinking and energy with a certain scintillation, which I do not expect that anyone but me has noticed, but yeah, it’s been happening. . . Our themes and visitors, especially some of our recent guests, like Rita Felski, and her book The...

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Fences

Posted by on Mar 6, 2017 in Homepage Features, Humanities Center Blog | 0 comments

Fences

This post was written by Andrew Rees, HC Undergraduate Student Fellow As I sit in the twilight of my undergraduate experience at BYU, I hope you will indulge me a little nostalgia. To do so, I’ll refer you to one of my childhood favorites: The Fellowship of the Ring and J.R.R. Tolkien’s timeless words: “The wide world is all about you: you can fence yourselves in, but you cannot for ever fence it out.” Come April, I’ll have to leave behind many people and things that I have come to love. But today I’m not writing about what I’ll be leaving behind, but what I’ll be taking with me: my...

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