Telling Our Story, Part 2: Jennifer Bown, Affect, and the Thought of Feeling

Cognitive theories have long informed various aspects of study in the humanities, often emerging as a corrective to arguments that accord too great a role to environmental influences. The study of language acquisition was one of the first subjects to accommodate serious study of the brain. For example, when in the 1950s B. F. Skinner …

Telling Our Story, Part 1: Mark Davies, Billion-Word Databases, and “Big” History

That the present era of “big data” should be characterized by a spirit of pragmatism may seem surprising after so many decades of “big theory” about the impact of new technologies. Scholars have grown familiar with arguments concerning the effects of the information age on what it means to be human: Donna Haraway’s 1985 treatise …

Jazz and the Art of Civic Life

The Humanities Center and American Studies program welcomes Loren Schoenberg, tenor saxophonist and Executive Director of the National Jazz Museum in Harlem, and Jonathan Batiste, rising jazz star, to BYU for a series of events organized around the theme of “Jazz and the Art of Civic Life.” Emphasizing the relationship of jazz to the subjects of …

Museum of Art rainbow ceiling art

Winter 2013

  January 25 @ 2:00 PM (4010 JFSB) Wendy Baker Smeome and Dan Dewey (Linguistic and English Language), Jennifer Bown (Germanic and Slavic Languages), and Rob Martinsen (Spanish and Portuguese) Language Acquisition in Immersion Environments February 14 @ 3:00 PM (4188 JFSB) Dana Bourgerie (Asian & Near Eastern Languages) February 22 @ 11:00 AM (4010 …

Geoffrey Galt Harpham Lecture

The grand launch of the Center took place on Friday, October 12th, 4:00-6:00, in B002 JFSB. Our speaker was Geoffrey Galt Harpham, Director of the National Humanities Center. Professor Harpham literally wrote the book about the humanities; fittingly, his talk was entitled “Finding Ourselves: The Humanities as a Discipline.” Anybody who has read anything from Professor Harpham’s …

Columns in the JFSB courtyard

Fall 2012

    November 5 @ 1:00 PM (B192 JFSB) Cynthia Buckingham (Executive Director of the Utah Humanities Council) The State of the Humanities in the State of Utah November 14 @ 1:00 PM (B192 JFSB) James Faulconer (Philosophy), & Brian Birch (Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs, UVU) The Mormon Moment: What Just Happened? What’s …

Innovation and the Humanities

Innovation, the Oxford English Dictionary tells us, denotes some alteration to an established order “by the introduction of new elements or forms.” But it’s interesting to reflect for a moment on what any “introduction of the new” entails. For instance, it implies a sense of history as well as novelty, of memory as well as imagination: one must be able to retain an image of what has passed if the innovation is to hold its allure. And yet, if innovation is not to remain perpetually mystifying to us, if we are to grasp the process by which “the new” happens, then we must also possess some ability to organize an innovative product or idea into transmissible form and then show ourselves capable of explaining the nature of the transformation. And it always helps, of course, to understand the cultural contexts in which new things may take root.

Public Humanities

The BYU Humanities Center is committed to fostering dialog between the University, businesses, organizations, and local and virtual communities; our goal is to extend opportunities for learning while keeping the University in vital contact with the public we serve.